As we all know, safety should always be top priority when handling cattle.
Using well designed and constructed handling facilities, suitable for the size and temperament of cattle to be tested, will help avoid unnecessary stress for you and your cattle at TB testing times.
Tips For Safe Handling At TB Tests
Here are some tips and guidelines:
- A collecting pen with plenty of room will help cattle enter the race easily. Races should ideally have a funnel end.
- High sides can help prevent animals from jumping out and making a bid for freedom.
- A race that curves works well, but try to avoid tight corners/turns.
- Positioning the crush in a well-lit area helps the animal “see the light at the end of the tunnel” and move towards it.
- Once in the crush the animal should be well animal should be well positioned so that work can be carried out safely around it. It’s a good idea to secure the crush to the ground or to a vehicle if it’s mobile.
- Having a locking front gate and a self-locking yoke will allow you to hold the animal’s head firmly whilst a rump rail/bar will minimise forward and backward movement.
- Hinged or sliding doors that open easily with little noise and are operated from the working side of the race will help contain the leading animal while it waits for its turn.
- Avoid using flimsy makeshift gates and hurdles. Using sticks and prods to strike animals will only cause agitation and increase the risk of injury. Flags can work very well for gently directing cattle.
- Most importantly, maintenance should be carried out on a regular basis and, as with all equipment, staff should be familiar with how it all works. The best handling system in the world is no use if there is nobody fit, able and adequately trained on how to use it!