(Dan) Hi there folks, welcome to DocTalk, I’m Dr. Dan Thomson, I’m tickled to death that you joined us today for the show. We’re gonna talk about cattle handling and cattle facilities. And it’s something that we do on a day in and day out basis in the beef industry. I hope it’s a good show. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you learn something. And I always do whenever I’m out working in different facilities, working with different cattle and working with different people. Thanks for joining us today on Doc Talk and I’ll see you right here after the break.
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(Dan) Hey there folks, welcome to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University where I’m a professor. And I also direct the Beef Cattle Institute. Usually I have a guest, but every once in a while I fly solo here on the show and today you’re stuck with me. But I think we’ll get along alright because we’re gonna talk about something that I have a big passion for which is low stress cattle handling. And this is one of those things that I learned a lot from my Dad, I learned a lot from my Grandfather working in their veterinary practices, learning from different producers and cowboys and hands. There are also people that go around the country Curt Pate, Tom Noffsinger, Temple Grandin, and Kip Lukasavage, Bud Williams. All are people who teach low stress cattle handling out there in the field. We also have people like Jon down at Silencer that are producing chutes. Danny Daniels up in Nebraska that has the Daniels system. And Bud Box and snake and tub. And all of the people working together with producers to continually improve low stress cattle handling. Now, animal rights groups use animal abuse incidents to drive animal welfare legislation. And a lot of times we try to mix these terms around and confuse people. But animal welfare is so different from animal rights. Animal rights is the belief that animals have the same rights as humans and I just simply don’t believe that. Animal abuse is something nobody wants to see happen to an animal. And number three, animal welfare, well that’s what we do every day. That’s doing the chores, that’s preventative medicine, that’s providing nutrition. That’s the human/animal interaction. And when we talk about animal welfare, the five guiding principles from the Food Animal Welfare Commission are – freedom from thirst and hunger for our domestic animals; freedom from discomfort, which is our pen conditions and cattle comfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease, and this is that veterinary/client/patient relationship; the freedom to express normal behavior, can they stand up, lie down, can they seek shade, can they move around in the pen, different things to that nature. And the last one is the freedom from fear and distress. And the freedom from fear and distress is really that human/animal interaction and so how do we interact with the animals and specifically how do we move them around. Now, there are some new audits and assessments that have come out. The big ones that we’re gonna utilize that are kind of the gold standard of the industry are called the assessment tools from the Beef Quality Assurance Program and you can find those on the website at www.bqa.org. And there’s a cow/calf assessment, a BQA assessment, there’s a stocker BQA assessment tool, and there’s a feedlot BQA assessment tool. All the assessment tools in corporate things such as do you have best management practices for antibiotic residue avoidance, injection site, castration, dehorning, many of the painful procedures? Are you being trained appropriately? They also ask things such as, are you a plan for emergency action if we have too big a snowfall, or rainfall or heat stress? All these things that improve animal welfare. But the one thing they also include is a live animal handling section. And as we go away to break and as we come back, we’ll start to delve into the Beef Quality Assurance Assessment Tool and talk a little bit about the aspects that they have for beef cattle handling and some of the things that they’re looking at that you can objectively score your beef cattle handling at your operation. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson, we’re gonna take a break. More DocTalk after this.
