COUNTY AG NEWS

How animals see the world

“New is always bad! Never not be afraid.” Remember these words of wisdom from the fictional animated movie, “The Croods”. These words are often how livestock animals react to new situations.  When an animal has not encountered a situation before, they often hesitate to assess what is going on around them. 

At some point in the course of raising animals, whether that is poultry, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, or some other critter, you will inevitably be moving them around your property. One of the easy mistakes to make as an animal owner is in how you approach animal handling. 

Mistakes in animal hand-ling can lead to cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, or worse. When going about your daily routine it is easy to want to hurry up and get things done. Trying to rush animals, however, ultimately ends up with the task taking longer than it should have. When working with animals, slow is fast. Working calmly and quietly pays dividends when it comes to getting animals to go where you want them to go.

One of the things we should remember when working with livestock is that most domestic animals are prey species. In the wild prey species have different behaviors than meat-eating predators.  Most prey foraging behaviors (such as grazing) put the animal in a vulnerable position in terms of sight.  

An adaptation to their vulnerable position is to have eyes on the side of their face, rather than the front, which is where predators have their eyes. This eye positioning on the side of the face allows the prey animal to have over 300° of vision. For comparison, a human has about 140° of vision. 

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