Stressed livestock are more likely to injure themselves, their handlers, and are more difficult to work with. Providing stockmanship training for workers handling livestock is key to preventing injuries.
There may also be changes you can make in your buildings, gates, and working areas that will minimize distractions and startling objects.
Check in on your buildings and animal safety this month to keep yourself and animals safe!
The checklist below lists a few things you can check for to ensure safe animal handling:
- Do all workers receive animal handling safety training?
- Are the handlers calm and in command? Livestock need a good leader. Animals want to know what we want, and they want to see what is pressuring them to move.
- Are livestock able to follow other animals ahead of them when being worked or moved?
- Are handlers in a rush? A rushed cow will have her head up and not watch where she is walking. This could lead to slipping and tripping.
- Is the floor leveled with enough traction? Cattle will balk at changes in color, texture, or depth.
- Do handlers avoid yelling, clapping, and other loud noises? Cows have better hearing than humans which makes them more sensitive to sounds in their environment.
- Are you moving cattle from the side and not directly behind (blind spot)? They won’t respond to your commands or arm signals from there.
- Do handlers understand how to apply the zig-zag technique when moving a group of animals?
You and/or your employee(s) can download and print a pdf checklist to complete safety checks on your farm. Keep the completed forms for follow-up, future reference and inspections.DOWNLOAD PDF CHECKLIST
UMASH Stockmanship Resources
Stockmanship is a practice which promotes positive animal handling. Stockmanship is important for both animal and worker safety. It reduces stress, increasing milk production and reducing potential injuries on the farm.
UMASH has developed posters, fact sheets, and a series of training videos on dairy stockmanship or low stress animal handling techniques.
Disclaimer: The facts and information listed above are suggestions for your safety, but are in no way a comprehensive and exhaustive list of all actions needed to ensure your safety.
WHAT IS THE UMASH FARM SAFETY CHECK?
The UMASH Farm Safety Check is a quick monthly review to identify and fix potential hazards before they cause harm to your family and employees – and your bottom line.
Each month, Farm Safety Check will focus on a different topic, offering checklists and tips for identifying hazards, along with resources to remedy any problems. Use the Farm Safety Check checklists and resources to reinforce safety practices throughout the year and help prevent incidents and injuries for workers, visitors, and farm families.