(Dan) Hey folks welcome back to Doc Talk, Dr. Dan Thomson from Kansas State University. I’ve got the K-State purple on. And very thankful for the opportunities that Kansas State University has given me and the opportunity that Farming Unlimited and DocTalk have given me to be able to spend time with you all on these very important issues. At least they’re important to me and I hope that they are to you as well. But we’re pretty lucky to be in the beef business. And when we start to look at this BQA Feedlot Assessment and whether it’s feedlot, stocker or a cow/calf, we’re gonna use the same type of objective measures to measure your cattle handling proficiency with any of the three. And it’s how do you use driving aids like hot shots and how often do you use them? Are cattle falling down upon release? Do cattle stumble or trip? Do the cattle vocalize prior to a procedure being done? So, are they miscaught in the chute? And if they are miscaught in the chute, you have to readjust and the big miscaught is if you catch ‘em by the temples. We’re gonna release, let their head come through and catch ‘em appropriately. If you don’t release ‘em and ‘em, that’s an automatic fail of the assessment. And the last one is are the cattle running or jumping exiting the chute? And everybody always asks, oh man you mean cattle can’t run exiting the chute? No, what I’m saying is they can lope out of the chute, but we don’t want to see over 25 percent of them with the tails up, sprinting out of the chute, like somebody did something bad to me back here, so I’m trying to get away from it out here, type of deal. So, the NCBA, the Beef Quality Assurance Assessment Tool has what we call acceptable levels or tolerance levels for these types of activities. And I’ll just go through these, as no more than 10 percent of the cattle can be touched with an electric prod or a hot shot. OK? No more than two percent of the animals can fall exiting the chute. And when I see cattle fall exiting the chute generally they’re coming out of the chute onto a slick surface and we’re asking them to make a quick right turn or left turn. And when they turn after two or three of ‘em start to get a little bit a sheen on the ground we’ll get those cattle, their feet come out from underneath them and they’ll fall. So, straight out exit is always good and if it’s not gonna be a straight out exit having sand, gravel or some sort of base or rubber matting that allows those cattle to get a grip and move. No more than 25 percent of the cattle can vocalize, now this is before we castrate or dehorn or ear tag. And most of the time when we have cattle vocalize in the chute, they’ve been miscaught. And what I mean by miscaught is that they’re crooked in the chute, and if you’ll just let off the sides, let ‘em adjust and stand up, they’ll quit vocalizing and they’ll be fine. As we move through the facilities, and one of the things that people need to understand that moving cattle to the chute is about as important as… will elicit the reaction of the cattle exiting the chute. As cattle exit the chute we can tell a lot about how they were handled prior to the chute. And what we’re gonna do in the next segment is we’re gonna go through a series of pictures looking at cattle and different things that you can do to help cattle flow through a facility to the squeeze chute which will decrease your scores on the farm when you do this BQA assessment as they’re exiting the chute. You’re watching Doc Talk, we’re tickled to death that you joined us. We’re gonna be back after the break. Thank you.
(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. We’re talking about the Beef Quality Assurance Assessment Tool. And we’ve talked about some of the parameters that we’re gonna measure when we judge low stress cattle handling. Now I want to talk about a few things that can help you flow cattle through the chute a little bit better. One of the behaviors that cattle exhibit is they prefer to move from areas of dark to light, not light to dark. And so one of the trouble areas of moving cattle into a facility is when we go from the outside to the inside of a building. And things that you can do to transfer and prevent shade or areas on the ground to not spook cattle or balk them to have them come back on top of you, are always good to do. Now, cattle aren’t afraid of shade, but when they’re worried about you or somebody else moving them around and they catch shade or a change in light outside, it can cause cattle to balk. And it’s something that you need to pay attention to as we can see in this picture. The inside of a working facility as explained to me by Dr. Temple Grandin should be lit similar to what the outside looks like on a cloudy day. So, as we take a look at this picture here in this slide, we do some things such as putting these vinyl panels and different types of see through panels into the ceilings and into the walls and we try to bring in some natural light into these working facilities or into clinics. It just makes it a more enjoyable place to work. It makes it an easier transition from outside to inside for cattle and it doesn’t hurt too bad as a person either to be in there with a little bit more natural light and natural environment. One thing that makes cattle very anxious is not having very good footing. And you will increase the stress rate and decrease the ability of cattle to move effectively in a system if we don’t have proper footing. Whether it’s a tub or whether it’s an alley way, when cattle are on ice or on slick surfaces they really have heightened awareness and they are move difficult to move and they’re more anxious. So, one of the things that we look at and I will inspect whether it’s in the lead up alley or whether it’s in the tub or whether it’s in the snake or whether it’s the alley exiting the chute. I’m always looking for ways to make sure that we have traction on the floor. Whether it’s grooves in the concrete and generally we do inch and a half by inch and a half grooves in eight inch diamonds on floors as you can see in this picture. Or we’re gonna use rubber matting. Or we may use something like dirt or gravel if it’s an outdoor facility. All of these can be adequate for footing on the cattle. But when we have just bare concrete that starts to get some manure or urine on it, or water or ice, it can cause some trouble with cattle movement. When cattle come into a working tub, two of the bigger issues that we see, one is the tub needs to be the same width as the alley that is coming to the tub. If we have a 12 foot alley, we need to have a 12 foot entrance to the tub. If we have a 10 foot wide alley, we need to have a 10 foot. When we start to taper that towards the entrance to the tub is when we’ll have trouble with cattle coming to a point turning around and balking on us. The other one is the angle in which the cattle enter the tub. And basically as you can see from this picture that was drawn by Temple Grandin, if the cattle are coming in from a point where they are almost returning from the direction in which they came, they don’t turn around. And for human safety when you’re grabbing that gate the only thing that you’re seeing is the tails of the cattle. If the tub comes straight into a bottle neck you’ll have those cattle turn around, you’ll have cattle coming back on top of you and that can be a huge danger issue. When we come back we’re gonna talk a little bit about the Bud Box and moving cattle through the snake. We appreciate you watching Doc Talk. Thanks for joining us.
