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									35.042 Animal Biology & Nutrition
Working Safely With Livestock

• • • • • • • • • • Introduction - Agriculture Establishing an Agricultural Safety Program Personal Protective Equipment Zoonotic Hazards Injection Safety Safe Handling of Cattle Safety with Livestock Hazards in Animal Housings Complexity of Beef Cattle Handling Facilities Handling Swine

One of the Most Hazardous Industries in the World
• Type of operation
• cause stress • distraction • illnesses

• Type of equipment used for production
• injuries • non-fatal • fatal

“Individuals must know the conditions in which they work and the hazards they face”

• Farm machinery • Farm buildings • Confined spaces • animal handling facilities
• manure - toxic gases

• grain handling facilities
• dust - asphyxiation

• Large animals • Use of fertilizers • Use of pesticides

Farm Safety in Manitoba:
– – – – –

an important issue!

• Direct links to the Agricultural industry:
1 out of every 7 jobs are agriculture related 100,000 people exposed daily to the agriculture industry operations 79,000 people living on the farm 11, 000 people work a portion of the year as farm workers 5,000 people are full time farm workers

• Agricultural related injuries and illnesses are costly (daily)
– At the Brandon General Hospital $560 – At the Health Sciences Center in Winnipeg $1000

Farm Safety in Manitoba:

an important issue!

• Statistics tell us that for every person hospitalized, there are 20 to 25 persons that are injured but not hospitalized • Approximately 6 persons are killed in farm activities each year in Manitoba
– Include: children, adults and seniors – Causes of deaths range
• from drowning – to machinery – to entanglements – to pesticide poisoning – to livestock

Farm Safety for Kids
• Children must have a safe, easily supervised play area • Hazards should be securely fenced and chemicals kept locked away • Spare equipment should be stored securely • Keep aggressive animals in childproof enclosures • Don’t allow child passengers • Children should never help with:
– hazardous machinery – dangerous animals – dangerous chemical

Farmers should establish an effective agricultural safety program
“Management must have an active participation in establishing this program”

1. Commitment to the program
2. Communication with employees 3. Train old and new employees

4. Investigate all accidents
5. Evaluate policies to reduce hazardous situations

1. Commitment
• Develop and commit to the implementation of a safety program • Support the safety and health policies • Allocate resources to support the program

• Be accountable for policy compliance

2. Communication
• Communication must be bi-directional
- safety policies must be known and understood by employees - management must be aware of employee safety concerns

• Communicate farm policies to everyone
- including visitors - have accountability for policy compliance

• Management must look after their employees
- employees in turn look after the farm’s interests

3. Training
• All new workers should have an orientation

• Train supervisors and workers
• Train to recognize hazards
• indicate areas of possible injuries

• Know where every first aid kit is on the farm

• Know what to do in case of an emergency

4. Investigation
• Develop a protocol for investigation • Ensure that all accidents are reported internally • Develop remedial measures to each reported accident

5. Evaluation
• Farm’s objectives on safety and health must be met
• Incorporate additional strategies to address new concerns

Personal Protective Equipment
• Head Protection • Eye Safety • Respiratory Protection • Hearing Protection • Hand Protection • Body Coverings • Foot Protection • First Aid

• Head Protection: Hard hats
– from impacts or flying or falling objects
• • • • • machinery maintenance construction (electrical work, demolition) horse back riding enclosed spaces with low ceilings chemical splashes

• Eye Safety: Safety glasses, goggles, face shields
– when handling or applying pesticides – when working in dust, chaff or other flying particles – when working around trees
• particularly under low-hanging branches

• Hearing Protection: Earmuffs and Ear plugs
– from noise produced from farm machinery and hogs
• tractors, combines, augers, blowers, chainsaws • hogs screaming at feeding time

• Sound - measured in decibels (dB): 85 dB is the loudest sound workers should be exposed to for 8 hours or more.
– Examples: Normal conversation John Deer Tractor 8560 tractor Massey Ferguson 750 combine Swine confinement at feeding 60 dB 76 dB 90 dB 133 dB

– Reduce indoor noise levels
• install low noise fans, rubber fan mounts • use automated feeding systems – reduce animal produced noise by feeding all the animals at once

– Wear protective equipment
• disposable foam or reusable rubber earplugs • hearing protector earmuffs

• Respiratory Protection: Masks and Respirators
– – – – From dust and chaff Toxic gases and chemicals Welding fumes and low oxygen atmospheres Silos and animal confinements
• large livestock waste and manure dust

