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General

304. Considerate handling of cattle is paramount and the provision of good handling facilities should be a priority on all farms. These should be designed to ensure that animals can be handled and restrained with the minimum of stress. Handling facilities are required for many tasks such as foot trimming, blood sampling, TB testing, AI and the examination and treatment of sick animals.

305. The basic components of a cattle handling facility consist simply of a collecting area which funnels into a race. At the end of the race some method of restraint, such as a yoke, is necessary. Separate facilities are normally provided for AI purposes. A small area, preferably adjacent to the rest of the herd, should be set aside where cows can be accommodated in stalls while awaiting AI or veterinary treatment.

306. Numerous crates/crushes are available and many come with foot trimming attachments. These are widely used for examining and treating lame cows, as well as for routine foot trimming. They are usually mobile and can, if required, be strategically placed at the end of the cattle race. Information about suitability and use of crushes should be obtained from a professional advisor.

Recommendations

307. Correctly designed and installed handling facilities should be provided on all dairy units and should provide protection from inclement weather.

308. Sufficient stalls of adequate size should be provided for AI and veterinary procedures, dependent upon cow and herd size and calving pattern. These should be adjacent to buildings in daily use, in order to minimise stress.

309. The provision of handling and loading facilities on-farm, to allow cattle to be loaded onto a vehicle with a minimum of stress, is essential.