Understanding livestock behavior
will facilitate handling, reduce stress,
and improve both handler safety and
VISION AND MOTION
g Livestock have limited depth perception.
Their ability to perceive depth at ground
level while moving is poor. Consequently,
livestock often stop and lower their heads to
look at strange objects on the ground.
S Be aware that cattle will often balk and
refuse to walk over a drain gate, hose,
puddle, shadow or change in flooring
surface or texture.
S Eliminate visual distractions at animal
facilities to assist in the movement of
g Livestock are easily distracted. Moving
objects and people seen through the sides or
ahead in a chute or alleyway can cause
balking or frighten livestock.
S Avoid moving or flapping objects such as
fan blades or cloth, which can disrupt
handling and cause balking.
S Loading ramps and handling chutes
should have solid side walls to prevent
animals from seeing distractions outside
S Limiting peripheral vision will help to
reduce escape attempts and lower animal
g Livestock have limited color perception.
S All species of livestock are more likely to
balk at a sudden change in color or
S Handling facilities should be painted one
g Cattle have a tendency to move from a
dark area to an illuminated area.
S Minimize shadows and bright spots.
S A spot light directed onto a ramp or other
apparatus will often facilitate entry. The
light must not shine directly into the eyes
of approaching animals.
Cattle are more sensitive than people to high
frequency noises. The auditory sensitivity of
cattle is greatest at 8000 Hz. The human ear is
most sensitive at 1000 to 3000 Hz. In livestock
handling facilities, unexpected loud or strange
noises should be avoided because they can be
highly stressful to livestock.
S Rubber stops on gates and squeeze chutes
will help reduce noise.
S Animals can readily adapt to reasonable
levels of continuous sound, such as a
humming noise o