Dr. Temple Grandin Offers Advice on Cattle HandlingWed, 12 Feb 2020 11:48:06 CST
Dr. Temple Grandin, Professor of animal science at Colorado State University, Consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, and autism spokesperson spoke last in Oklahoma City at an event from Future Horizons.
KC Sheperd sat down with Dr. Grandin to discuss the best cattle practices for producers to follow. Grandin says the first thing producers must do when working with cattle is calm down, "The first step in working with livestock is to stay calm. Because if you get the cattle all scared and excited, it takes 20 to 30 minutes for them to calm down. So the secret is to stay calm. One of the good things that has happened with all the emphasis that the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has put on cattle handling, it's actually improved over the years. There's lots of stuff you can learn on low-stress stockmanship. The first step is to calm down because when you yell at cattle, it has intent. They know you are mad at them, so calm down."
Grandin said another thing producers can look for if they are having issues with their cattle is distractions that might be at their facilities, "Trucks parked along the chutes can make animals balk, a little piece of paper, a coat on a fence, get rid of those distractions. They tend to notice little things that we tend not to notice.
When working with cattle, Grandin reminds producers that being calm and going slower will actually get you faster results, "Slow is faster. When we gotta rush it, rush it, rush it, then they break equipment, and people get hurt, and cattle get hurt. The first step in doing really good stockmanship is to calm down yourself. Animals can get scared instantly, and it takes 20 minutes for them to calm down. So if you brought your cattle up into the corrals, and maybe they got a little too excited, take a 20-minute break and let them calm. They will be much easier to sort when they are calm."
Dr. Grandin says temperament plays a significant role in your cattle operation. You want to produce good cattle, but you also want them to have good temperemnts, she says you want to look for what is optimal, not what is maximum,"Yes, you want to have animals that have good meat, but you also need a cow that is going to take care of her calf. You also want animals that are not crazy. Calm animals gain more weight in the feed yard."
When focusing on temperement, Grandin said part of its genetics, and part of its environment, "If they are all raised the same way, with the same people, then you can see the genetic effects. You will see the genetic differences when you suddenly introduce novelty, you know like an umbrella suddenly opening, or the animal sees flags the first time at the show and starts going ballistic."
Dr. Grandin has many books on the handling of livestock. Her latest book "Temple Grandin's guide to working with farm animals" is available online at Templegrandin.com and on her livestock Behavior page.
Click here to listen to Part 1 of KC Sheperd's interview with Dr. Temple Grandin
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