Proper Stockmanship Training Saves Cattle from a Range Fire

Posted October 15th, 2017 — Filed in Stockmanship, Testimonials

A friend just forwarded this to me. . .

I just wanted to write you and let you know that I used LSLH [low stress livestock handling] for an application that you may never have thought about before.  On June 27th we had a lightening strike start our range land on fire.  The fire was moving fast but there was a paved road between the fire and the range ground where my cattle were so everyone thought they were safe.  Due to some crazy circumstances, the fire jumped the road and started roaring through where my cattle were.

I have to take one step back before I finish the story.  After I got back from the Republic workshop I hadn’t been crazy about how I had done, so I decided to double down my efforts.  I already handle my cattle a lot but at the workshop I identified some skills I was really lacking.  When I got back home I took my cattle somewhere every day and even if I just took them in a big loop, when I got them back home, I settled them.  By the way, when you start getting the hang of settling cattle, it feels pretty magical!  I have to admit, it still felt silly taking my cows “for a spin” but they seemed fine with it.

Fast forward back to the fire jumping the road:  I didn’t have time to saddle a horse, so I jumped on an ATV with my Border Collie and raced down the road to where the cows were.  First off, they were all within sight range of each other because I have been working with them to stay together. I don’t mean to anthropomorphize, but they seemed glad to see me, like “Oh good, she’s here to tell us what to do.”  I used the dog but I had good motion from the start, they mothered up, and went head to tail at a steady pace.  That good motion drew the few outliers in and they just fell into place.  They were quiet, there was no bawling, and they just moved calmly in the direction I asked them to.  In fact, the flames were coming so fast that I actually had to pick them up into a jog.  But even then, they just did a steady jog, no one ran.  I think about it so much, it seemed so amazing!  I took them two miles to an irrigated field where I placed and settled them.  The flames roared around the field (see picture) but they calmly stayed in the field.  I just want you to know that I feel like you (and Bud Williams) are the reason my cows are alive today.  It would have torn me up in so many ways if my cows had burned up–I can’t hardly stand thinking about it.  They were in 1,000 acres, so if they had been spread out I would have lost cattle. Also, if we hadn’t practiced going places beforehand I’m certain I wouldn’t have saved them all.  Thank you so much for what you do!!!!!  Gosh, I just can’t thank you enough!

Wally Olson Marketing Schools

Posted August 21st, 2017 — Filed in Marketing

Wally has the following Marketing schools scheduled.  Click on the date to view information about the school and the registration form.

Read more about Wally and his school on his website here: olsonranchllc.com

BEEF Magazine had a good article on marketing you might also be interested in: http://www.beefproducer.com/marketing/consider-no-depreciation-cow-calf-operation

Predatory Stress

Posted June 26th, 2017 — Filed in Stockmanship

I wrote this in answer to a post on Kit Pharo’s list, but thought it might be of interest to viewers of this site.
 At the risk of being the person with a hammer and looking at every problem as a nail . . .
          A great many handling and health problems in livestock stems from the fact that most of our livestock are prey animals and we are predators.  No matter how  slow or gentle or sneaky (dart guns) we are in moving or treating our animals, they continue to be stressed by that very fact.  Bud learned how to handle animals in such a way that they don’t consider us a predator.  He probably put more pressure on the animals he worked than most people, since he expected crisp, energetic movement from them, but his body language and angle of pressure was such that their instinctive reaction was to go the way he wanted them to go.
          Bud and I spent the first years of our married life working on large mountain ranches in n/w California.  It was unheard of to have a sick calf while it was on the cow.  No matter how badly the cattle were gathered and handled in the corral at spring roundup, when they were turned back out the cow was able to convince her calf that she could take care of things and there wasn’t anything more to worry about.  Now that most people never teach their cattle to drive and are moving them with feed, which necessitates getting the cows so psyched up that they are not in a normal state of mind, they are actually putting more stress on their calves instead of taking it off.
          I’m sure Bud irritated a lot of people when, addressing a specific problem, he told them to “Work with your animals and do what they tell you they need.  There is no way I can write you a recipe.”   Richard and Tina say “Drive your animals.”   They are absolutely right, and Bud eventually got around to saying that this is the first step, during the conversation.  I prefer to say “Take them for a walk”  since to me, this tends to put a person in the right mental attitude to do the animals some good, and this was what Bud would tell me he was going to do when I asked him where he was going.
          I don’t think most livestock feel comfortable anywhere in their pastures.  There are some places they feel less uncomfortable and that’s where they hang out.  On the big set-stocked ranches I mentioned, certain cows could always be found in certain areas.  As soon as we started working them better they stopped doing this.  When Bud put cattle in the corral, unless you drove them out, they would stay there, with the gates open until thirst or hunger caused them to leave.  Bud seemed to make them feel that this was the safest, most comfortable place they could be.  If you are interested, go to our website  www.stockmanship.com and click on the “Herding” button.  Especially read “My Two Cents Worth” posted July 12, 2009 for several incidents that make me believe this is true.

