It is important to remember not to overuse the backing or top gate as this will reduce the space each cow has in the yard resulting in pushing, slipping, forced changes to milking order and/or claw injuries potentially resulting in lameness.
- Make sure all staff have the same routine and system when moving gates so cows know what to expect.
- Do not have the backing gate on for more than 5 seconds at any one time.
- Do not use the backing/top gate at all for at least 15 minutes after the last cow enters the yard. Cows need space to re-form their milking order for good cow flow.
- Ensure the backing gate moves no faster than 1 metre (for round yards) and 0.5 metre (for rectangular yards) in the 5 second time period it is on.
- Avoid electric wires on your backing gates. Address the other reasons for poor cow flow through the shed rather than pushing cows with backing gates.
- Above all – be patient and remember that no cow should have her head up in the yards.
If you do have a problem with lameness or are interested in minimising the risk of your cows becoming lame, consider joining the Healthy Hoof Programme. Ask to speak to Katrina Roberts, the Anexa FVC Healthy Hoof Advisor.