Probably the most common injury in handling facilities is being hit in the face when trying to shut a hinged gate. A common response from cattle is, as the bottom of the gate touches their back legs, to violently kick out, smashing the gate into the person trying to close it. As the natural position to close a gate is to lean slightly forward, it is the face which often takes the worst of the blow with broken noses the common end result. The same problem can occur when closing gates anywhere in handling facilities.
Possible Solutions To Reduce The Risk
A fixed, revolving rump rail
Crates with an integral rump bar eliminates the risk, particularly if it can be triggered from outside the race.
A sliding back gate
A sliding back gate reduces the risk but can only be activated from outside the race. In addition they can cause a major obstruction to easily working around the crush. Would a scissor back gate work?
Avoiding personnel in the race
The target should be to avoid personnel ever having to be in the race with stock. Some ways of helping to minimise this could be –
- Design of race, particularly incorporating curves and solid sides so the animal is always focused on moving forward.
- Automatic one way gates within the race but these can visually deter stock from moving through them. It should be possible to automate non returning gates to avoid this problem, utilising today’s technology.
- Providing a cat walk either side of the race to allow stock to be encouraged forward over the sides of the race.
- Running cattle to the light and sheds they have come from etc will all help.
- Non return “saloon door” gates in the race, or a single saloon door covering two thirds of the race.
Thanks to Stevie Rolfe for his help and suggestions
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