In this article extract taken from the April issue of The Country Smallholder magazine, Tonia Simms of Hampden Vets (Aylesbury) considers welfare and safety (of both animal and vet) when handling livestock…
Good handling facilities are essential for ensuring your vet can thoroughly examine your animal, however they don’t need to be fancy or expensive. Some simple changes can make all the difference. Here are my top tips for creating the best handling facilities on your smallholding:
- ENSURE ADEQUATE LIGHTING
Often when we are called out to a smallholding, we have to assess animals in stables or pigsties, and in many cases these buildings have no indoor lights. Even on a bright, sunny day these animal houses can still be dark inside, making it difficult to properly assess the animal. Installing lighting in your sheds will make a vet’s job much easier.
- INSTALL A HARD-STANDING AREA
Sometimes – especially with smaller animals – vets need to kneel on the floor to carry out their examination, and it’s not great if you have to kneel in mud. Installing an area of hard-standing, whether it’s constructed using concrete or road planings, will solve this problem and be beneficial if your vet needs to examine your animal’s legs or feet. Hardstanding also allows us to assess your animals’ gait if appropriate.
- CATCH AND PEN UP YOUR ANIMALS BEFORE THE VET ARRIVES
Pen your animals approximately 30 minutes prior to the vet’s arrival. Make sure the animals’ herd or flockmates are with them to reduce stress and give them access to food and water while they are penned. Chasing the animals around the field immediately prior to examination will create stress in both the animal and the vet. Stress artificially elevates the animal’s heart and respiratory rate, which will affect the assessment of their health state.
This article extract was taken from the April edition of The Country Smallholder. To read the article in full, with further handling tips from Tonia, you can buy the issue here.
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