(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk, Dr. Dan Thomson here from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. We just talked about tubs and there’s another way of crowding cattle or moving cattle into the snake at the point of the chute when we’re working ‘em, and that’s called a Bud Box. And here is a diagram of a Bud Box and you can see that this is basically box. If you’re using panels, it’s two panels long, one panel wide, two panels long and then you have a catch panel here in the middle. But it’s just an extension of the alley. And these are open sided fences and gates, if you’re gonna use ‘em. And what we do is we’ll bring the cattle into the Bud Box. Rule number one, you can never bring more cattle into the Bud Box than what you can fit in your snake. And this has been taught to me by Dr. Tom Noffsinger. So, I can’t really take credit from this, but I’m gonna pass it on to y’all from him. So as the cattle come into the Bud Box, we’re gonna catch this gate and shut it right here at the point of the snake. OK? And we catch this gate and then we’re gonna park ourselves or our horse right here when this blue dot is. From that point forward we’re gonna move towards the cattle and the cattle will come out of this end and they will come around the person or the horse and they will go right into the snake. And I have an example here of some guys out in western Kansas utilizing this Bud Box. And you can see that they’re bringing the cattle here into the Bud Box. This over here is the Daniels alley that goes straight away from this Bud Box. They shut the gate that comes even with the snake that they’re wanting to bring, they move towards the cattle. And as they step towards the cattle, the cattle go right around ‘em and they go right down the alley. So, tub or Bud Box, both of ‘em are very effective and can be utilized. There’s debate on which one you want to use, but I can tell you both are adequate facilities and things that you can utilize to move cattle through. OK, when we get to the point in time to the snake, one thing that we have to understand is the path in which we are gonna move those cattle. And the way that you move cattle forward within the snake is shown here and depicted. You want to move against the flow of the cattle and as you pass the point of the eye or the point of the shoulder, either one, as you move past the eye and the shoulder these cattle are gonna move forward. And if you want to slow the cattle down you move with ‘em. If you want to speed the cattle up you move against the flow of the cattle and the direction that you want to go. Some of the things that we’ve utilized also to move cattle. Some of these hydraulic chutes set off the ground, we’ve used expanded metal to built a ramp up into the chute, and things that we can do to improve traction, improve mobility of going up into the chute. When the cattle exit the chute this is a good example of some rubber matting that you can place on the exit portion of the chute. These are found in many of your beef magazines and you can look at ads and find people that are making these woven tire mats and they’re extremely good. Just because we use hot shots doesn’t mean that we can use sort sticks to crack cattle on the backs. And this is an example of cattle that have linear bruising from our using sorting sticks. So, good animal handling is important. When we come back from this show and do further episodes, we’re gonna do more on cattle handling as we move forward with Doc Talk and the series and I’ll bring in some guests and show more facility pictures and that. Remember to always work with a veterinarian. If you want to know what we do here at Doc Talk you can find us on the web at www.doctalktv.com. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson, thanks for joining me today on Doc Talk. It’s been my pleasure to spend the morning with you. And I’ll see you down the road.
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