Effective respiratory hazard control in animal housings
– Use NIOSH approved respiratory protection appropriate for the situation – Implement a respiratory control program that includes
• • • • • • • evaluation of worker’s ability to work with the respirator regular training of personnel routinely monitoring air quality selection of appropriate NIOSH approved respirators respirator fit testing medical evaluations maintenance, cleaning and storage of respirators
NIOSH (National Institute of Organizational Safety and Health)

Respirators used in animal housing facilities
– Disposable dust / mist masks – Reusable dust / mist masks – Chemical cartridge respirators
• which can include particulate matter prefilters

– Powered air-purifying respirators
• provide eye protection as well

– Self-contain respirators
• for dangerous gases - hydrogen sulfide or carbon monoxide

• Hand Protection: Gloves - fabric, leather, rubber,
cut resistant
– Fabric: protects from minor cuts and scrapes
• inexpensive • could be laundered to extend its life

– Leather: best choice for protection, cuts, scrapes, friction
• inexpensive, breathable, tough and flexible • treat with leather care product to extend its life

– Rubber: protects from the use of chemicals
• choose the appropriate rubber glove for the task • while still on, wash with warm water and soap, hang to dry

– Cut resistant: protects from handling glass and sharp objects

• Body Covering: Aprons (leather and rubber), chemical
resistant coveralls and chainsaw safety chaps
– Leather aprons: used when welding
• protects from burns from splattering molten metals and slag

– Rubber aprons: needed when handling liquids or concentrated chemicals
• protects the groin area from chemical splashes
– this area absorbs chemical 10x faster than through the forearm

– Chemical resistant coveralls: excellent protection from pesticide dusts and mists – Chainsaw safety chaps: minimize the risk of cutting the legs
• when handling square bales
– reduce scratches and scrapes on the legs

• Foot Protection: Steel toe safety shoes and boots
(rubber or leather) with puncture resistant soles
– – – – from sharp objects dropped heavy objects heavy livestock stepping on your feet chemical hazards (steel toe safety rubber boots)

• First Aid (FA) : all vehicles and buildings should have
a first aid kit
– – – – – get appropriate first aid training FA kits should include emergency numbers FA kits content must be checked every three months FA kits should all be labeled FA kits must have flares and a flashlight
• emergency signals
– for extra help

What to pack in your first aid kit?
For more information visit the NASD (National Ag Safety Database)

(National Ag Safety Database)

For emergencies call: 911
Regina Toll free

Poison Control Center:

(204) 787-2591
(306) 766-4545 1-800-667-4545

Manitoba Environment:



CSA approved safety equipment could be purchase at:
1. Implement dealerships

2. Farm supply stores
3. Safety supply companies 4. Pharmacies

5. Agriculture chemical dealers
6. Hardware stores
Check the yellow pages under


Zoonotic Hazards
1. Zoonotics are infectious diseases transmitted between

vertebrates animals and humans
2. Responsible for thousands of deaths each year worldwide 3. Professions associated with zoonotic infections • livestock management • waste management

• recreation management

Diseases Type and Transmission:

Transmission, Prevention and Control of Zoonotic Hazards
1. Skin Contact: From animal bites and scratches
* Wearing protective gloves and clothing (long sleeves shirts and
long pants) prevents the transfer of the disease responsible for ringworm and sporotrichosis

* Donning waders or full suits before entering contaminated water
prevents Schistosomiasis

* Wearing shoes prevents Cutaneous Larva Migrans

2. Penetration: From accidental puncture wounds and cuts,
animal bites and scratches * Wearing leather or mesh gloves prevents Cat Scratch Fever from the
bites and scratches of feral cats * Wearing a heavy glove or gauntlet prevents Herpes B from the bite of a rabies infected animal
* a suspected rabid animal should be put to sleep * careful not to damage the head - the brain is needed to establish a diagnosis

* Not recapping needles or using forceps to remove the needle prevents
a variety of infectious agents on veterinarians
• needles used to treat infected animals

3. Inhalation: Inhaling infectious aerosols
* Wearing NIOSH-approved face mask prevents users from
inhaling infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis, Q-fever, and brucellosis in high risk situations

4. Insect Bites: Arthropods
* Covering exposed skin and applying insect repellents to clothing
and exposed skin prevents the transmission of many insect-borne diseases

