How employees greet new calf arrivals makes a big difference in how quickly the animals adjust to their new surroundings, says Jim Reynolds, of the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center in Tulare, Calif. Calves are already scared from the trip and are often hesitant to step off the trailer. Unfortunately, this hesitancy sometimes leads employees to drag calves off by their ears. This, in turn, further raises calves’ blood cortisol levels. Calves could take longer to settle in and start eating again.
Reynolds recommends that all employees be trained to walk into the trailer, gently move any hesitant calves out, and to never use calves’ ears as handles.