Reduce stress through the chute
Signs declaring “no electric prods allowed” are a more frequent sight on feedlots today, as is a more quiet, gentler way of handling cattle. Stress can reduce effectiveness of vaccines, treatment and overall health.
Handling with care
Beef calves would be handled from birth to weaning and would be conditioned to be separated from their mothers — in a perfect world. Investing time training young calves on the calving ground, on branding day, and as calves receive pre-weaning vaccines can reduce stress associated with weaning.
Slower release for less stress
When working cattle through a squeeze chute, good handling practices can help minimize stress for animals and processing crews.
Follow-through in cattle transportation
Justin Rhinehart, Extension beef cattle specialist at Mississippi State University, notes that like throwing a ball, cattle transportation requires a good follow-through.
Put out the welcome mat
First impressions are important, which is why top hotels have such nice lobbies. They also employ friendly, helpful staff members at the check-in counter to greet their travel-weary guests. Feedyard cattle benefit from the same approach.
Training the trainer
Whether they know it or not, feedyard crew members train cattle. Every time handlers process, ride pens or pull a calf for treatment, the animals respond to human activities.
Beef up feedlot receiving programs
Being transported and then arriving at a feedlot is a stressful time in a calf or stocker animal’s life.
When people take up exercise programs for a single purpose, such as weight loss, they often discover additional benefits.
Maybe some day human medicine will cure the common cold. For now though, the best we can do is to protect our immunity by eating right, exercising, getting enough rest and avoiding exposure. BRD challenges veterinarians like the cold challenges physicians.