5. Ingestion: Ingesting contaminated food and water
* Personal hygiene is very important to break the oral-fecal cycle * Washing your hands before handling food or touching your mouth
prevents diseases spread by ingesting pathogens

* Boiling, filtering, or adding iodine tablets to water decontaminates
it for safe drinking

Injection Safety
Preventing Needlestick Injuries
• Do not recap needles • Do not bend needles • Do not transport dirty needles without sharp containers or safety boxes

Disposal of Injection Wastes and Sharps
• Use sharp containers for syringes and needles
– Sharp containers – Safety boxes

Sharp Containers Should Be
• Leak-proof • Puncture-proof • Clearly labeled with warning signs (easy for people to understand) • Do not transfer contents to other containers • Do not overfill (only 3/4 is safe)

Destroying Syringes and Needles
Incineration, Burial, and Burning Incineration
• Best method • The high temperature kills microorganisms • Completely destroys needles and syringes by burning at high temperature (800 0C) • Minimal toxic fumes from incinerator, less air pollution • Reduce volume of waste to minimum

• Combustion is at lower temperature • May not destroy injection equipment completely • More toxic emission
– chances of more waste scatter

• Usually done in open pit or metal drums • Fence off, clear area, and warn people to stay away from site • Make sure that fire is not left unattended

• Prevent waste from scattering and littering

• Used only for industrial operations • Can be for unburned injection waste or waste generated by burning • The pit should be at least 1 meter in depth • It should be cordoned off to prevent access to site by people / children
Waste Burial Pit

• If possible, covered with concrete when full

Safe Handling of Cattle

Working Safely With Dairy Cattle
Dairy cattle are generally more nervous than other animals

• Use a gently approach to avoid startling them • When moved to the milking stalls
– allow them to adapt to the new environment before the operation

Approach Cattle Safely

Large animals can see at wide angles
• But there is a blind spot – any movement in this area makes the animal uneasy and nervous

• Announce your approach
– touching the animal’s front or side

• Most large animals will kick in an arch
– beginning toward the front and moving toward the back

• Avoid this kicking region when approaching the animal

Separate Cattle Safely
A large cow weights 1500 lbs • It’s not a good idea to separate them manually
– They may run you over

• It is safer to use proper handling facilities
– Use a chute that has minimal distractions

Leave Yourself An Out
If you are inside a handling facility or milking lane • Leave a way to get out • Avoid entering a small enclosed area with large animals • Use it only if equipped with an easily accessed mangate

Be Careful Around Sick /Hurt Animals
Protect yourself from any animal borne disease
• Undulant fever • Tetanus • Rabies – wear personal protective equipment or clothing – practice good hygiene
• wash your hands and face after handling animals

Practice Good House Keeping
Keep the work area clean and free of debris • Eliminate any sharp corners in walkways • Ensure that all latches and levers cannot fly open easily • Clean concrete floors and ramps regularly
– prevents slips and trips

• Store properly out of the way
– pitch forks and other sharp tools

Maintain Even Lighting
Shadows mixed with light spots inside handling facilities • Increase the animal’s
– fear – tension

Safety with Livestock
• About a quarter of all accidents on the farm are livestock related
– 1/3 result in serious injury
• lengthy hospital stay or death

• Serious accidents occur when:
– crushing against walls and fittings in buildings
• particularly by bulls or cows at calving time

– loading animals onto trailers or releasing trapped animals – goring
• bulls in fields

Farm injuries sustained by livestock
• 1991 Alabama: A study of agricultural injuries found farm animals, mostly cattle, responsible for 13% of the farm injuries among a sample of 1000 farm operators • 1983-1997 Wisconsin:

134 people required hospitalization from farm animal related injuries
• • • • • • Fall from a horse Kicked by a cow Bovine assault Equine assault Kicked by a horse Animal-drawn vehicle 33% 21% 19% 13% 8% 6%

Cattle Psychology
How cattle sense and react to the world around them

1. Sense of sight
2. Sense of hearing 3. Sense of smell 4. Herd instinct 5. Maternal instinct

1. Sense of Sight
• Cattle have a wide angle view and a narrow blind spot behind them
– everything appears bent and distorted
• Example: a fence post that looks straight to us, appears curved to cattle

• Cattle will balk when approaching bright sunlight or shadows
– a shadow on the ground, appears like a big hole

• Cattle don’t like quick movements
– clapping hands, waving arms, to move cattle – tarp blowing in the wind
• spook the animals

