If done correctly, the VetGun™ is a far more efficient and less stressful way to dose your cattle.
Every rancher knows his own herd best, but we recommend you try the following techniques:
- If the cattle are accustomed to a specific truck, ATV or horse/s, then use this to approach them.
- Never approach the cattle head on. Approach them at an angle so you don't present a direct 'challenge', be sure the cattle have a clear escape route. Cattle that feel trapped are more likely to become stressed and react negatively.
- Always make sure you are in a safe position where you can quickly and easily avoid any cattle that panic or become aggressive.
- Providing positive reinforcement such as hay, lick or feed cubes is strongly recommended. This helps to distract the cattle and provides a positive association with the process.
Three Simple Steps:
When first starting out try using our simple three-step process. Only advance to the next step once the cattle have become fully accustomed to the previous step.
Step 1: Lay down the lick or cubes and allow the cattle to move in and begin feeding. Then start off by test firing the VetGun (with no VetCaps™) at a distance of around 50 yards. Gradually work your way toward the cattle while they are distracted by the feed. If the cattle show signs of nervousness, then stop and resume process once they have relaxed. If the herd continues to be nervous, stop and return for short periods on subsequent days until the herd becomes totally desensitized to the noise.
Step 2: Once the cattle show little reaction to the VetGun noise at a distance of 20 to 30 feet, start firing the VetGun while you lay down the feed. For best results, build an association between the firing of the VetGun with the positive experience of introducing food. If time is taken at the start to positively condition the cattle, they will often begin to approach you at the noise of the first VetGun shots, actively seeking out the positive stimulus of the food.
Step 3: Once the cattle are accustomed to the noise of the VetGun and begin to associate it with the positive experience of being fed, only then begin dosing them with the VetCaps. Using positive reinforcement ensures that over time the cattle become conditioned to the dosing process. Positively conditioned cattle become progressively easier to dose. Eventually the VetGun can even be used to call the cattle in. For most cattle, the impact of the VetCap is like an insect bite they encounter many times each day, so the attraction of food far outweighs the slight and fleeting discomfort caused by the VetCap.
Once the cattle are accustomed to the dosing process, using a few simple rules will help you to maximize the effectiveness of the VetGun delivery system:
- Never approach the cattle head on. Approach them at an angle so you aren't making a direct challenge or threat, and always make sure the cattle have a clear escape route. Cattle that feel trapped are more likely to become stressed and to react negatively.
- Always target the shoulder region or an area that is well muscled. This will produce minimal discomfort for the animal, and keep stress low.
- Always make sure you are within range and have a clear shot at the targeted animal. Never target the head or fire when there is a chance of missing and hitting another animal in the head or eye.
- Always dose the most relaxed cattle first. Leave the more nervous animals until last, and do not dose any animals that show signs of severe nervousness or aggression.
- If the herd becomes nervous or unsettled, give it a break — provide more positive reinforcement and TAKE IT SLOWLY.
- It may take several cycles of conditioning the herd to become accustomed to the dosing process. By always being mindful of keeping the cattle distracted and quiet, you will achieve the best results
- Never try to dose cattle that are fleeing away. Leave these cattle and focus on the cattle which show the least concern and are most distracted by the food. Over time the entire herd should become accustomed to this method of dosing.
- For best long-term results dose cows with calves at foot; if necessary use the same three-step process above. By the time the calves are old enough to be dosed themselves, they are likely to be totally accustomed to the VetGun and show very little response.
- Strictly follow all of the product labelling, particularly where dosages are concerned.
The VetGun system is significantly less stressful than gathering the cattle and running them through the chute to apply ear tags or pour-on. By using simple, positive reinforcement techniques, it is possible to almost eliminate cattle stress from the parasite management process.