In our daily work, we usually have to handle cattle. We sometimes do not think about this topic as an important part of our work, we focus on technical aspects such as trimming and treating wuick and well lame cows of our customers. But reality is, that cattle handling is a very important topic in Hoof Care and hoof trimming.
We should always keep calm and be patient with cows, trying not to stress them more than how much they are, because hoof trimming days are very stressful for cows, animals which love routines. If we do not have fixed access barriers in barn, which make more easy and efficient our work, we can take advantage of our tools and equipment.
Try to not use electric tools to scare animals, or sticks, and move slow around the cows. Search a place in the barn were you will have a comfortable waiting area (for example, milking parlour after use, or at the exit of milking parlour). We give you some tips about how to prepare crush and barriers in the barn, based on studies and information from experts in cattle handling such as Temple Grandin.
The main objective is to have the barriers in curve; thus, when the cow will access the crush, first she will see only barriers and will have to turn to the crush, where it should be waiting the previous cow (this small detail is also important). Cows usually follow ones and other, so if the cows suppsed to enter the crush follows the one before while first is exiting, cattle transit will be lighter and easier for the hoof trimmer.
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Below we have drawn a draft of how it sholud be preapred the equipment. First picture is using milking parlour as waitin area and second picture is making our own waiting area with more barriers.
If you want to be even more efficient, you should try to work with blind barriers. They can be made with canvas. The idea is, to avoid cows watching what is outside of the barriers, so they always see the animal before them.
Cows are pray animals, so the can see a huge area around them (330º, there is a blind spot of 30º on the tail), but they do no focus depth as well as us. So, the get sacred of everything that moves fast and is close to them (for example, farm workers trying to push them to crush). They also get sacred of shadows and light changes. So, with the blind barriers, we will get homogeneus light in barriers and also cows will follow each other better.
If you wish, you ca try to handle cattle into crush using only one side of the barriers, building them always in curve and handling the cow from behind, with another barrier to avoid her to turn around. Take care always to keep previous cow in crush until next one has seen it. Below there are some pictures as an example of how to do it.
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