2. Sense of Hearing
• Noise is very stressful to cattle
– cattle are disturbed by loud, abrupt noises new to them
• gate slamming, telephone ring, crack of a whip, bleeding of a hydraulic line

3. Sense of Smell
• Cattle have an excellent sense of smell, scent will often be the dominant factor affecting cattle behavior
– a cow will sense she is being separated from her calf
• this will often cause her to become stressed and dangerous

– odors provide sexual communication between cows and bulls

4. Herd Instinct
• Cattle are social animals
– feel comfortable and safe in a group
• from predators and pests

– isolated from the rest of the herd
• a single animal will become stressed and easily upset

• Two characteristics about cattle herd instinct:
– follow the leader
• the leader is almost always the first member of the group

– herd social order
• one animal asserts dominance over a weaker member • when grazing, dominant cattle are usually in the middle of the group • at the feeder, dominant cattle will get at the food by pushing subordinate cattle away

5. Maternal Instinct
• Maternal instinct in cattle is very strong
– a cow will be wary of people, specially strangers – will be protective of her young
• most protective during the first two weeks after the calf is born

• Restrain the cow to avoid injuries when handling the calf
– – – – assisting in delivery examining the newborn castrating ear tagging

Handling Beef Cattle Safely
• Flight zone: - A term used to describe an animal’s personal space
• handler enters the flight zone - animal moves away • handler exits the flight zone - animal will stop “If the flight zone is penetrated too deeply, the animal will often panic”

• Blind spot:
- Is the area where the handler cannot be seen as they approach the animal
• entering an animal’s flight zone by its blind spot • agitates the animal and causes it to kick

Understand the concept of “flight zone” and “point of balance”
Animals will move more easily • reducing stress - preventing injuries to: * animals and handlers

Move Forward:
• stand in the dark shaded area marked in the flight zone diagram

Move Backwards:
• stand in front of the point of balance marked in the diagram

“Using Flight Zone and Point of Balance concepts”
Moving Cattle Forward
– The handler should approach the animal from behind the point of balance – When entering the animal’s flight zone, the animal will look at the handler and will begin to move – The handler must not penetrate the animal’s zone too deep – The handler must always be alert to the animal’s reaction to his or her presence – Once an animal begins to move, the handler can keep it moving straight ahead by entering and exiting the flight zone – To stop the animal’s forward progress, the handler should move out of the fight zone.

“Using Flight Zone and Point of Balance concepts”

Moving Cattle Backward
– The handler should place himself or herself in front of the animal’s point of balance – Careful not to cut across the fly zone
• if the animal’s personal space is invaded too deeply, it will be spooked and run or turn back

– Follow the previous instructions

Things to keep in mind when handling cattle
• Avoid approaching cattle from behind • Do not use quick movements
– Cattle are very sensitive to abrupt movements and sounds

• Do not move cattle by whooping, hollering, or screaming
– Better handle them deliberately, confidently and calmly
• getting them excited makes the job more difficult

• Very little noise is needed to move cattle
– Rustle a stick with plastic strips attached
• enough to guide the animals

• Working cattle in groups, is easier than managing them alone
• Separate a cow from the calf before handling the calf

Hazards in Animal Housing
• Air Pollutants in Animal Housing
– – – – Dust and Other Aerosols Ammonia Hydrogen Sulfide Other Gases

• Odors
– Air Quality Control and Management

• • • • • •

Children in Buildings Mechanical Hazards Electrical Hazards Safety Signs Noise Fire

Air Pollutants in Animal Housing
• Dust and Other Aerosols
– Dust found in animal housing is primarily composed of: • Feed components • Dry fecal material • Dander (hair and skin cells) • Molds • Pollen • Grains • Insect parts • Mineral ash
– some components may cause allergic responses – an important air quality problem in poultry and livestock housing

Dust Control
• Proper waste management and ventilation
– Minimize poor indoor quality - animals and workers
• workers are required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment when entering these facilities
– particularly mask or respirators

• Several methods of reducing dust are under evaluation
– Wet , electrostatic, cyclonic and dry dust filters – Oil sprays
• spraying vegetable oil
– bind up the dust particles and keep them out of suspension

Oil Sprinkling
• Oil concentration in the oil-water mixture - should be > 20% • Droplet sizes should be > 150 µm (microns) to achieve rapid deposition of droplets on available surface • Things to considered when choosing a vegetable oil (VO)
– It is not necessary to use refined VO
• oil should be free of particles

