A new educational video series on low-stress cattle handling has been put on the CreatingConnections website by Merck Animal Health.

Merck calls this new module Acclimation and it is just one of several modules already there and several more planned for the future. The videos feature industry experts sharing unique insights and proven techniques for low-stress cattle handling. The new module focuses on how to best help cattle adjust and thrive in a new environment, which is critical to the health and well-being of an animal.

For example, Nebraska veterinarian Tom Noffsinger of Production Animal Consultation (PAC) said recently his goal is not just teaching new arrivals that a pen or pasture is a safe place or a good place to be, but to show them “it’s the best place in the world.” Noffsinger is one of those featured in the training.

“Producers know relocating cattle can cause stress, which can directly impact suppression of the immune system, susceptibility to health challenges and decreased performance. Minimizing that stress is key,” says veterinarian Paulo Loureiro, Merck Animal Health.

“We’ve gathered real-world examples to demonstrate handling techniques that are pivotal to working successfully with cattle and helping them to acclimate more quickly to new surroundings. This video details how to gauge each animal’s individual characteristics, as well as identify the influential animals and work with them to establish trust and confidence throughout the herd.”

In the first module, Loureiro is joined by Noffsinger and veterinarian Dan Thomson of the Beef Cattle Institute (BCI) at Kansas State University, who facilitates a roundtable discussion about acclimation during the video.

“This module really highlights the powerful impact that people can have on animals – without even saying a word,” says Noffsinger. “Through this video, you learn to use strategic angles and consistent positioning and spacing to convince cattle to volunteer to move calmly. Cattle are intuitive animals and can learn to respond to nonverbal cues from handlers, which helps further create trust between the two."

Merck says the resource is a reflection of the company’s commitment to improving animal well-being and overall herd health through education.

“Doing what’s best for the animal is at the root of every question we ask,” says veterinarian Rick Sibbel, Merck Animal Health. “How can we reduce the number of trips to the chute? Can we mitigate certain areas of stress for the animals? These are the questions that need to be asked and that we strive to answer when developing new solutions and best practices for the cattle industry. Creating Connections will play an important role in supporting the ongoing evolution of our industry.”