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Good Fences Make Good Neighbors & Better Cattle Management Facilities

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A phrase from the last line of the popular Robert Frost poem, "The Mending Wall", has been adopted and used in many contexts since it was penned more than a century ago. The phrase reads: "Good fences make good neighbors", and it aligns perfectly for those in the business of livestock management. 

Good fences that are designed with animal behavior in mind can actually do far more than improve neighborly relationships. In fact, they can provide a positive influence on bovines of all ages and allow the livestock producer to keep them calmer while sorting, moving, loading, or providing veterinary care. If you own cattle and are planning to build some new fences, these tips may just what you need to improve your management practices. 

Chose fencing materials to meet specific usage needs

Temple Grandin, an acclaimed animal biologist, has shown that fencing materials can play an important role in keeping livestock calm when being moved or worked with. One key point is that the fencing material used in areas where animals are to be driven through, such as chutes, runs, and small holding pens, should provide a solid visual barrier. This prevents the animal from seeing something on the other side of the fence that could result in their becoming startled or balking. 

Use height to achieve a calming effect

Fencing panels in these areas should also be taller than the animal's eye level, which helps to prevent them seeing over it, as well as helping to prevent any attempts to jump the fence. Slats or panels of a lightweight but durable material such as metal or poly-carbonate, reinforced by traditional steel mesh and well-anchored fence posts can offer durability while also providing a favorable livestock-handling environment. 

Design to provide motivation for the animal to move as desired

In addition to using the materials and proper heights that assist in managing cattle in chutes, runs and small space, it is also important to use design to encourage the animal to continue to move forward. Cattle typically move forward to seek an exit anytime that they are confined in a space that is too narrow for them to turn around in. This common cattle tendency can be exploited by livestock producers when building cattle chutes and runs by designing them to be just wide enough for the cattle to pass through. 

To learn more fencing tips to help make cattle management easier, safer, and more productive, cattle producers should consider discussing their needs and ideas with a reputable fencing services contractor in their area. For more information, visit websites like