Sorting cattle is important if you have a large number of animals. For better management you will need to separate the animals into different groups depending on their age, size, gender or condition score. If some cattle of your herd need to be examined by a veterinarian or confined due to injury or illness, then separation may also need to be done.
Sorting is also needed for separating the calves that need to be weaned from their mothers. And separating the bulls is also necessary after they have done their duty with breeding cows.
Sorting cattle is not actually a difficult task. It can be done easily if you understand stockmanship principles that take advantage of bovine psychology and behavior. However, here we are describing more about the ways of sorting cattle.
Sorting From a Squeeze Chute
In this system you can move your cattle through a working corral into a chute system into the squeeze. In this system you can check and process animals for various things like body condition score, ear or brisket tags, dehorning, castration, vaccinations, preg-checking etc. The cattle are released and directed to go into a particular pen you wish them to be in from there. You can do this by opening or closing in the working alley. You can open and close the gates that are needed to direct the animal to where you want it to go.
For releasing the animal, you can go behind and guide the animal where to go, but generally this is not necessary (because once the cow has escaped from the squeeze, she will go where she can escape to without any assistance. Repeat the process until you have sorted each and every animal into the groups you have planned for.
Sorting Cattle in a Working Corral
First of all set up pens and corrals for cattle to be sorted into in this system. In this system, you can’t do any sorting without having other corrals to put separated cattle into. Your cattle will need feeding, watering and bedding area if you are wanting them to hold for a long time. You can allow them to a separate pasture if possible and necessary. Actually separate pasture is necessary for keeping the groups from mixing.
Generally this system will take much time and a bit more space. Space requirement depends on the size of your animals and also the number you have.
Move your animals into a smaller corral where they can be more easily handled. And it is difficult to sort any cattle which are in a large corral or pasture. Because they have more space to escape and get around you to places where you don’t want them to.
Open the gate to where you need to sort the first group in and only one gate is needed. Sorting cattle can be pretty easy when you give the animals only one route to escape (it will be good if you have the ability to control who escapes and who does not).
You should stay near the gate so that you can control their movements. Move to one corner of the working corral, away from the gate. Generally cattle like to go by or around you and they don’t like it if you walk with them. They generally find it distracting if anyone is with the herd and trying to push them. Only one person is needed to sort the animal in a small corral where the handler at the gate can easily manipulate their movements. You can close the gate when cattle from the main herd is separated into the different corral.