One of the most common mistakes is overloading the crowd pen that leads up to the single file race. A good basic principle is to fill the crowd pen half full. Cattle and pigs need room to turn. The crowd pen works best when it is used as a "pass through" pen and the animals immediately enter the single file race.
|This picture illustrates the correct number of animals in a crowd pen.|
Handlers must also be careful not to push the crowd gate up too tightly. Animals need room to turn. The crowd gate should be used to follow the animals and should never be used to forcibly push them. The handler should concentrate on moving the leaders into the chute instead of pushing animals at the rear of the group. Great care should be used with mechanical powered crowd gates. Fully automated systems tend to over crowd animals. Powered gates must never knock animals over or push a downed animal along the floor. All automated gates should have manual controls that can be used by the handlers to stop movement of the gate.
One-way or sliding gates at the entrance to the single file chute must be open when livestock are brought into the crowd pen. Cattle will balk at a closed gate. One-way flapper gates can be equipped with a rope to open them by remote control from the crowd pen.
This will prevent livestock from balking at the closed gate in the race.
|Cattle walk calmly up the races and the handlers only use plastic ribbons to move the animals. The stick with the ribbons is used to turn and guide the animals by placing it along side the animal's head. Cattle move most easily when small bunches are put in the crowd pen as shown here. The animals need room to turn. Most cattle will move easily and the crowd gate does NOT have to be pushed up against them. The crowd gate should only be used on stubborn animals. If the cattle refuse to enter the single file chute, they may be seeing people or other moving objects up ahead. In the photo the man with the dark shirt is standing back away from the chute so that approaching cattle do not see him. People should remain quiet and all yelling and arm waving must be stopped. The stick with the ribbons must not be waved hard.|
Grandin, T. and Deesing M. (2008). Humane Livestock Handling. Storey Publishing. North Adams, MA, USA.
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