A quick introduction:
When it comes to moving cattle around, it is important to know just a few things about these animals!

  • Cattle are herd animals; they like to stick together and will easily follow one another.
  • Cattle are prey animals. These 600kg beasts see you as a predator. This means they have a…
  • Flight zone! Cattle have a particular space around them called a flight zone. If you come into this space, this will provoke a flight instinct in the cattle and they will move away.

Getting the herd from the paddock:
Before you even step foot into that paddock, make sure the cattle yards into which you’ll be moving the cattle have no gates left open, and that all the fences are secure. Check the yards for any hazards such as clothing, wire, rope – anything that shouldn’t be there. Once it’s deemed safe, you’re ready to go get your cattle.

As you enter the paddock, make sure the gate is left wide open so that the cattle can exit safely. Walk quietly and not too closely around the herd to the back of the herd, so that the cattle are between you and where you want them to go. Walk forward into until you enter the flight zone of the cattle, so that they begin to walk forward towards the gate. The cattle will move as a herd but still make you sure don’t leave any stray cattle behind.

In the cattle yards:
As you move the cattle into the cattle yards, make sure you do not crowd the cattle into one area; you need space to comfortably move the cattle around. Remember: a half-full yard is a full yard. When moving cattle around, use their flight zone. To move cattle backward, stand in front of its withers. Intruding the flight zone from this angle will force the cattle back. To move cattle forward, stand behind it’s withers, as it will push the cattle forwards. You can use this to move any cattle any way, and is particularly useful for drafting cattle in the yards.

A word on safety: when opening or closing any gates in the cattle yards, make sure you do not stand in the way of the gate. Always stand to the side of the gate as you open and close it. With a dozen or so cattle in front of you, you don’t want to get knocked over if one of them bumps or runs into the gate!