– VO with strong odor are not suitable
• potential effect of the oil affects animal behavior

– Use VO with low iodine value
• in respect to the risk of self-ignition

– Dust binding effect of oil remains for many days
• consider designing spraying strategies accordingly

Results of Oil Sprinkling
• Several methods for reduction of aerial dust in pig houses have been examined over the last 20 years
– To date the most promising method appears to be Oil Sprinkling

• Sprinkling undiluted Canola Oil in a grower-finisher room
– Reduced dust by 79%
• Respirable dust particles - reduced by 73% • Inhalable dust particles - reduced by 80%

Ammonia ( NH3 )
• Ammonia is produced by bacterial action on urine and feces during decomposition
– Comes off of the floors and from the manure pits – Levels in animal buildings can be sufficiently high to affect human health

• Ammonia control
– Frequent removal of waste – Management of indoor moisture – Adequate ventilation
• ventilation dilutes ammonia concentration and tends to dry floors and litter
– reduces the rate of ammonia release

Hydrogen Sulfide ( HS )
• Is an acutely toxic gas produced by the decomposition of animal manure
– Often released into the air when liquid manure is agitated – Its odor is not an indication of its concentration – Above 6 ppm the odor increases as concentration also increases

• The OSHA limits exposure to 10 ppm for an 8 hour, 5 day exposure
– At levels above 50 ppm human evacuation is recommended – Levels above 500 ppm cause unconsciousness and death – Levels increase to 1500 ppm when swine pit manure is agitated

Hydrogen Sulfide ( HS )

• Workers should wear a self contained respirator if exposure to HS is expected • Hazards created during manure agitation can be controlled by:
– Providing ventilation during manure pumping – Removing the manure
• Preferable when
– people and animals are absent from the building

Other Gases
Methane ( CH4 )
– A natural product of manure decomposition
• nontoxic

– High concentrations produces
• dizziness and even asphyxiation

– Flammability of methane: Main Safety Concern
• CH4 can be explosive at concentrations over 50,000 ppm • valuable as an energy source

– NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) recommended Daily exposure
• 1,000 ppm per 8 hour work period

– Control:
• proper ventilation generally dissipates methane from animal housings

Carbon Dioxide ( CO2 )
– Produced by manure decomposition and animal respiration
• nontoxic gas

– High concentrations can cause
• asphyxiation by reducing available oxygen

– Concentrations in well ventilated buildings can range
• 1,000 ppm during summer • 10,000 ppm during winter

– OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) permissible exposure level for CO2
• 10,000 and 30,000 ppm respectively per 8 hour and 15 minutes work period

– Control
• proper ventilation • CO2 control is important in cold climates

Carbon Monoxide ( CO )
– Product of the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons
• its colorless, odorless, and has nearly the same density as air

– CO hazards in animal production operations caused by
• combustion heaters malfunction • operational heaters or internal combustion engines
– without venting the combustion products outdoors

– Winter: Most dangerous period
• buildings are usually closed and ventilation rates are at its lowest

– OSHA and NIOSH recommended threshold limit values
• 40mg/m3 or 35 ppm for an 8 hour work period

– Control
• combustion heaters and engines should always be vented to the outside

Air Quality Control and Management
– Unpleasant odors have long been associated with domestic animal production
• Installation and operation of a well-designed ventilation system is the producer’s best assurance of adequate indoor air quality
– provides thorough air mixing – eliminates dead spaces having stagnant air – moves fresh air through the housing facility

– Ventilation vents should open enough to provide high velocity jets to ensure thorough air mixing
• Summer months
– evaporative cooling is needed using misting systems to reduce the indoor air temperature

• Winter months
– supplemental mixing fans are needed because ventilation rates are reduced to a minimum

Air Quality Control and Management

– Prevention and early detection of toxic gas levels reduces health risks
• • • • installs CO detectors near combustion heaters the heater should be vented to the outside clean the heater thoroughly at the beginning of each heating season while in use, monitor the heaters daily to ensure that they burn efficiently and produce minimal levels of CO

– Use extreme caution during manure removal
• manure slurries will release hydrogen sulfide: “rotten eggs” • cause for concern
– HS can quickly inure the sense of smell as concentrations increase and become deadly

– Control dusts
• during cold weather, use feed additives (oil, fat, and lecithin) to help reduce dust emission from feed meals.

