What to do if livestock get loose

I raised 4-H calves as a kid and every now and then a calf would escape the corral. It took all of us in the family – and sometimes a neighbor – to get the calf back in.  

David Pugh is a former Professor of Large Animal Medicine at Auburn University. He says animals get out when the fence is down or the gate's left open, and they're hungry, thirsty, or scared. 

"Usually with feed and hay, and some buckets to rattle, animals will usually come. Particularly if they know you, you can get them to follow you. Not all of them will, though," says Pugh. "It's a slow, deliberate movement into a given area and hopefully the goal from the sheep, or goat, or horse, or cow standpoint is to get back to an area that they're used to, and there's something to eat."

How you approach and move the animals depends on the species. When the pigs are out, grab a piece of plywood. Pigs can't pick their heads up very far, so they'll think it's a wall and will move accordingly. 

Cattle should be herded uphill and into a place with a circular pattern so they can't see ahead where they're going. If the escapee is a horse, the person who knows the horse best should approach it with a halter and lead line.
Pugh says it's very important that everyone helping you knows what the game plan is prior to starting the round-up process.  

"If you get a bunch of rednecks and cowboys go chasing things around, then you're going to have a worse problem. So it's got to be a slow, deliberate movement into an area and everybody that helps do this, you tell them we're going to do this real slow, and I'm in charge," he says. "If you don't want me to be in charge then get out right now. We're not going to have an argument in the middle of this thing because that's a bad deal."

Get the animals into a secure, pre-arranged area while you fix the spot where they got out, because if they escaped once, they'll do it again. 

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