Grassy field with cattle

Farm Animal Safety

Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team

From cattle to sheep, the animals on your farm depend on you just as much as you depend on them. Keep safety protocols top-of-mind with these farm animal safety tips.

Animals are the life blood of many farms and ranches. If you make a livelihood out of handling farm animals, it’s important to understand that much of your success depends on the safety practices you put into place. So don’t overlook the importance of safety around your livestock.

From cattle to sheep, the animals on your farm depend on you just as much as you depend on them. Keep safety protocols top-of-mind with these farm animal safety tips.

Protect Yourself

Your first step for farm animal safety is protecting you — you’re in charge after all. Follow these tips to keep you safe.

  • Wear the right clothing — closed-toed shoes, long pants, gloves and helmet as needed.
  • If you’re dealing with livestock in tight quarters, make sure you have an exit strategy so you have a way to escape if needed.
  • Remember that many diseases can be transferred from animal to human through many forms of contact — skin, hair, saliva, feces, urine, blood, etc. Make sure your animals are properly vaccinated and cover all your cuts and open wounds before coming in contact with the animal.
  • Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of animal diseases and promptly treat any sign of illness.
  • After working with animals, wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds and change your clothing.
  • Train your employees on proper handling and safety guidelines. It’s important for everyone on the farm to know how to work with the animals in order to prevent a livestock-related accident.
  • Go over rules and safety guidelines with any visitors on the farm.

Know Your Animals

For the most part, livestock are creatures of habit and you may know their behavior well — but animals can still be unpredictable. Here are some things you should know about your livestock.

  • They prefer routine. Try to make their feeding and milking times the same every day.
  • They like being part of a group. Livestock usually follow a leader, and if they get separated from the rest of the group they can become frightened or agitated.
  • Remember that both male and female animals may be more aggressive during the mating season and females can be very protective of young animals.
  • Animals have a flight zone. This is the personal space that an animal has and they’ll react depending on how close you are in proximity and what you do.
  • Animals can’t see behind them, so if they know you’re around try to stay in their line of sight and use calm movements so you don’t startle them.
  • A sudden spook can cause them to react quickly and violently, and anything in their way is at risk.
  • If you notice an animal is acting strange, do not approach it if you are not experienced in working with animals.
  • Look for the following warning signs: raised or pinned ears, raised tail or hair on the back, bared teeth, snorting, pawing at the ground.
  • Be especially careful working with sick or injured animals, during storms, and during other unusual circumstances.
  • The most important thing you can do when working with your animals is to be patient.

Maintain a Safe Space

Your animals are a significant part of your livelihood. So providing them with a proper living space is vital to their safety and yours. Here are a few suggestions for improving yard safety.

  • Make sure that the sheds, yards, cradles and crushes are the right size and strength for the animals.
  • Install durable gates and fencing that are specific for the type of livestock you have.
  • Keep your gates, latches and hinges in good condition to ensure they function properly.
  • Wherever possible, keep your walkways and laneways dry and non-slip. Use concrete flooring with a rough finish, as well as grooved walkways in high traffic areas for better traction.
  • Design your yard so there are no blind corners or sharp turns.
  • Lighting should be even to avoid shadows since animals scare easily.
  • In indoor confinement facilities, the flooring should allow water to drain easily.

When it comes to your farm, practicing safe habits can keep your livelihood and your livestock moving forward. At American Family Insurance, we put a priority on safety — our agents (Opens in a new tab)are a go-to resource to help you protect a dream you work hard for every day. Connect with yours to ensure your farm insurance needs are being met.

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