Response of cattle to stockperson
Why is it measured?
Assessing the cattle’s response to the stockman is important. The role of the stockperson is pivotal to the animal’s welfare and there is a definite need to develop positive human-animal relationships in order that welfare is not compromised. Several studies have demonstrated there is a link between attitudes, behaviour and handling methods of those working with cattle and cattle welfare. Cattle that show caution (or fear) to the stockperson have been shown to have reduced productivity/milk yield. Cattle should be free from fear as outlined in the Five Freedoms in the Defra Welfare Codes. Farmed cattle with a fear of humans are more likely to be stressed and more likely to sustain injuries during handling. Furthermore in situations where the human contact is negative, the stockperson’s attitude is likely to be negative with poor attention to the animal’s husbandry and welfare. Conversely where cattle are handled by stockpeople with positive attitudes and behaviours, cattle show reduced levels of fear and increased productivity.
How to assess and score using the AssureWel measure
| 7. Response of cattle to stockperson Herd measure
|Check whether the person present for the assessment is the regular stockperson.
Throughout the visit, observe the response of the cattle to the stockperson as they approach and interact with the cattle. As far as possible assess response to the stockperson alone, rather than the assessor.
Score and comment.
||0 = Sociable (to the stockperson)
1 = Relaxed
2 = Nervous
- Body condition
- Hair loss, lesions
- Broken tails
- Response to stockperson
- Cows needing further care
- Calf/Heifer survivability
- Cull and Casualty Cows