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Staying safe around bulls

Avoid getting injured by your bull by learning to read his behavior.

Radio interview source: Dr. Ryon Walker, Assistant Professor & Beef Specialist, Louisiana State University Ag Center

 

Listen to the radio story or read below

Bulls are one of the most dangerous livestock to work with and can quickly become aggressive. Reading their behavior and knowing how to react can save you from injury.

Assistant professor and beef specialist Ryon Walker, at the Louisiana State University Ag Center, says a bull that is halter-broke and has been raised as a pet may be gentle. But keep in mind, it is still an animal with a comfort zone that you have to respect. Bulls are also very stubborn and will get upset when you make them do something they don't want to do. At any given time, they can suddenly become aggressive. So how do you know if you're pushing the bull too far? Watch its eyes.

"You can always tell when a bull is uneasy with someone being around them when they're always watching you," says Walker. "So when you look at their eyes and they follow your movement all over, they want to know where you're at because they feel uncomfortable with you. When they feel like they want to do something about it, their eyes get really big. A bull that feels comfortable is going to be less alert."

A bull that wants you to go away might also paw at the ground. Walker says sometimes it's a warning, but it's best not to find out. To avoid being cornered by 2,000 pounds of angry beef, be prepared for it

"You always want to put yourself in a position where, if need be, you can climb a fence," says Walker. "Don't ever be in an area where you can't get behind an obstacle like a hay bale ring or a feeder, or climb a fence."

The best way to avoid confrontation with a bull is to handle it in a low-stress manner and maintain your distance. When you need to move it, such as from the pasture to a trailer, bring a few other cattle along. It'll be less likely to resist because it's with company.

Suggested websites:

Safe Work Practices on Dairy Farms

Why and how to read a cow or bull

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