Cattle are quite different from humans. They’re prey species, which completely changes how they interact with the world. It makes a difference in how they’re designed, both anatomically and the way they think. In ranching, we can use these systems to our advantage. When managed properly, this results in low-stress cattle handling, which is a management system great for both cows and humans. We’ll give you some basics today, but for more cattle-raising tips, check out our blog.

What is low-stress cattle handling? This system involves getting cows to do what we want without any stress to them. By designing our fencing to gently encourage the cows to go where we want them to go, we can accomplish our goals by communicating better with the cattle. Think of it as tapping into their communication style. To take an agri-tour of our farm, visit our website.

What’s the big deal about stress? It’s proven that when low-stress cattle handling is utilized, it increases profits for dairy and beef producers. It also results in fewer injuries for the cattle and for people. If you’re looking to promote a better public image for your ranch, this is another great way to start.

How do you do it? The key is to understand the cattle’s prey instincts and work with them, not against them. Their eyes are on the sides of their heads, which gives them a wide field of vision. However, they can’t see very clearly. If someone is “scary” (someone loud, or someone unknown), they’re prone to move away. You can utilize their “flight zone,” aka where they’ll start to want to move away from you or a predator, without triggering them into running past you. By gently pushing them in front of the shoulder, they’ll generally turn around and go backwards. Putting pressure behind the shoulder asks them to move forward. 

By working quietly and slowly, you can utilize the cattle’s natural instincts to move them where you want. Patience is key here. To learn more about what we do at Dark Hammock, visit our website.