If you have ever viewed a rural landscape with an online mapping system that utilizes satellite imagery, you may have noticed that some of the fencing appeared unique. Instead of being designed in the neat rectangular patterns that have been associated with farm fences down through history, you may have noticed fences that incorporated graceful arcs and curving lines. If you are planning to install new fencing to help make working with cattle easier on your farm, the following information can give you more insight into cow behavior and help you design fencing that will keep you safer and be more effective.
How fencing affects cattle
When cows are being moved from one location to another or their usual routines have been interrupted, they become wary. This can make necessary farming activities such as vaccinating, sorting, weaning and other necessary tasks difficult or even dangerous. The type and design of the fencing you choose for the lanes and corral systems where your cow care activities will take place can play a role in how calm the cows will be during the process and can also have a direct impact on the safety of you and others in the area.
Curves and solid panels
When cattle are stressed, they can easily become agitated and act unpredictably. Since cattle prefer moving along curving lines, instead of sharp right or left angles, fences that are built in gentle curves can help to calm them.
Another important factor in keeping cattle calm while being worked with is to keep them from seeing nearby people, animals or activities that could make them more agitated. When installing new fencing, farmers should consider installing solid panels in areas such as working pens, loading lanes and chute systems.
Understanding the cow's flight zone
Anyone who has ever tried to drive one or more cows from one location to another is likely to have encountered the animal's flight zone. As the human closes the distance between them and the cow being driven, the animal naturally moves away. This movement is caused by the animal's perception that the human has broached their flight zone, which is an invisible area immediately around the animal. Tamer animals have smaller flight zones and those that have not had much exposure to humans will have a significantly larger one.
When driving cattle, humans are most effective when positioning themselves at a 45-60' angle, within a curved, fenced lane. This position uses the natural tendencies of the cow to keep them steadily moving forward through the fenced area.
When designing or planning any new fencing projects, taking the time to learn more about animal behavior and incorporating those behavioral factors into the overall design is a great way to make your entire operation safer and more efficient. A fencing professional like Absolute Fencing LLC can help you choose the best materials and answer any questions you may have.