Farmers are being urged to ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ when working with cows and heifers around calving time.
The Farm Safety Partnership has created the following checklist for farmers to help reduce risks when handling livestock. It is advising farmers to be particularly careful when animals are returned to the field after they’ve been housed indoors for long periods.
- Watch for warning signs of animal aggression, especially in cows and heifers around calving time;
- Work out an escape route or refuge in advance of handling livestock;
- Be careful around cows and heifers with newborn calves;
- Remember, that cows that are on heat are unpredictable;
- Where possible, use a head gate to restrain a cow or heifer when checking the calf;
- Try to have help available when calving a cow or heifer;
- Try to keep cattle calm when working with them;
- Aggressive and difficult cattle should be culled as soon as possible;
- Protect yourself against disease with proper personal hygiene.
- Turn your back on a cow or heifer around calving time;
- Put yourself or a colleague at risk with cattle;
- Stress or arouse cattle unnecessarily;
- Beat or shout at cattle unnecessarily – they remember bad experiences.