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Flight zone

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The flight zone of an animal is the area surrounding the animal that will cause alarm and escape behavior when encroached upon. If a person enters the flight zone of an animal, the animal will move away. The size of the flight zone depends upon the tameness of the animal. Tame animals have no flight zone; that is, they will allow a person to approach and touch them. Wild, feral, and unbroken animals can have very large flight zones.

The flight zone is an important principle to remember when herding, working or mustering livestock. An animal can be stimulated to move simply by skirting its flight zone, and the animal will move in the desired direction if the correct side of the flight zone is invaded.

Confining a livestock animal in a cattle crush (chute) or alley can make it feel more secure and thus reduce the size of the flight zone; however, it does not eliminate the flight zone. An animal in a cattle race or livestock alley that feels threatened may panic and injure itself or other animals.

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