Dr. Temple Grandin on How to get Your Livestock Ready for the Show RingMon, 24 Feb 2020 11:51:52 CST
Dr. Temple Grandin, Professor of animal science at Colorado State University, Consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, and autism spokesperson spoke earlier this month in Oklahoma City at an event from Future Horizons.
With the Oklahoma Youth Expo coming up in March, Associate Farm Director, KC Sheperd asked Dr. Grandin about best practices for getting your livestock ready for the show ring. Grandin said it's essential to start training your livestock when they are young, and to expose them to new things they may see at the show, before the actual show, "Animals get scared when you introduce novelty. If the animal has never heard an auctioneer, never seen a flag, then you take him into a show, you've got all kinds of strange people there and noise that he doesn't have at home. So let's get your animal accustomed to flags, bikes, and balloons before you go to the sale."
Grandin says one of the best ways to train your animal to tolerate new things is to decorate your pasture fence with flags or other things they may come in contact with at a livestock event, "Let your Steer Walk up to those things. Let him voluntarily approach the flags. New things are the scariest and most attractive. They are attractive when the animal can voluntarily go approach, and they are scary when you shove it in their face."
Grandin reminds those who work with animals that you should never reward bad behavior. If you have cattle that are pushing and shoving, you should make them wait until you put the food down for them, or open the gates. You should also never push on the head of your bull or steer because it encourages butting behavior, "Don't touch the forehead, you can scratch your steer everywhere else, but don't touch his forehead, and never play butting games with your calves. It's not cute when they grow up."
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.
To hear KC's complete interview with Dr. Grandin, click here:
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