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S-Flow Cattle Handling Systems

Curves for Continuous Cattle Flow

S-Flow Cattle Handling Systems make use of cattle’s instinct to follow curves. Incorporating arcs into your system allows you to create draw and maintain movement as cattle flow through. This type of system is ideal for loading large groups of livestock into a truck or drafting them into separate yards.

Good cattle flow is essential in an operation and achieving this requires a combination of understanding cattle behavior, a well-designed system, and effective livestock handling techniques.

Understanding Cattle Behavior

There are 5 main principles of cattle behavior:

  1. Cattle want to see you.
  2. Cattle want to go around you.
  3. Cattle want to be with and will go to other cattle.
  4. Cattle want to remove pressure.
  5. Cattle can only process one main thought at a time.

(Gill, R., & Machen, R., 2014)

Cattle have a natural tendency to move in curves because they are prey animals who always want to see you. Since they are herd animals, they also feel more comfortable with other cattle than being alone. It is essential to always keep in mind that cattle are more than just commodities. They are animals who can also think and feel.

How S-Flow Works

To maximize efficiency, full handling systems are recommended to be in the shape of an ‘S’. The curves in the system repeatedly convince cattle they are escaping which keeps stress levels at a minimum and prevents pauses in the flow of cattle. S-Flow works by understanding how cattle behave and designing a system that complements their instincts.

The most crucial part of S-Flow is at the beginning when draw is initiated. Establishing consistent flow with the first few head ensures that the rest will follow, making it possible for a solo handler to work a large group of cattle through a system. The 3E BudFlow® Cattle Tub works well for the first step of S-Flow because of its ¾ circular shape and 3E low-sheeted panels [LINK TO 3E PAGE]. By using light to guide livestock into the tub and alleys, the leaders of the group easily enter the system followed by the rest.

It is important to keep in mind that S-Flow only works with an open system. When loading or drafting large groups of livestock, it is recommended to regulate flow without stopping it completely. Pauses in the movement will break the flow of cattle and require you to initiate the draw once more. All three sizes of the 3E BudFlow Tub are designed with gates that can be kept open to ensure continuous clear passage for livestock.

Working S-Flow With BudFlow

  • Cattle enter the tub through the back gate
  • Cattle see light through the low-sheeted panels and follow the circular shape of the tub
  • Cattle round the tub and see others through the low-sheeted panel, drawing them out of the tub
  • Cattle easily enter the open access to the alleys
  • The S-Flow system is continued with curved alleys leading to the draft or loading ramp
  • The handler can use point of balance handling techniques to maintain continuous flow

The S-Flow System is continued with a series of alley sections forming an arc leading to a post-chute draft or loading ramp and truck. The Easy Flow® Cattle Alleys are suitable for S-Flow because they are designed with easy entry and exit features that greatly improve how cattle flow through the alley system. With removable panels on the Easy Flow Alleys, you can control what cattle see within the alley and apply point of balance handling techniques to regulate movement towards the desired area.

Read more: Top 10 Expert Cattle Alley Design Tips

Build Your Own S-Flow System With These Products!

Need help in designing the right cattle handling system for you? Feel free to contact one of our Product Specialists. We’re always ready and willing to help!