Children in Buildings
Animal production facilities are attractive playgrounds to children
– Because of their complexity and potential for danger • no one should treat animal production facilities as play areas • lack of experience
– makes children vulnerable to injuries in agricultural environments

• young children visiting these facilities
– should be supervised by trained production personnel

• older children should be allowed to work in these environments
– providing adequate training and with parental supervision

Mechanical Hazards
– Fans
• unguarded fans are dangerous, must have guards or screens so people cannot touch any moving parts

– Winches
• workers operating winches must be careful to avoid releasing the winch before the object is fully raised or lowered • accidentally striking a winch under tension can cause it to release

– Augers
• must be properly guarded • before any maintenance the equipment must be unplugged, or switched off at the control and breaker box

– Steel Cables
• worn or frayed could produce gashes and puncture wounds on hands
– wear a sturdy pair of work gloves to prevent these wounds

– Housing Floors
• can be slippery and obstructed by equipment and railings
– use a good pair of work boots to prevent falls and foot injuries

Electrical Hazards
– Due to faulty electrical wiring
• Risk of shock • Potential for fire • Destruction of good equipment
– motors and pumps

– Use wiring practices that protects electrical cable and system components
• from abuse by livestock and rodents • avoid exposure to tractors and feeding equipment

– Appropriate design and reliable installation of electrical systems are crucial to
• use electricity efficiently • provide a safe environment for workers and animals • minimize the potential for fire loss

Safety Signs
Classified according to the use hazards and risks involved

The categories of hazard are:
Toxicity / Poison Explosive Potential Flammability Corrosive

The categories of risk are:
Danger Warning Caution

Toxicity of Pesticides!
• The LD50 refers to the dose of pesticide (in mg per kg of the test animal’s body weight) that is lethal to 50 % of the group of test animals.
– Example: If a pesticide has an LD50 value of 10mg/kg, and the test animals each weight 1kg, then 50 % of the animals will die if they each ate 10 mg of the pesticide

• Oral LD50 values as they relate to the Risk / Hazard Symbols
Danger Poison: LD50 less than 500 mg/kg indicates high toxicity

Caution Poison: LD50 1000-2500 mg/kg indicates low toxicity

• Sound levels are measured in decibels (dB)
– Soft whisper is about 30 dB while a 120 dB will cause pain

– OSHA limits noise exposure to ~ 90 dB over an 8 hour shift
– Tractors and other farm machinery cause the most noise
• in livestock housing - animals and machinery produce significant noise
– swine buildings - at feeding time 115 dB can be reached

• Factors that facilitate fire in livestock buildings
• Poor management and maintenance, improper storage of combustibles, unsafe electrical wiring and lightning

• Reduce fire incidents
• Construct building with fire retardant materials • Combustibles - discard from building those not frequently used
– stored frequently used in a fire retardant compartment

• Use wiring material and equipment meeting the requirements of the National Electric Code • Electrical equipment should be installed according to manufacturer’s specifications • All electrical equipment (fuses, junctions, and outlet boxes) should be kept free of grease and dust • Place 10 lb ABC type fire extinguishers in all major buildings near exits

The size and complexity of a cattle handling facility will depend on:
• The number of cattle that need to be managed • The financial resources available to the producer • The management practices that will be performed
– – – – – – – Vaccinating Identifying Castrating Dehorning Implanting Deworming Pregnancy testing

Components of Beef Cattle Handling Facilities
• Headgate

• Holding or Squeeze Chute
• Working Chute • Crowding Pen

• Holding Pen(s)
• Scales • Loading Chute
“ With an inadequate facility, the risk of injury to themselves and others is increased and productivity is diminished ”

• Primary piece of equipment for restraining cattle must be:
– Strong
– Safe – Quiet – Easy to operate – Work smoothly


• Headgate comes in four different designs:
– Self-catching
• closes automatically as the animal’s head enters through it

– Scissors-stanchion
• incorporate two biparting halves that pivot at the bottom

– Positive-control
• locks tightly around the animal’s neck
– greatest threat of choking cattle and putting pressure on their carotid arteries

– Full-opening stanchion
• it has two biparting halves that open and close like a pair of sliding doors

Holding or Squeeze Chute
• It is directly attached to the headgate

• Useful design parameters include:
– Squeeze action – Removable side panels
• for safe and easy access to different parts of the animal

