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Stressless herdsmanagement - low stress stockmanship in practice

Positive and negative stress.

Everybody knows negative stress. It makes us sick and animals feel the same way. Positive stress however, challenges us and motivates us. If we have accomplished something, we feel good. This is the same for cattle. Give your cattle tasks, which they can solve. Such positive stress boosts their health, their well-being and performance.

A word to lure animals.

Many companies lure their animals with food or conditioned them on something else: tractor or jeep. Lure is a very good and efficient method to bring animals from point A to B - under certain circumstances! Because we should not fool ourselves, we can indeed attract the animals to another pasture, but not in the corral or somewhere where they want to go. Therefore, I advise you to drive the animals. Driving gives you more control over the animals as lure and it's less stressful for the animals.

Why is lure stressful for the animals? Afterwards they run voluntarily! Let’s face it: lure run finally with the greed of the animals. And when greed appears, envy is not far. The animals have often enough made the experience that they can follow the tractor from an empty nutrition pasture to a fresh one; they will follow willingly, because eating is always a good motivation. Therefore follow it in the corral? No, because the motivation of "feeding" ranks far below the need for security.

Another aspect is that the greed of the animals can be very restless: They fear to miss out, so they run in the new pasture. Thereby the calves are simply separated from their mothers; the gate may be damaged and so on. The lock on a new pasture creates negative stress. I place the animals with the task of going to the new pasture, they can solve themselves: This is a challenge that is associated with positive stress.


When can I start with low-stress stockmanship?

You can start low-stress stockmanship any time. It can be integrated into every daily task. To re-introduce it in your own operations, you should choose a period in which you have time, for example in winter. If you are under time pressure, the animals will feel this pressure too. Process them according to the old experience: The best way to work with animals is to do it slowly (by the way it is the same thing for new machines. You need time to familiarize yourself with them and then you can work with their full capacity).

The slogan of low-stress stockmanship is: “Let the good things happen.”

This means: do not, so that the animal will do it, but let the animal do things. That makes a huge difference!!

To prevent misunderstanding from the start: When I write “drive the animal”, I do not mean to "hunt" them. Animals are beaten out at walking pace. Chasing happens calmly and has a positive meaning.

The five rules for stress-free and safe handling of cattle

  • Animals want to see who or what chase them.
  • Animals want to go, where they look.
  • Moves produces moves / animals will follow animals.
  • Animals only focus on one thing.
  • Animals have not big patience.

In addition to these positive rules of handling with animals, there are still a few things that should be allowed.

What not to do ...

and only then, if you want to stress the animals. Guide you to success!

  • Noise in any form: crying, wheezing, chattering, etc.
  • Fast and bustling actions, for example waggle one’s arms.
  • Hit, push, jostle, pull animals ...
  • Adjust the way for the animals.