Ensure handling facilities functional, safe and low-stress

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Handling facilities for camelids are different to those used for sheep and cattle due to their different body dimensions and weights. Sheep yards are generally too low in height to safely prevent alpacas jumping over fences/panels, while cattle races are generally too wide to allow smooth flow of animals. Make sure flooring is non-slip, clean and safe. Replace worn battens in shearing sheds to avoid fractured legs. Remove hazards on which animals and/or workers may get injured. Perform repairs and maintenance well before the facilities are needed for routine work such as shearing, vaccination and drenching so that animals are processed quietly, safely and quickly.

Low-stress handling includes mustering whole mobs rather than individual animals/split mobs, use of competent and calm handlers, minmising noise and jerky movements, minimising time in the yards, not overcrowding in yards and avoiding use of dogs. Understanding flight zones and application of optimal pressure rather than excessive pressure will also minimise stress during handling.

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