– Non-slip floor

• Use moderate pressure to provide a feeling of being held

Holding or Squeeze Chute

• Equip the chute with a blocking gate or bar
– To prevent the animal from backing up before their head is caught – Will also prevent the next animal in line from entering the chute before the first animal is released

• Install a service gate at the back of the chute
– Provides ready access to the animal’s rear
• allows castration • pregnancy testing

Working Chute
• Leads cattle from the crowding pen to the holding chute • Must be of sufficient length to hold four to five animals at one time • “Back up” bars should be placed at intervals within the chute
– To prevent animals from moving backwards

• A chute with slopped sides has the advantage of:
– Restricting an animal’s feet to a narrow path
• prevents them from turning around • allows the chute to accommodate animals of different sizes

Crowding Pen
• Used to easily move cattle from the holding pen to the working chute • It should be about 150 square feet in area • Should have enough space to hold five or six animals • Should form a gradual “V” shape as it approaches the working chute

• Install a solid crowding gate of about 10 to 12 feet
– Allows handlers to push animals from the crowding pen into the working chute

Holding Pen
• The size of the beef cattle operation will influence the number and size of holding pens that are installed • Each pen should at minimum, provide 20 square feet per animal

• Should be conveniently located
– Allow smooth transfer of cattle from pasture to the crowding pen

• For handlers moving cattle on foot
– Install safety posts or safety passes ( in the corners of pens) or step-overs and at 40 to 50 foot intervals along the side of large pens

• Scales should be located just off the working chute • Have a gate directing cattle over the scale only when the animals need to be weighted • If scales are placed within the working chute
– Cattle must cross over them every time they are worked
• reduces the scale’s service life • increase repair costs

Loading Chute
• Chutes for loading and unloading cattle need to be designed and constructed properly
– To be positioned in an are where the driver can see the chute from the driver side of the vehicle

• There should not be any gaps between the trailer and the chute
– Gaps can cause foot and leg injuries if an animal’s leg slip into it
• injuries can also occur when the incline of the chute is too steep • portable chutes should not be steeper than 25 degrees • permanent chutes should not be steeper than 20 degrees

Loading Chute

• Chutes should have solid sides and a floor that is stairstepped or cleated for sure footing • The loading chute should not be located near the squeeze chute or headgate
– Cattle will balk if they associate loading with the discomfort of being restrained

• Select materials and equipment for durability
– Inferior products save a few dollars in the beginning – In the long run; cost more
• repairs • injuries to handlers and cattle

• Use a flexible design
– As cattle operations grow, the facility should be able to grow along with it

• Use measures to prevent balking
– – – – – Solid fencing or chutes reducing shadows Avoid using drainage grates, used slopped floors A curved chute works better than a straight chute Avoid contrast lighting; from bright to dark areas or vice versa Avoid solid gates

Handling Swine
Understand behavioral characteristics of pigs for easy handling

• Pigs angle vision is >300 degrees
– able to see behind them without turning their heads

• Pigs are sensitive to sharp contrasts in light and dark • Pigs will balk or be reluctant to move if
– – – – – – encounter shades puddles bright spots change in flooring type or texture metal grates flapping objects

Moving Hogs
Loading from inside a building • Line hogs single file or in pairs before going outside • Lights inside a building or truck will attracts them
– tendency to move from a darker to a bright area

Pigs stops at solid barriers placed in front of them • Use a small portable panel to efficiently move and sort them
– wood, plastic or light aluminum – block the hog’s view – prevents hogs from going in to the wrong direction

• Sorting panels should be the same width as the alley or chute (minus an inch) and 36-42 inches high

Moving Hogs
• Alleys should have solid sides and gradual corners
– open sides distract hogs – blind corners confuse them

• Loading chutes are usually wide enough for one hog
– work better if they are wider for two hogs to walk side by side

• Squeeze pen located between the alley and the chute or truck makes loading easier
– should hold 10 to 20 hogs – circular design is preferred

Know where to tap a hog to direct it’s motion
– Moving the hog forward
• tap him with your hand on top of it’s back
– just in front of its tail

• use a firm tap, but don’t hit the pig - a “love tap”

– To turn the hog direction
• tap should be placed just behind the hog’s ear
– to turn left » tap behind the hog’s right ear – to turn right » tap behind the hog’s left ear

– Hollering is very useful
• not screaming, not cursing…hollering
– “hey” or “whew”

• hogs don’t like it when humans holler

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