Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cow Composure

Research now proves what many stockmen have known for a long time: low-stress cattle handling results in higher weight gains, greater resistance to disease and parasites, and increased fertility and mothering traits. In other words, the happier the cow, the healthier and more productive she is.

“Calm” is the operative word in low-stress cattle handling, which avoids whoops and hollers, cracking whips, cattle rattles and prods, out-of-control dogs and people, undue pressure from  racing ATVs or charging horses--as seen on many Western movies and some ranches. All of the above lead to increased cortisone levels and injuries to cattle as well as their handlers.

Hubby and I find that low-stress cattle handling is much easier to implement with black baldies than with straight Black Angus. Our F1 Angus-Hereford heifers (aka the Heffies) are naturally mellower, less excitable, and more cooperative than their higher-strung relatives.

Yesterday, we worked the Heffies through our simple tub-and-headcatch setup in the barn, pulling CIDRs and giving Lutalyse shots in preparation for AI (see May 18’s It’s Arranged post). The whole procedure was accomplished with nary a shout, cuss word, banging chute, or even cloud of dust. Hubby, whose personality tends to be more Angus than Hereford, said, “That was actually enjoyable.”

Annabel, who'd rather be scratched than moved through a gate, is sometimes too calm!
“Hot tempers start fights; a calm, cool spirit keeps the peace.”  PROVERBS 15:18

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