Top 55+Animal Care Practices Tips in Nigeria

Animal Care Practices Tips: Every year incidents involving livestock account for a large proportion of the injuries sustained by people working on farms. The effects can be severe.

Many injuries caused by animals result in the farmer being unable to work for months.

Livestock incidents have also claimed the lives of 18 farmers in Northern Ireland in the last 10 years.

Livestock have minds of their own, a huge weight advantage and move surprisingly fast.

Agitated cattle are a particular risk.

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Animal Care Practices Tips

It takes skill and practice to handle them safely.

Even skilled animals handlers take knocks or kicks during their careers.

Every year, many people are hurt by livestock, mostly when they kick or crush them.

Some get serious injuries, like broken bones, and people have been killed.

Animal Care Practices Tips

You are more likely to be injured:

  • when you don’t have the experience to assess the risks
  • when you don’t have the agility or ability to get out of the way
  • with bulls
  • with recently calved cows
  • with bad-tempered or irritable cattle
  • with cattle that are not handled by humans very often, eg run cattle
  • in a new environment for cattle, eg entering the milking shed for the first time
  • handling cattle at close quarters, like in a race or a crush> loading and unloading cattle for transport
  • when you are tired, like during calving season when farmers work long hours with broken sleep.

This guide applies to anyone handling livestock, including farmers, farm employees, contractors and truck drivers.

It applies to both the beef and dairy industries.

Animal Care Practices Tips

1. Before you start

Before working with Livestock take a moment to Stop and Think!

Think about what you can do if there is a problem.

Where animals are not restrained, always check that there is somewhere safe you can get to easily if an animal becomes aggressive.

Work out an escape route or refuge before working with animals.

Think about the animals you are working with.

Animal Care Practices Tips

The risk is increased if the animals have not been handled frequently.

Bulls and recently calved cows also need particular care.

Think about what you are going to do.

Agitated or stressed animals are more likely to be dangerous.

Animal Care Practices Tips

Certain tasks, such as veterinary work, may also increase the risk.

Think about how you will do the work safely.

Attempting to carry out stock tasks on unrestrained cattle or with makeshift equipment is particularly hazardous.

It increases your risk of injury but also causes distress to the animals and wastes valuable time.

Be safe. Make sure you have the right equipment.

Animal Care Practices Tips

Remember to think about others who may be hurt.

Family, employees, visitors such as vets, when handling your cattle.

Make sure workers are trained and competent.

Never put an inexperienced handler or a child at risk with animals.

See also: Top 12 Agricultural Safety Analysis in Nigeria

Animal Care Practices Tips

2. Handling facilities


Every farm that handles animals should have proper handling facilities.

Which are well maintained and in good working order.

Collecting pens, the forcing pen and race should be designed to promote animals movement.

While protecting workers from being crushed.

Gates should be properly hung so that they can open fully against a pen wall.

Floor surfaces need to be slip-resistant and in good condition for both the stock and stockman’s benefit.

Animal Care Practices Tips

It is essential that you have a gate to prevent animals charging forward when you are working in the rear of the crush.

The crush must be secured to the ground or, if mobile, to a suitable vehicle.

It needs to be sited so there is a animals -free working area around it.

Never attempt to treat or work on any animal that is held by gates alone or is free to move at will.

Animals  should not be able to enter the area beside the crush while someone is working.

See also: 28 Livestock Disease Prevention Tips in Nigeria

3. Managing bulls

The hazards of bulls are well known.

Following some simple steps can help reduce risks.

From an early age the bull should learn to associate people with feeding, grooming or exercise.

All bulls should be ringed at 10 months old and all dairy bulls should be kept in a purpose-built bullpen.

Never enter the pen when the bull is loose.

Safety signs should also be erected warning of the presence of a bull at the entrance to any building where a bull is kept.

Read also: 17 Tips to Start Animal Husbandry Business in Nigeria

4. Culling aggressive animals

Animals that are known to be aggressive or difficult pose a continuing risk.

Animals that have attacked once are more likely to do so again.

Culling these animals at an abattoir is always the safest course.

Animals known to be dangerous should not be sold through a mart or direct to other farmers.

5. Preventing disease

Zoonoses are diseases passed from animals to humans.

Reduce the risk of infection by vaccinating animals where appropriate.

And always wear suitable protective clothing when handling animals or potentially infected material such as the afterbirth or faeces.

It is important to ensure good personal hygiene at all times and to wash and dry your hands before eating, drinking or smoking.

Animal Care Practices Tips
Animal Care Practices Tips

The Stop and Think checklist

The following helpful tips will help keep you safe on the farm.


