Well designed and maintained handling facilities are essential for the safe handling of cattle and prevention of injury to handlers. Each farmer is responsible for their own handling facilities. The better they are the easier the life for farmers. A farmers facilities for handling cattle must match the type of cattle the farmer has – if they are a little wild the facilities need to be extra safe, the numbers of cattle present in the facility and if the farmer is dealing with a bull. Good cattle handling facilities provide the farmer with a high level of control and safe access for the various jobs. Many accidents involving cattle could be eliminated or decreased if the handling facilities were of better quality.
Keep the Yard Clean and Tidy
A lot of accidents on farms are as a result of simple trips, slips and falls by farmers or others. Every farm isn’t going to a 100% safe, but it is essential that handling areas are kept reasonably tidy with all gates and crushes hanging right. The yard should be kept free of all rubbish such as sticks, rocks, pieces of wire, plastic and old tyres before any work starts. These can cause major accidents to farmers or livestock.
Muck is inevitable in any farm yard across the country. By reducing the amount of muck or old silage in the yard, you can reduce the number of slips and falls. The crush can be slippy place when dosing or testing cattle. Slipping in the crush can cause harm to and frighten livestock. Cutting grooves can help to reduce the chance of slipping. Also its import that all farmers cover holes that could cause you to trip and fall in their handling facilities.
Suitable Size, Layout and Structure of Yards
Farmers must give strong consideration to the function of their cattle handling facilities. Well designed and well maintained yards that take account of cattle characteristics and behaviour will greatly reduce the risk of accidents. The yard and equipment must be suitable for the type of cattle being handled. The main thing farmers need in their handling facilities are a good size pen, crush, easy access crush, headscoop, anti-backing bar, hoof raiser, skulling gate, dispersal pen, worker escape points, all gates swinging and latch freely.
Fences and Gates
The fences and gates on the farm must be able to stop all sorts of cattle on the farm. In particular, all fences and gates leading to roads must be stock proof and internal fences able to ensure that unplanned mixing does not occur. For farmers there are serious liability issues if your cattle get onto a road and a motorist is injured. Farmers need to ensure that gates are firmly latched, strong enough to resist the normal pressures from the cattle. Even when latched gates should be tide with a strong rope or chain. For farmers, the layout and design must be appropriate to their needs for safe handling of cattle. The yard area must be larger enough for all the cattle well leaving adequate room to move round safely. This gives cattle enough space to move when they are being sorted into groups. Cattle have a strong herd instinct to ‘follow the leader’ and will stop moving if they lose sight of the leader.