Practicing safety on the farm helps to prevent injuries

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Children can learn many valuable life lessons while working with livestock, and everyone loves to see children and animals working together.  However, it’s important to remember livestock can be dangerous. 

Injur-ies from livestock-related accidents are a major source of harm that is suffered by children in agricultural settings.

According to the National Safety Council, 17 percent of all farm injuries involve animals. It is important to think about how those injuries could be prevented and make changes on your farm to prevent additional accidents, particularly if there are children around.

Animals and humans sense their surroundings very differently, so it is important to recognize those differences and use that information to help handle animals with greater safety. 

Animals do not see color the way humans do. They also do not have good depth perception.  They have a fear of stepping over grid patterns.  These are the reasons cattle guards are good ways to keep cattle in and allow vehicles to cross. 

Livestock have extremely sensitive hearing, which is why loud noises frighten animals and high frequency sounds hurt their ears.

Finally, animals are very protective of their young and could become dangerous if they perceive harm to their young.  These issues help explain why animals can balk or become skittish in unfamiliar surroundings.

It is important to teach children safety measures for interacting with livestock, whether they will be working with them on a daily basis or visiting for the first time. Here are a few important tips:

• Avoid loud noises and sudden movements

• Wear closed toed shoes, preferably steel toed boots

• Stay away from the rear legs

• Approach large animals at the shoulder

• Stay away from animals with newborns

• Stay away from bulls, boars, or rams (intact males of the bovine, pig, and sheep species)

• Have an escape route when working with animals in close quarters

Following these safety measures can reduce the risk of injury while working with livestock. 

Remember, be alert and always respect animals.  They may look friendly, but they can be dangerous and unpredictable in certain situations. 

For more information on practicing safety on the farm and working around livestock, please contact the Carroll County Cooperative Extension Service at (502) 732-7030.

Source:  Larissa Tucker, Extension Associate for Dairy 

Dates of Interest

Jan. 16: Extension Office closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

Jan. 17: Extension Council Meeting, 7 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.

Jan. 19: Pesticide Applicator Certification; 6:30 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.

Jan. 24: 4-H Council Meeting, noon, Carroll County Extension Office.

Jan. 31 and Feb. 1: The Vegetable Academy: A Short Course to Advance Vegetable Production in Kentucky, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (both days), Henry County Extension Office.

Cost:  $30.  RSVP to the Carroll County Extension Office by Jan. 27.


Christin Herbst is the Carroll County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to Christin.Herbst@uky.edu.