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Stress Free Stockmanship is a way of combining the very best of many strands of animal and livestock reasearch and practice. It is not the reteaching of any single theme or of any individual's knowledge.
Stress Free Stockmanship is all about animal handlers having all the skills necessary to enable animals to initiate new, learned behaviours that positively impact people and landscapes.
SFS brings thinking from individuals such as Bud Williams, Temple Grandin, Fred Provenza and Bruce Maynard into understandable, practical packages that make an immediate difference to animals, people and economics of businesses. It also incorporates behavioural, swarm theory and animal training research as this fast moving scientific field gathers pace.
No, not entirely, quite a bit more than that. Some of the elements of the Low Stress methods that the brilliant Bud Williams pioneered do form a basis for SFS but many do not as new knowledge has evolved.
This is not to deride in any way those that practice LSS type approaches that Bud began and that others have continued. Their methods are a very good introductory approach to this field and should be encouraged.
Improved stockhandling is a good starting point on the journey toward Stockmanship skills that can influence landscapes at a high level.
We believe that it is important for people, animals and the landscape- in that order.
Firstly, we recognise that when people can see and experience for themselves how SFS works with their own animals then many of the frustrations, time wasting and hard work disappears. This is a very good result for individuals and especially rewarding for teams of people.
Secondly, the effect on animals is profound as they very visibly change their behaviour to increase their production, reproduction and willingness to initiate new behaviours.
Thirdly, landscape effects can be massive and longlasting as grazing behaviours are affected thereby altering the ways that plants regenerate soils.
Phone: 0466 271 063
Mail: Willydah, Narromine, NSW 2821
It is widely recognised that stress can have a big influence on meat quality…
…they were less stressed and grew faster…
The calm animals were seen to eat up to 75% more often and this translated to a 53% difference in weight gain per head per day - meaning calm animals can put on half as much weight again as the nervous cattle.
…the calm animals were never sick compared to the nervous animals, 40% of which succumbed to illness at some stage.
Animals are very much individuals which means we can't generalise about breeds when it comes to coping with stress.
…feedlots can end up achieving production gains…
Stress in livestock can lower productivity and possibly increase the risk of contamination from Salmonella and other bacterial pathogens.
…a correlation of immune and neurological changes with anxiety measures…
…now well recognised that stress predisposes livestock to be more susceptible to disease…
…that exposure of a pregnant animal to stress during gestation can result in her offspring being more reactive to stressors in maturity.
High levels of stress can severely compromise the immune system and is the single most important factor in determining whether animals get sick or not.
BRD results from a combination of stress and infectious agents is the most common cause of illness and death in Australian feedlot cattle.
…yard weaned calves grew 60% faster in the first month on feed…
Where sows appear to be fearful of humans, reproductive performance was depressed.
…we can account for about 20% of the variations in reproductive performance in terms of the fear response.
The behaviour of the stock person towards the animal is the main factor regulating the fear responses…
They also showed better resource utilisation (growth per unit of feed) and better resistance to adult stress.
Low stress levels often act in a cumulative fashion creating significant loss.
A stressed animal needs to consume far more resources to grow to a comparable level of a non stressed counterpart.
…handling studies have shown that a high fear of humans results in a chronic stress response with adverse effects on growth and reproduction…
…found that attitudes of stockpeople toward interacting with their animals were correlated with the behaviour of the stockpeople, which in turn , was found to be correlated with fear of humans by the farm animals…
Significant negative correlations, based on farm averages have been found between fear of humans and the productivity of broiler chickens, dairy cows, laying hens and pigs.
The response of livestock to stressors can lead to reduced disease resistance, due to immunosuppression, and reduced growth, due to altered priorities for utilisation of nutrients.
…cattle that are less reactive to milking produce more milk of better quality…
Merino ewes of calm temperament can provide better quality milk…
Poor mustering or handling during yarding and transport loading dramatically increases the rate of glycogen loss.
When this occurs (glycogen depletion) it will take a minimum of five days on good nutrition before these energy stores start to be replenished.
The rate of pH decline varies with the pre-slaughter state of the animal.
Minimising stress and ensuring animals have enough energy reserves will assist in achieving an ideal pH-temperature decline.
…sheep have excellent spatial memory abilities…
It's actually well known that if you place an animal in an optimal environment then it grows better, it reproduces better and the quality of the wool or the meat or the milk from it is also better.
…identified stress as a major cause of glycogen depletion, the muscle sugars that contribute to eating quality.