Featured photo: Kip Lukasiewicz, D.V.M., with PAC; Dan Thomson, D.V.M., with the Kansas State University; Tom Noffsinger, D.V.M., with PAC; and Paulo Loureiro, D.V.M., Merck Animal Health, discuss how to ensure excellent stockmanship in the feedlot.
Stockmanship is critical to the health and well-being of cattle and ultimately, the success of an operation. This means producers must continually put an emphasis on enhancing these vital skills and reiterating their importance to everyone who works with the animals. Merck Animal Health is committed to supporting cattlemen in their efforts to make continuous improvements through its CreatingConnections™ Educational Series. The second module is now available online and features leading cattle-handling experts who provide valuable insights on achieving excellent feedlot stockmanship.
“In this video, our focus is on building the animal’s confidence and trust so that the cattle are willing to work naturally for the stockman,” says Paulo Loureiro, D.V.M., Merck Animal Health. “Cattle don’t understand words, but they understand your posture, attitude and behavior. So, using proper distance, angle and speed when approaching cattle in the feedlot are keys to getting them to move how and where you want. The end goal is to benefit the animal, but also make our customers’ jobs more rewarding.”
In this module, Dr. Loureiro is joined by Tom Noffsinger, D.V.M., and Kip Lukasiewicz, D.V.M., both with Production Animal Consultation (PAC), who are well known and respected for their expertise in low-stress cattle handling. Dan Thomson, D.V.M., Kansas State University, facilitates the discussion throughout the videos and shares his own perspectives.
Broken up into seven video lessons, the experts explain cattle behavior and natural instincts, as well as provide step-by-step guidance on how to build the animal’s trust and reduce anxiety. The end goal is to get cattle to voluntarily move in a calm, orderly manner so that the stockman can easily accomplish such tasks as observing an individual animal’s gait and health or moving an entire pen of cattle on to the processing chute.
“Feedlot stockmanship is completely a team effort. The animal’s first experience with a handler will influence subsequent experiences,” says Dr. Noffsinger. “So each person, from acclimation to processing to the pen riders to the hospital crew, needs to know how to read and approach cattle. Whether cattle are flowing or not all comes down to the skills of the handlers.”