Wideangle Vision

Prey species animals have a wide-angle visual field that enables them to scan their surroundings for signs of danger. Both grazing mammals and birds are especially sensitive to rapid movement and high contrasts of light and dark. Most grazing mammals are dichromats and are partially color-blind. Their eyes are most sensitive to yellowish-green and blue-purple light.[1] However, some birds have full-color vision. If an animal refuses to walk through a handling facility it may be due to seeing small distractions that people often do not notice. It may balk and refuse to walk past a small swinging chain or shadows that make harsh contrasts of light and dark.[2] A leaf blowing in the wind may make a horse ''spook'' and jump. To locate the distractions that impede animal movement, people should walk through the chutes to see what the animal sees. Ruminants, pigs, and equines may refuse to move through a chute for veterinary procedures if they see people moving up ahead, sparkling reflections on a wet floor, or vehicles. One simple way to improve animal movement through a handling facility is to put up a solid fence, so that the animals do not see things that frighten them through the fence.[3] This is especially important for animals that are not accustomed to close contact with people.

For wild ruminants such as bison, solid fences to block vision will keep them calmer during vaccinations and other procedures. Covering the eyes with a completely opaque blindfold also keeps them calmer. Deer and poultry producers handle these animals in darkened rooms to prevent excitement. Illumination with faint blue lights is often used in poultry processing plants. The blue lights provide sufficient illumination for people to see, and they keep the birds calm.

Lighting in a handling facility will affect animal movement. Animals are attracted to light unless it is blinding sun. They may refuse to move through a chute that is directly facing the sun. Chutes should face away from the rising or setting sun. In indoor facilities, lamps can be used to attract animals into chutes. On a bright, sunny day, cattle and pigs may refuse to enter a dark building. One of the best ways to solve this problem is to install white translucent panels in the building to admit abundant shadow-free light.

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