How Stress-Free Handling Improves Vaccine Administration

April 17, 2023
Vaccinating livestock can be a tricky and nerve-wracking process. Animals don’t know that we’re only trying to help them, and without organization and planning, the situation can quickly turn into chaos.

The last thing you want to worry about is your livestock getting sick, injured, or dying while doing your best to care for them.

The good news is that there’s equipment available that’s made specifically for handling your livestock during treatment. And the best part is, it makes it highly stress-free for your animals.

Why it’s Important to Keep Vaccinations Stress-free for Livestock

One of the most important aspects of livestock vaccination is reducing the stress the animals experience. If you handle your livestock carefully, you’ll be able to avoid the stressor that can cause injury, trauma, illness, and loss of valuable medication.

As you know, vaccinations can be scary for most humans, and when it comes to livestock, it’s a tad worse.

You see, most livestock are prey animals, which means they already fear their handlers may hurt them. What’s worse, we can’t simply explain to a steer, for example, that we’re only trying to help them when administering vaccines.

On the other end of the spectrum, if handlers work in stressful conditions, they may also make mistakes when administering vaccines, leading to infection or even death for the animal.

Your farm can avoid these negative consequences by ensuring that vaccinations are completed in a stress-free environment through specialized cattle handling systems and equipment.

The Importance of Stress-Free Handling Systems During Vaccinations

Using a stress-free handling system is crucial for ensuring the health and welfare of animals during vaccination procedures.

When administering vaccinations to cattle, it is necessary to ensure that the cattle remain calm and stress-free to prevent injury, illness, and damage to the animal’s carcass.

A sudden movement could cause a needle to pierce the animal’s hide incorrectly or even the human handler’s skin. If animals aren’t restrained calmly, they may panic and injure themselves or the handlers. Furthermore, valuable vaccines may inadvertently get wasted if not injected correctly (and at the correct dosage).

It’s so important to have a good handle on your animals before attempting to administer any medications. Without proper restraint, the entire experience could be costly and stressful for you and your animals.

Working with cattle can be challenging, especially since most livestock are large, reactive, and powerful animals. Because of this, it’s essential to use livestock equipment built to handle the job and be easy enough for handlers to operate.

What Type of Livestock Handling Equipment Makes Vaccinating Stress-Free?

While you can always try to train your animals to remain calm before attempting to administer vaccines, it’s not always feasible on a large scale. A herd of 10 goats, for example, can easily get out of control while administering vaccinations if the proper handling equipment isn’t available.

When planning your equipment handling package for vaccination purposes, there are a few things you’ll want to be sure to include.

Gates, Alleys, and Crowding Tubs

Crowding tubs allow for the accumulation of animals in one area at any given time; then, the animals move single file through an alley. This prevents chaos and disorder amongst the herd.

Alleys and gates allow cattle to be moved through a chute one at a time, making it easier to vaccinate each animal.

Livestock Chutes

Livestock handling chutes are commonly used for administering vaccines to cattle. The chute is designed to hold the animal in place while the vaccine is injected.

The animal is typically restrained by a headgate, which is closed around the animal’s neck. This prevents the animal from moving during the injection process. Some chutes even spin to allow better access to the animal.

Chutes make the vaccination process move quickly and efficiently, reducing the handling and stress placed on the animal.

Sternum Bars

Sternum bars are a type of livestock handling equipment that helps to keep cattle from falling or dropping during vaccinations. This makes the process less stressful for the animal and the handler. The bars are placed across the chest of the animal and help to keep them steady.

Integrated Livestock Scales

When administering vaccinations, you’ll probably need to know how much your animals weigh before determining dosage. A few different types of livestock handling scales can be used in conjunction with handling equipment before vaccination.

The most important thing is to choose a scale that will keep the process stress-free and fast. A good scale will have a large platform that the cattle can stand on easily, and it should give an accurate weight reading quickly.

Whether you are an experienced livestock handler or not, using livestock handling equipment will help you ensure animals remain healthy and uninjured. The equipment will also help you work more efficiently, ensuring more animals are vaccinated in less time. It’s a win-win for all.

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