Low stress livestock handling is central to our success at Rockley Brahmans. It benefits our customers, the animals and our handlers. Our handling skills go beyond the expected standards in our industry and demonstrate our commitment to raising elite Red Brahmans.
The benefits of good livestock handling include:
- Reduced stress and increased health and wellbeing for the animals
- Calmer animals that are not alarmed when being handled
- Improved meat quality (from low-stress cattle)
- Safety for handlers – both at Rockley and for our customers
- Reduced chance of injury to handlers and cattle
- Increased enjoyment for handlers
- Greater productivity – handling takes less time
At Rockley, it’s important that mustering and working in the yards is enjoyable. We respect the fact that all animals are unique in their behaviour and that Brahmans are especially intelligent. Our cattle are mustered quietly on two and four-wheelers, gathered to the yards and left to settle. Only when settled are they drafted and the necessary work done.
Being an effective stock handler is about knowledge, understanding, attitude and patience.
Chris and I do the majority of the cattle work at Rockley. We’ve both completed a course with Jim Lindsay for Low Stress Stockhandling (LSS) and I’ve also done a low stress halter breaking cattle course that works hand-in-hand with LSS techniques.
Good handling keeps cattle stress levels low. Poor handling makes cattle nervous and difficult to handle in the future. Nervous animals are also more likely to be unresponsive, agitated and reactive, all of which cause stress. Importantly, stressed animals are less able to fight disease or maintain a healthy weight.
Our low stress handling approach includes moving our cattle in groups rather than individually; working in well-designed facilities that allow us to keep our distance; and positioning ourselves at their point of balance. These practices are consistent with cattle’s flight zone and herding instincts and this helps them stay relaxed.
For you, our good handling practices translate directly into healthy, calm and easy to handle cattle.
Following are three tips that I recommend you adopt when handling your own Rockley Red Brahmans:
- Understand that the dominant sense is vision, so the most effective way for you to communicate is with slow and quiet movements rather than using a loud voice.
- Remember that as prey animals, they have a wide angle of vision due to their eyes being set on either side of their head. This means they can’t see you if you stand directly behind them. Work with them from the front.
- Because their depth perception is poor, they can’t quantify distance of stationary objects. So keep moving to help them work out how far away you are.
At Rockley Brahmans Stud we are known for breeding elite Red Brahmans that produce premium product, and I’m convinced that our careful handling and genuine respect for our livestock is a key to achieving these outcomes.
To find out more, please call me on 0408 780 810.