It doesn't always end well, but where did it go wrong?
Before you realize it, animal handling is by default a negative experience for all the involved individuals.
Besides annoyance to the person who cannot control his livestock, the financial and animal welfare consequences are also detrimental.
A stressed animal has less resistance, grows and produces less.
Slaughtering stressed animals results in lower meat quality. In society, animal welfare is also playing an increasingly important role in consumers' purchasing decisions.
With only slogans you won't make it as a livestock farmer.
Responsible producers are thinking about how they can use animal welfare (best without "greenwashing"), as a marketing advantage.
The Low Stress Stockmanship method can help with this as a technique. LSSE trains stockmen and animal handlers how to act in response to the animal's actions, NOT AS REACTION! Dispensing the right "pressure" at the right time, at the right angle, so that communication between human and animal is clear and consistent for all.
I start by giving you two important core values in advance, necessary as you consider beginning to understand and implement low-stress handling.
1. Slow down, be quiet
Don’t confuse low-stress with “slow-stress”.
Be sure to allow for plenty of time when handling animals. It’s natural to desire quicker results if you are in a time constraint, but it’s imperative to move slow and be patient.
Moving at snail’s pace, trying to force the animal into doing what you want isn’t any less stressful for them.
Livestock have very sensitive hearing, so there is no need to yell. High frequencies will scare and stress them.
2. Livestock are always right
This involves an attitude shift on the livestock handler.
Sometimes it’s tough to not blame on the animal, but remember that animals act purely on survival instincts!
Livestock are unable to learn our language, so it makes more sense that we learn and understand their body language.
We should “lead and instruct" the livestock by applying the right pressure and making them do what we intend, by making our idea into their idea.
Source text and photo (Blog) Ronald Rongen, photo: Nicole Beuwer-Roeven