Cover Image
close this book Animal traction
View the document About this manual
View the document About the author
View the document Acknowledgments
close this folder 1. Introduction
View the document What is animal traction?
View the document History of animal traction
View the document Why use animal traction?
View the document Some considerations
View the document How can animal traction be used?
View the document Before beginning: what do you need to know?
close this folder 2. Draft animal selection
View the document Popular draft animals
View the document Determining power requirements
View the document General rules concerning power requirements
View the document Method for determining size of the hitch
View the document Determining weights of animals
View the document Selection of individual draft animals
View the document Conformation
View the document Temperament
close this folder 3. Animal husbandry
View the document Sheller
View the document Nutrition
View the document Grooming
View the document Minor medical problems and first aid
close this folder 4. Training draft animals
View the document Before training begins
View the document General comments on training procedure
View the document Training cattle
View the document Program for training cattle
View the document Training horses, donkeys and mules
View the document Program for training horses, donkeys and mules
close this folder 5. Yokes and harnesses
View the document Yokes and harnesses for cattle
View the document Yokes and harnesses for horses, donkeys and mules
View the document How to harness a horse, donkey or mule
View the document Steering systems
View the document Breeching harness
close this folder 6. Hitches
View the document Safety rules
View the document Implement hitches
View the document Vehicle hitches
View the document 7. Field operations and implements
close this folder 8. Economic and technical assistance
View the document Farm planning assistance
View the document Equipment options
View the document Credit for equipment
View the document Credit for animals
View the document Procedures and controls
close this folder 9. Animal traction extension
View the document Extension education
View the document Appendix A: Animal power
close this folder Appendix B: Animal nutrition
View the document Energy needs: bovine animals
View the document Energy needs: equine animals
View the document Nutrient needs of draft animals: protein, minerals, vitamins
View the document Feeds and feed composition
View the document Calculating a ration
View the document Recommended rations and feeding practices
close this folder Appendix C: Disease recognition and control
View the document Parasites and parasitic disease
View the document Appendix D: Workshop and spare parts inventory
View the document Appendix E: Animal traction instruction forms
View the document Appendix F: Animal breeds used for power
View the document Bibliography
View the document Resources
View the document GIossary


Temperament refers to the nature or disposition of an animal. Part of its temperament is determined genetically, both by breed and parentage; some of it is learned-a response to the treatment it receives from other animals or the people who raise and handle it.

Temperament is reflected in an animal's behavior, the way it moves and acts, and the way it reacts to the things around it. It is difficult to know much about temperament from the quick evaluation that usually precedes the purchase of a draft animal. The buyer must guess, from what is observable, whether or not an animal will accept new routines or maintenance and training, behave well in a pair, and prove to be a spirited yet steady-paced and manageable worker. Sometimes, what is observable is not typical of the animal's behavior. A basically lethargic bull, for example, may become very alert or nervous at the approach of a stranger, exhibiting a fierceness that could be misinterpreted as a strong yet controllable spirit. A donkey that is mishandled and mismanaged might kick or butt at its owner, or at any adult, but be led away quite easily by a child. The buyer must be aware of such possibilities and at the same time drew some basic conclusions about the animal's temperament.

The following are signs of good temperament:

• Good overall conformation and health. The animal has no physical handicaps that require it to compensate with aggressive or stubborn behavior. An animal with bad vision or hearing, an unsound leg or joint, or with a chronic respiratory or muscular weakness, protects itself by balking, spooking, shying, refusing to be harnessed or lying down during work. Its temperament is affected or shaped by its physical condition.

• The animal accepts the handling of the owner. The owner can pick up the animal's foot, open its mouth, lead it with a rope without having to use force or harsh measures.

• It does not shy or kick at other animals. The buyer should try to be present when it is being turned out with a herd or put into a corral with other animals. If an animal is unusually aggressive or cowardly, it may not work well in a pair. Aggressive animals force their work-mates to shy or lean out of the yoke or harness, while cowardly animals may refuse to step evenly with their mates, lagging behind.

When an animal is taken from its herd or original owner and staked out or corralled in a new place, it may experience shock. The animal may show signs of aggression, withdrawal, stubbornness, fear, or general anxiety. None of these reactions is unnatural during the adjustment period, and should not be taken as a sign of an unsuitable disposition. An animal's character becomes clear later, during training and preseason work. At that time the farmer can judge the ability of the animal to work as part of a pair or team. Buying an animal early in the offseason allows the owner time to seek a replacement should a problem arise.