The Do’s And Don’ts Of Handling Cattle
Following these guidelines by the Health And Safety Authority, you can make your farm a safer place when dealing with cattle:
- Make sure handlers are competent and agile.
- Work out an escape route or refuge in advance of working with cattle.
- Know and understand the basics of cattle behaviour.
- Maximise the use of Artificial Insemination to minimise the number of bulls required. Use bulls that produce docile offspring.
- Be careful around cows with new born calves, they are more likely to attack.
- Remember that cows that are ‘on-heat’ are unpredictable.
- Try to keep cattle calm when handling them.
- Use a stick to assist in directing cattle.
- Disbud calves early to prevent horn growth.
- Watch for warning signs of animal aggressiveness, especially bulls and newly calved cows.
- Cull fractious and difficult cattle as soon as possible.
- Exercise caution administering veterinary treatments.
- Protect yourself against biohazards with proper personal hygiene.
- Wear suitable protective clothing and footwear.
- Use well designed facilities.
- Regularly check and maintain facilities such as the crush, gate latches and fences.
- Keep ground surfaces clean, as far as possible.
- Put an inexperienced handler or a child at risk with cattle.
- Handle cattle or get others to handle them if there is a lack of competence and confidence to do the work safely.
- Turn your back on a bull or trust a bull, no matter how docile he may appear.
- Stress or arouse cattle unnecessarily.
- Turn your back on a cow following calving.
- Keep dangerous cattle.
- Suddenly enter the animal’s ‘Blind Spot’.
- Rush into the animal’s ‘Flight Zone’.
- Beat or shout at cattle unnecessarily – they remember bad experiences.
- Move cattle on a public road at night.
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