Technique to Separate Grazing Cattle into Groups for Feeding

J. F. Karn, R. J. Lorenz
1984 Journal of range management  
Equipment and facilities utilized for individual supplementation of cattle in range and pasture experiments are expensive and the procedures generally are labor intensive (Harris et al. 1967, Karn and Clanton 1974). Thus, range and pasture supplementation experiments are often conducted by maintaining animals on separate pastures to facilitate feeding. This approach generally results in differences in animal handling procedures and in forage composition and quality differences between pastures,
more » ... s between pastures, especially where native range is involved. An inexpensive alternative procedure which allows cattle to be maintained together, yet separated into groups at feeding time, is described. Materials and Methods Separation of animals into supplementation groups was effected by corralling animals in a holding pen and training them either to go through or avoid a restricted access entryway leading to a feeding pen. Thus, if a group of animals were to be separated into 2 groups for feeding, one group would be trained to go through the entryway into a feeding pen and the other group would be trained to avoid the entryway. The group trained to avoid the entryway could then be fed in the holding pen. The facility we used for separatmn of cattle into groups is shown in Figure 1 . The holding pen is in the background, the supplementation pen is in the foreground, and the restricted access entry is to the right side of the supplementation pen. Although thisarrangementonlyfacilitated 2 separations, otherseparationscould bemadebyconstructingadditional supplementation pens with restricted access entries leading out of the holding pen. Portable corral panels were used for the pens and for the entryway when permanent pens were not available. The restricted access entryway was approximately 76 cm wide and projected outward from the pen in a manner that normally would make it difficult for animals to find and use. Mid-way through the entryway, a shock mechanism was fastened which consisted of a heavy duty screen door spring mounted approximately 76 cm above the ground to one of the side corral panels (Fig. 2) . The spring was held in place by putting it through a tight fitting piece of plastic pipe (l4mm I.D. by 100 mm long) which was in turn driven through a hole placed in a block of wood. The block of wood was then wired to a side corral panel. The outside end of the spring was attached to an insulated wire which led to a fence charger, while the other end of the spring projected into the entryway. Animals to be supplemented in a particular pen were trained to go through the entryway into that pen by distributing a small amount of feed in the feed bunks, and forcing the animals to go for through the entryway to get the feed. After eating, the animals were moved back through the entryway into the holding pen. This procedure was repeated several times until cattle negotiated the entryway easily inspite of the wiggling spring. Cattle that were designated not to enter a specific pen were put into that pen, and the screen door spring in the entryway was electrified. The cattle were then slowly driven out through the entryway so that each one received a shock. This procedure was repeated a second time to make sure that all animals received a good shock.
doi:10.2307/3898859 fatcat:7uso3wgmrfdahnppphr2577ufy