Blocking the steer’s view of people during restraint in a squeeze chute results in calmer behavior

M. L. P. Lima, R. Woiwode, C. C. P. Paz, T. Grandin2

The aim of this study was to evaluate if facility design influences cattle behavior. Two types of systems were compared: open sides (OP) or solid wall (SW). To meet the objectives of this study, cattle were assessed at nine feedyards, according to the BQA Feedyard Assessment (FA) guidelines for cattle handling in commercial feedlots. Each bovine was observed once during and after vaccination processing. Four-hundred steers, from five feedyards were observed in the OP design, and 380 steers, from four feedyards were observed in SW. The variables recorded were vocalization, miscaught (MH), exit gait (run, trot, or walk) and exit behavior (jump, stumble, and fall). The statistics model for analyses included two factors: facility design (SWxOP), and feedyard. The SW design reduced vocalization (P = 0.0003) and had no effect for MH (P = 0.3158). From observed animals, respectively for OP and SW, 41.5% and 26.3% vocalized and 1.6% and 2.5% MH. There was effect on exit gait (P < 0.001) and on exit behavior (P = 0.0008). Steers processed in OP conditions exited faster than steers observed in the SW design, with 56.2 and 36.2% running and trotting for OP, and 23.2 and 66.9% running and trotting for SW, respectively. In conclusion, if the view of cattle is restricted during restraint, the frequency of vocalization will decrease, and exit speed will be reduced.

Fonte: Journal of Animal Science, v.94, p.40, 2016. Supplement, 5.

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