Beef Buzz News
Keeping Cattle Happy Makes for Better Beef, Higher Profits
Wed, 03 Oct 2012 13:02:39 CDT
Curt Pate Beef Buzzes about keeping cattle happy.
Cattle handling guru Curt Pate travels across the country teaching his low-stress handling techniques to ranchers and feed lot operators. He tells us in the latest Beef Buzz that research proves that lowering stress on cattle makes them happier, healthier, more profitable and produces a better eating experience.
"Any old-timer will tell you that. It doesn't have to be research. We all know that, but it's nice to have the research to back that up. So, we're finding things like exercising animals. We're actually going out and getting cattle out of the pens and doing a little exercise with them which also increases gain and all the things we're talking about."
Pate says some feedlots will let cattle out of the pens to run up and down the drovers' alleys or even run them through the chute to not only exercise their bodies but their minds as well.
"Those cattle get awful bored in the pen and they need to move out. That's the only thing that really changes. Think about this: An animal comes from a pasture where he probably gets looked at probably once or twice a year. And they survive and do pretty well. We put them in a feed yard with the best nutrition, the best facilities. Everything's the best yet the cattle have to be looked at daily.
"The only thing I see missing is mental stimulation and exercise. And I think if we add those things we're going to have a lot better deal in our feedyards."
He says that's the idea behind the mounds of dirt seen in the pens of some feedyards where cattle will instinctively play "king of the hill."
"Those cattle need to have something to do in their little life there and they provide something themselves there. If the cattle aren't happy-and we are learning how to see when cattle will run and buck and play and are glad to see the pen rider come in or run up to the feed bunk-that means cattle are happy. And if they aren't happy, we've got to change something to get them happy. Sometimes the mound will do that. Sometimes taking them out in the alley. Sometimes I've even had smaller feedyards actually take them out in the pasture and take them for a walk."
Happy calves, whether they are in their home pasture or at the feedyard, are more efficient at gaining weight. Lower-stress animals also grade better. These are just two of the many reasons, Pate says, to adopt low-stress handling techniques.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's Beef Buzz. The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Be sure to check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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