Low-stress cattle handling is a huge topic of conversation, and an important one to consider when it comes to the well-being of your animals. "Human handlers can cause, modify, multiply or dissipate stress in animals-with or without knowing it-and the idea behind low-stress livestock handling is to handle animals in such a manner as to dissipate preexisting stress, create minimal to no additional stress, and create psychological well-being and physical health." (Stockmanship Journal).

Even calves who are afraid of the noise at the show handle well with proper technique!

5 Essentials of Low-Stress Cattle Handling

Make the First Experience a Positive One

  • The first handling experience is essential for cattle behavior over time. A positive, low-stress first handling experience will make cattle easier and easier to work over time (John Cothren).

Acclimate Cattle after a Transition

  • Taking the time to work new cattle daily during their first few days in a location can greatly reduce animal stress. Consistency builds trust and will lead to a more positive handling process (Ron Gill).

Limit Noise

  • Eliminating loud noises and employing a calm, cool approach with animals will get a positive response (Doug Warnock).

Apply Pressure Properly

  • Utilize Point of Balance, Pressure Zone, and Flight Zone to control animal movement and lead them in the direction you want them to go.
  • The handler's position, posture and movement all determine what cattle do in our presence. Their movements are our responsibility (Dr. Tom Noffsinger).

Keep Control

  • Low pressure doesn't mean that you let your animals have control.
  • Clear, consistent communication and established leadership allows animals to relax (Bud Williams).

Implementing low-stress animal handling techniques doesn't have to be complicated. With the right information and equipment, using these techniques in your cattle handling operation can be simple! Arrowquip is proud to provide a lineup of products designed specifically around the principles of low-stress cattle handling. From silent cattle chutes to cattle tubs that use cattle psychology to the advantage of the handler, we offer a variety of products which provide the opportunity to increase the productivity of any operation without unnecessary stress on the animal, leaving you more time for the things that truly matter. No matter what equipment you choose to use, implementing low-stress cattle handling techniques will keep your cattle calm, leading to a smoother, more efficient operation!

What low-stress cattle handling techniques do you find work best? Do you have a go-to resource for low-stress handling practices? We're always looking for new insight, so please tell us in the comments!

If you're looking for more information on Low-Stress Cattle Handling, these are some great resources!

Cattle Handling Techniques | Pressure Zone Cattle HandlingCattle Chute Rubber Floors, What are the differences?

About the Author

Dana Charban, Manager of Content Strategies and Journalist for Arrowquip, catching black cow in Q-Catch 86 Series cattle chute

Dana Charban

As a small town girl from rural Manitoba, Dana Charban grew up around agriculture and farming her en...

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