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Investigating the effects of stock-handling training in sheep feedlots

Project start date: 07 January 2013
Project end date: 31 March 2014
Publication date: 01 January 2014
Livestock species: Sheep, Lamb
Relevant regions: National
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Summary

Currently, livestock handling training programs that claim to improve animal productivity and handling are not scientifically justified. This pilot project with a limited number of animals aimed to determine the effects of stock-handling training in three sheep feedlots on animal productivity, welfare and behaviour as well as the effects on the stockperson behaviour, physiological stress and attitudes. Sheep productivity increased by 33% and 34% at two of the feedlots and sheep stress, behaviour and ease of handling, as well as the stockperson’s physiological stress improved after stock-handling training at all three feedlots. Although these improvements were variable within and across the feedlots, the promising nature of the results from this preliminary study strongly suggest that there are positive animal and human benefits of stockperson training and thus further research is required to fully understand the impact that stockperson training can have on the animals and the stockpeople.

More information

Project manager: Jim Rothwell
Primary researcher: University of Western Australia