Code of cattle care | Living the Country Life
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Code of cattle care

Follow these 9 tips from Beef Quality Assurance to give your cattle the care they need.
  • Cattle nutrition

    The nutritional and energy needs of cattle vary depending many factors, including age, climate, region, and biological type. A pregnant, lactating female will have relatively high energy requirements. But those requirements can vary depending on if the cow is a first-calf heifer, if she is in a cold climate or if she was selected for high milk production. You should visit with your veterinarian to develop a healthy feeding and care regimen for your cattle.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 4, 2012
  • Disease prevention practices

    Vaccinating animals, reducing dust and taking proper bio-security measures can have a large return on investment when it comes to your cattle. Lauren Dever, manager of Beef Quality Assurance, says the veterinarian client patient relationship is one of the most important ways to protect the health of your animals. "You need to have a strong relationship with a vet that will know your cattle, your area and know how to prevent disease and other health issues." When you have this relationship, a vet can work with you one-on-one when problems arise.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 4, 2012
  • Safe facilities

    Facilities that are working properly and in good condition make your job and the animals' lives both safer and easier. Dever says it is a good idea to check for sharp points in the facilities that could cause cuts or bruises. You should also check that the ground where you are working cattle -- whether it's dirt or concrete -- is not slippery. Proper lighting is important too since shadows easily spook cattle.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 4, 2012
  • Appropriate processes

    Properly handling sick or injured livestock is important for humane reasons and for the health of the rest of the herd. Visit with your vet about euthanasia and disposal protocol.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 4, 2012
  • Train your personnel

    It takes every person on an individual operation to produce a quality product that will proceed through the supply chain. Handling cattle safely and efficiently requires knowledge about how cattle think and react in different situations. Abrupt movements, shouting, and hot shots tend to excite cattle, making them difficult to handle and opening the door to the possibility of injuries.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 4, 2012
  • Observe your livestock regularly

    Cattle require extra care and attention whenever they are under stress, and especially when extreme weather conditions are involved. Check cattle more frequently each day under severe weather conditions to be sure they have adequate food, water, and in some cases shade or shelter from the wind.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 4, 2012
  • Minimize transportation stress

    Cattle easily become stressed by unfamiliar situations or surroundings. Colorado State University animal science professor Temple Grandin says placing your trailer in the pasture for a few days prior to loading gives cattle a chance to explore it and familiarize themselves with it. When loading, be careful the trailer doesn't get too crowded and cause the animals to overheat. Handling cattle quietly, with no hotshots, shouting or abrupt movements, helps reduce stress as well.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 4, 2012
  • VIII. Keep updated

    Keep updated on advancements and changes in the industry to make decisions based on sound production practices and consideration to animal well-being.

    The beef industry is constantly evolving. Government regulations change, new vaccines are introduced, old ones banned, new drugs released on the market and new management techniques introduced. Dever says having a good relationship with your vet is helpful here too. Your vet can keep you up to date on changes in the industry that will affect your operation.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 4, 2012
  • Make it clear

    The beef industry takes pride in properly caring for cattle and producing quality beef. Mistreating animals is a bad representation of agriculture to consumers and more importantly, is wrong.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 4, 2012
  • Learn more

    For more information about cattle care and industry practices, visit <a href="http://www.bqa.org" target="new">www.bqa.org</a>.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: May 4, 2012
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