Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



62nd Society for Range Management Annual Meeting. Paper 2009


US government work.


Free-ranging livestock are classically controlled by herders. Holding, moving, or gathering free-ranging cattle requires flexible husbandry practices for efficient and effective lowstress animal management. Behavioral theory and practical experience indicates cattle can be taught to respond to auditory cues. Preliminary research has demonstrated that cows can be gathered autonomously using recorded audio cues associated with manual gathering. However, efficient gathering requires movement in the proper direction. Therefore, we believe using audio cues administered from directional virtual fencing (DVF™) equipment can facilitate proper animal orientation and facilitate the gathering of animals with minimal human intervention. Results from applying directional audio cues to free-ranging cows using hardware and software developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will be discussed in light of how many animals in a herd potentially need to be instrumented in order to successfully gather the entire group. Conclusions • Free-ranging cows can be gathered autonomously using only audio cues administered from DVF™ devices. • Incorporating paddock information such as the location of trails, drinking water and corrals and replacing manual sequencing with algorithms that can administer sounds directionality through software will improve the efficiency of autonomous gathering.

Objective • Is it possible to autonomously gather free-ranging cattle using preprogrammed audio cues to which the animals have been previously habituated?