Livestock Marketing and Proper Stockmanship Schools Coming up in 2017

Posted June 12th, 2017 — Filed in Calendar

We now have four more Bud Williams Livestock Marketing and Proper Stockmanship schools confirmed for 2017!

Let us know if you have any questions about any of our schools or if you’d like us to bring a school to your area.

Best,
Tina and Richard of Hand ‘n Hand Livestock Solutions

New Farm Journal Wildfire Fund Will Double Your Donation

Posted April 24th, 2017 — Filed in Miscellaneous

Please join me in sending a donation for the ranchers who were impacted by the devastating wildfires last March.

Click on the link below to find out more about the New Farm Journal Fund which will double your donation.

http://www.agprofessional.com/news/industry/new-farm-journal-fund-doubles-your-donation-wildfire-recovery?

Eunice

Puppy Manners

Posted March 30th, 2017 — Filed in Stockdogs

Question:  The situation is that we have a 4 month old border collie puppy that we got 2 months ago. We also have an 8 year old lab cross family dog. The older dog is a companion animal and keeps the coyotes and bears away. That is what we hope for in the younger dog too, besides being our 10 year old son’s dog. The pup is totally keyed into the older dog and it is very difficult to take them on walks without constant pulling on the leash. If I take them separately, the pup stays tuned into me and it goes nicely. However, it’s not getting any better when I try to take them on a walk together.  The older dog can go on a leash, but is used to running along on loose voice commands. I realize that I may have to change her habits in order to walk them together.  Do you have any suggestions or ideas on what I need to be aimed at to help this young dog to be tuned into us, rather than the other dog?

Answer: I’d take your pup out on a long line with your older dog loose when you go on a walk.   A 20′ length of 1/4″ nylon cord works well.  You can probably drop your end and  let the pup drag it. Every so often call the pup to you.  Your pup needs to be solid on coming to you when you call it anyway and this is a great exercise for that.  At first you will reel him in fairly gently, with lots of praise when he gets to you. But soon, if he ignores you, jerk hard enough to up-end him, say COME, COME angrily as you roughly reel him in, with you backing up all the time.  When he gets to you change your tone to praise and tell him what a good boy he is.  Then say OK (or another release word) and let him have the length of the line again to wander and play with your other dog as you go for your walk.  Since your Lab will probably stay fairly close to you the pup won’t be at the end of the line and pulling even if you are holding on to the end.  Soon, the pup will stay tuned to you, even when he is interested in something else just in case you call him.

I’d also walk the puppy alone on leash and teach him not to pull.  I’m not into gimmick collars, harnesses, etc., just a regular flat collar.  Be sure it is tight enough that you can barely slip 2 fingers between dog and collar.  NEVER hold pressure with the leash on the pup’s collar, but tug and slack.  All dogs love to lay into pressure and pull, so never let them feel steady pressure to pull against.  I’ve had some dogs that were especially stubborn about this so I would carry a switch and tap them on the rear or back legs when they insisted on pulling.

Eunice

Proper Stockmanship

Posted March 29th, 2017 — Filed in Stockmanship

While doing some spring cleaning I ran across this item Bud wrote many years ago.

My method of working livestock consists of learning to “read” what the animal is telling you and change your position so that she wants to go where you want her to go.  It is important that the animals do not consider you a threat to them. People have written articles about my Stockmanship methods, but if they use predator/prey examples you can be sure that they do not understand the concept at all. The last thing I want my animals to do is to think of me as a predator. My goal is not only to work livestock with very little stress but also to take existing stress off of them. By handling the animals this way, you will be able to get the job done more quickly, efficiently and with less cost than by the traditional methods. Some of the other by-products are increased performance and reduced health problems in the animals, as well as still being on speaking terms with the family after a day of working livestock together.  Do not make the mistake of thinking that I “baby” animals.  I probably pressure livestock more than most people.  The difference is that I pressure them how and where they want to be pressured.

The proper positioning and pressure application when moving cattle, sheep and other livestock is what makes them feel comfortable and willing to stay where you put them on the range. This same thing is what makes feedlot cattle gain better with less health problems or increase a dairy herd’s production. It is what makes a cow perceive you as a non-enemy so she isn’t “on the fight” if you need to handle her baby calf, or get overly upset when you wean. In other words, the techniques are the same when you are working any kind of livestock.  An elk or bison (or wild cow) will tell you that you are “close enough” when you are further away from her than a gentle cow or sheep will do, but she is telling you the same thing if you will only see it.

In order for you to learn to work livestock the way that I do, you must first change your attitude.  This will probably be the most difficult thing I will ask you to do.

OLD—I’m going to “MAKE” that animal do what I want.
NEW—I’m going to “LET” that animal do what I want.

OLD—That stupid  (#%$&, miserable, ornery, wild, hateful . . .) cow  (calf, bull, sheep, pig, goat, horse . . .) broke back  (missed the gate, charged me, got sick, died . . .)
NEW—What did I do to cause the animal to react that way?

