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How to keep cows happy

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In accordance to Lima, greatest practices are usually not customary within the development of the normal corrals used on Brazilian farms. Amenities are sometimes insufficient, and farm employees know little about how to correctly deal with cattle.

The research investigated how minor adjustments in a corral construction and higher dealing with strategies have an effect on the habits and stress ranges of cattle, and was carried out on two intensive industrial cattle farms in Brazil utilizing a kind of humpbacked Zebu breed known as Nellore.

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Such a cow is understood to be extra temperamental than different cattle breeds, and fairly aggressive when raised in intensive farming programs.

The corrals on the farms included wood restraining gadgets and head stanchions and had been surrounded by 1.8 meter excessive wooden board fencing.

Cows had been restrained in a squeeze chute by head holders that exert gentle strain on the neck of the animals.

Lima’s crew studied the habits of the animals earlier than and after particular interventions had been put in place. Blood samples had been drawn to measure the degrees of the stress hormone cortisol and due to this fact point out how harassed the animals had been throughout dealing with.

Interventions integrated into the corral included the set up of a stable panel to block the cows’ view of the handler when he was working inside the path of the animals’ flight zone.

Vibrant objects or ones with particular colour contrasts had been eliminated, whereas water puddles had been stuffed with dust. Shadowy or darkish areas with a excessive distinction between gentle and darkish had been additionally lower out. Handlers acquired one-off coaching on how to work calmly and quietly with the animals.

They had been instructed not to shout, push or hit the cows, or to use canines or electrical prods. The handlers had to stroll slowly to transfer the cows, and had been suggested to solely use flags to encourage the circulation of animals.

The blood samples taken present that the cortisol ranges of cows dealt with within the normal manner was on common 60.4 ng/mL. It dropped to 41.03 ng/mL thanks to the improved strategies.

The share of calm cows throughout restraint within the chute elevated from 42 p.c for the standard strategies to 68 p.c for the improved corral-handling methodology.

“Minor changes made in the corral and the adoption of good handling practices reduced agitation during restraint in the squeeze chute, the time spent for blood collection, and cortisol release,” says Lima

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