Tips to Improve Animal Movement into Conveyor Restrainers, Stunning Boxes and Squeeze Chutes

  1. If the entrance to the restrainer, or stunning box is dark, use a spot light to illuminate it. The illumination must be indirect and it must NOT shine into an approaching animal's eyes.

  2. Get in the race and look through it. If you can see people or moving objects, install shields so that incoming animals do not see people or moving objects.

  3. Eliminate reflections on water or shiny metal that can cause balking. Often moving a lamp or adding a lamp is all that is needed. Look through the race at the animal's eye level.

  4. Air blowing in an animals face will make it balk. Change ventilation to eliminate drafts blowing towards animals.

  5. Install solid sides on races, squeeze chutes, and stunning boxes.

  6. Pigs, sheep, and cattle will often refuse to enter a conveyor restrainer due to the visual cliff effect. They can see that the conveyor restrainer is elevated. Install a solid dark false floor under the conveyor about 6 inches (15cm) to 12 inches (30cm) below the animals feet. Old black conveyor belting works well. This makes the animal think that it has a solid floor to walk on.

  7. Entrance ramps on conveyor restrainers should be non slip and have cleats or ridges for traction. Animals tend to back out and panic if they slip.

  8. To induce animals to ride calmly in a conveyor restrainer install a solid piece of metal over the top of the restrainer. This metal top must be long enough to block the animal's vision until it's back feet are off the entrance ramp. If animals can see people before their feet are off the entrance ramp they are more likely to rear up. Experiment with pieces of cardboard before installing metal. Vision controls behaviour in livestock.

  9. Eliminate air hissing and high pitched noise. Pad gates to stop banging and clanging.

  10. Cattle may refuse to enter a stunning box if they can see movement under the stunning box door. Install a conveyor belt flap to block their vision.

  11. Experiment, experiment with changing lighting, you will be amazed at the effect it has on animal movement.

  12. Animals may refuse to enter a conveyor restrainer if the hold down bumps their back during entry.

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