R-5 Drawing

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The best practice with bison is to move one animal at a time through the single file chute directly into the squeeze chute without stopping. Work the animals quickly and let them go. A stretch cloth to cover the eyes when the bison are in the squeeze chute can help keep them calm. Cattle and bison design principles are similar, but with higher fence and a shorter single file chute. Best practice is to train bison for handling making the necessary husbandry experience less stressful.

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Bison on this conservation land in Colorado roam on thousands of acres in semi-natural conditions. Yearly handling for routine husbandry can be challenging compared to bison raised in more intensive conditions with frequent contact with people. At round-up time, feed is placed in the gathering pen for several days and bison are allowed to enter and exit at will. The gate is closed after bison get used to going into and out of the area. On treatment day, carefully the bison are moved through the wing fence into the alley. After the first block gate is closed, the bison can be moved forward with people walking outside the open sided fence. Past the second block gate, the fence is solid and the person walks and directs the bison forward from the catwalk. From there, a flag on a stick is useful to direct two or three animals into the crowd pen. Here is where bison differ from cattle, they do not like to stand in single file. It makes them nervous and they try to jump out. The best practice is to move one animal at a time through the single file chute directly into the squeeze chute without stopping. Work the animals quickly and let them go. Some people use a stretch cloth to cover the eyes when the bison are in the squeeze chute. Bison facilities benefit from the same basic principles when designing facilities for cattle; Solid sided fences in high use areas like the curved lane and crowd pen. Cattle/bison fear only what they can see. Blocking vision with solid fences keeps them calm. Deep groove concrete floors also keep cattle/bison calm, and give them confidence to walk through the facility. The last principle is curved fences. Curves make cattle think they’re going back where they came from. This facility was only used once a year and had a sand and gravel mixer the floor instead of concrete.

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