1. make sure handlers are competent and agile

2. work out an escape route or refuge before working with cattle

3. be careful around cows and heifers with new-born calves

4. remember that cows that are ‘on heat’ are unpredictable

Animal Care Practices Tips

5. try to keep cattle calm when handling them

6. use a stick to assist in directing cattle

7. disbud calves early to prevent horn growth

8. watch for warning signs of animal aggression, especially in bulls and newly calved cows and heifers

9. cull aggressive and difficult cattle as soon as possible

Animal Care Practices Tips

10. use well-designed facilities

11. regularly check and maintain facilities such as the crush, gates and fences

12. keep ground surfaces clean, as far as possible

13. protect yourself against disease with proper personal hygiene

Animal Care Practices Tips


14. put an inexperienced handler or a child at risk with animals

15. turn your back on a bull or trust a bull

16. stress or arouse animals unnecessarily

17. turn your back on a cow following calving

18. keep dangerous animals

Animal Care Practices Tips

19. beat or shout at animals unnecessarily – they remember bad experiences

20. Ask about animal handling practices to make sure you know how protect yourself, as animals can be unpredictable or dangerous.

21. Take the time to ensure animals are restrained properly before you handle them.

Animal Care Practices Tips

22. If you handle livestock in pens or yards, make sure these are designed so you can’t be trapped or crushed.

23. ensure you are in a safe position when loading or unloading animals

24. check you have a clear escape route

25. ensure latches, bolts and chains on gates work properly.

Animal Care Practices Tips

26. Avoid working alone when loading or unloading stock.

27. When working inside, for example in a shearing shed, make sure there is enough light to see what you are doing.

28. Reduce the risk of distraction, for example using a mobile phone when working with livestock.

29. Wear appropriate clothing and PPE.

Animal Care Practices Tips

30. Have a first aid kit near the area of work.

31. Animals  pose a significant safety risk at work.

Many workers have been killed or injured by falling from  animals  or being bitten, struck or kicked by one.

Animal Care Practices Tips

32. Provide as much ventilation as possible in the pit and building during agitation of the waste.

Although pits are agitated only a few times a year, most human and livestock deaths or illnesses occur at these times.

33. No workers should be near the pit or in the building during agitation.

If possible, remove all animals from the building.

Animal Care Practices Tips

34. Avoid entering a manure pit at any time, if at all possible.

Even if the pit has been emptied, it still may be lacking in oxygen or have high concentrations of toxic gases.

35. Always keep at least one foot of space between the highest manure level and the slats.

This protects the animals who lie on the slats and inhale the gases that will accumulate at the surface of the pit.

Animal Care Practices Tips

36. Do not allow anyone to enter the silo during the filling process.

Until the blower has run for at least 30 minutes.

The height of the chute doors should be kept as close as practical with the silage level.

This allows heavier-than-air gases to be blown down the chute.

Animal Care Practices Tips

37. Do not for any reason allow anyone to enter the silo for 7 to 10 days after the filling process is completed.

It is during this time that the fermentation process is occurring and producing the toxic gases.

38. Provide good ventilation around the base of the silo during the fermentation process so that the gases will be carried away.

Animal Care Practices Tips

39. Provide fencing to prevent children and animals from straying into any spaces adjoining a silo during this dangerous period.

40. When the silo is opened, the blower again should run for a minimum of 30 minutes before entry.

Given a proper fermentation, no further gas production should occur.

Animal Care Practices Tips

41. Never enter a silo without someone on the outside monitoring your activity.

42. Store only dry, well-cured forage or grain.

Mold develops from the heat generated by moist or wet stored forage and grain.

43. Burn moldy grain or hay.

Animal Care Practices Tips

44. Keep livestock areas as clean as possible to prevent dust from collecting.

45. Wear a dust mask in dusty work areas to keep harmful dust out of your lungs.

46. Liquid manure holding facilities should be secured against entry.

Outdoor lagoons and ponds should be fenced.

47. Good housekeeping is essential, not only for your personal safety.

But also for the health and well being of your stock.

Animal Care Practices Tips

48. Keep children away from animals, particularly in livestock handling areas.

49. Most male animals are dangerous.

Use special facilities for these animals and practice extreme caution when handling them.

50. Be calm and deliberate when working with animals.

Always leave yourself an “out” when working in close quarters.

Animal Care Practices Tips

51. Respect all animals. They may not purposely hurt you.

But their size and bulk make them potentially dangerous.

52. Most animals tend to be aggressive when protecting their young.

Be extra careful around newborn animals.

Animal Care Practices Tips

53. Stay clear of animals that are frightened or “spooked.” Be extra careful around strange animals.

54. Monitor entry into your operation; sales and service personnel could bring diseases from other farms.

55. Keep facilities in good repair. Chutes, stalls, fences and ramps should be maintained regularly.


Remember, many of the steps to stay safe only require a few moments’ thought.

Other safety measures, such as a well-designed and built handling system, may seem expensive, but will last many years.

Handling animals safely with good facilities will also save a lot of time.

And if you consider the business consequences of an injury, costs less than an accident.

Never underestimate the risk from animals , even with good precautions in place.

It could save your life.

Under normal conditions in a well-designed, properly constructed building with good ventilation.

you should not have many problems with gas accumulation.

But serious problems can occur if the proper precautions are not followed.

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