Understand livestock behavior
Monday, April 16, 2012
Posted by: Dairy Calf & Heifer Association
to you by the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association and the beef checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance program
An understanding of cattle behavior facilitates handling,
reduces stress, reduces bruise defects and improves both handler safety and
The Dairy Animal Care & Quality Assurance (DACQA) Certification
manual provides information about two key cattle behavior concepts – flight
zone and point of balance.
Flight zone is the animal's personal space. When
you enter an animal’s flight zone, it moves away. The size of the flight zone
varies depending on how accustomed cattle are to people and their current surroundings,
To determine the edge of the flight zone, slowly walk up to
the animals. If you breach their flight zone, they will either bolt and run
away or turn back and run past you. Animals usually stop moving when the
handler retreats from the flight zone. Work the edge of the flight zone when
The other key concept is point of balance. The point of
balance is an imaginary line at the animal’s shoulders. Stand behind the animal’s
point of balance to move it forward. To make the animal move backward, stand in
front of the point of balance. Animals move forward when a handler walks past
the point of balance in the opposite direction of desired movement.
information, including diagrams illustrating an animal’s flight zone and point
of balance, on pages 52-53 in Section IV-D of the DACQA manual.
DACQA is a voluntary, national certification program
intended to enhance and demonstrate quality animal care practices that assure
food safety, quality and value as well as enhance consumer confidence in the
milk and beef products harvested from cattle on America’s dairy farms.