The control we can have over animals is amazing.  Thirty years ago I was considered pretty good at handling problem livestock.  Knowing what I do today I wonder how I even held down a job.  To me, the exciting thing is knowing that I have only scratched the surface.  I am learning and improving every day.  You can too.

When trying to control animals the old way, you are giving up any chance of getting the kind of control I am talking about.  Forget all of your excuses:
She is afraid of the gate.
She remembers getting hurt in the chute.
She has never been through the chute before.
Etc., etc., etc.

Believe that she is responding to what you are doing right at this moment!
I would like to talk to you about some of the things I have learned about handling livestock.  The methods I use have proven themselves with reindeer, elk, buffalo, camels, fallow deer, horses, hogs, sheep, goats and poultry, as well as with beef and dairy cattle.  While my method of stockmanship is quite simple, it is very difficult for people to learn because it often goes against human behavior.  Remember, as a stockman, you are supposed to be the smart one.  It is up to you to change to accommodate the animal.

I have had the good fortune to observe people working livestock from northern Alaska and Canada to Central America, from Oregon and California in the west to Kentucky in the east.  Everyone used the same basic principle.  That is, to go out and chase the animals from where they were, to where the people wanted them to go.  By now, you probably realize that I don’t think that is the best way to work animals.  The traditional method of driving livestock consists of trying to frighten the animal away from the person, hopefully in the direction the person wants it to go.  Using fear and force to move animals is very stressful to them.  My method takes the animal’s natural behavior into consideration, but makes us change our natural behavior.

There are certain things animals want to do as long as they are in a normal mental state.
1. They want to see what is pressuring them.
2. They want to move in the direction they are headed.  This may seem obvious to you, but if this is the
case, why would you move behind an animal to make it go when moving into the animal’s blind spot
will cause it to turn to see you?
3. They want to follow other animals.
4. They have very little patience.

Proper position on your part and nothing more is enough pressure to allow you to move livestock any place they are physically able to go.  By you being in this position, the animals will want to move in the desired direction.  Excessive pressure will put the animals into a panic condition where none of these things apply.

Loud noise that is directed to the animal is almost always excessive pressure, especially yelling, revving the motor on your 4-wheeler, etc.  It is not only stressful to the animals, but it is detrimental to your objective.  They are quite willing to accept general noise such as banging chutes and normal motor sounds.

As pressure is applied to move the animals, some of it must be released when they move.  Either by you stepping back, or by the fact that they moved ahead and that takes some of the pressure off.  Do not lose contact with the animal by releasing all of the pressure.  Constant pressure with no let up, or excessive pressure is what panics animals.

Do not apply pressure from behind an animal.  Now listen to what I said.  “Do not APPLY PRESSURE from behind.”  You can walk along behind livestock all day and not cause any problem as long as you aren’t pressuring them.  There is always a correct position.  This spot moves as the animal moves.  The angle you move in relation to the animal determines if you will maintain the proper position.  The speed you move is important, but not as important as the angle.

Read your animals.  They will tell you what your position should be.  Don’t try to anticipate what the animals will do as this will put you out of position and likely cause the very thing you are trying to prevent.   “Whatever you anticipate, you will create”.

Moving back and forth while getting closer to the animals will tend to cause them to move away from you.

Moving parallel to livestock in the same direction the animals are going will tend to slow the animals down.  This is true if you are at the front, the side or behind the herd.  This is very helpful if you are trying to settle animals that have too much movement.  It is very detrimental if you are driving a herd since you tend to kill the movement that you are trying to generate.

Moving parallel to livestock in the opposite direction (front to rear) will tend to speed them up.  Animals want to continue in the direction they are headed.  When they see you coming, they will try to hurry past you.

I am not a good enough writer to be able to write a “How To” book.  The 5-hour DVD set that Eunice and I have for sale of our presentation at the 1990 Stockman Grass Farmer Grazing Conference is quite complete as far as teaching my Stockmanship methods though it is far from being a professional product.  However, at this time it is the only thing available.

If   you have watched our video or attended one of our schools . . . .

If   you have truly changed your basic attitude about livestock as I have suggested. . . .

If   you will look to your animals to see if your position is right or wrong. . . .

If   you will take responsibility for what the animal does. . . .

Then   you will be able to continue learning on your own.

Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado Fire Relief

Posted March 20th, 2017 — Filed in Miscellaneous

Most of you reading this have heard (or experienced) the massive fires earlier this month. Several people have asked about ways they might contribute. Here are just a few links that you can use.

Low-stress Livestock Handling Clinic

Posted March 20th, 2017 — Filed in Stockmanship

An Introductory and Intermediate-Level Clinic

When: April 27 & 28, 2017
Where: K Barr C Ranch. Burbank, Oklahoma.
Instructors: Dawn Hnatow and Whit Hibbard
Details and registration: dawnhnatow@me.com
Fee: $425/person includes lunch both days

Low-stress livestock handling has been shown to improve performance (i.e., weight gain, conception rates, milk yield, immune function and carcass quality), as well as efficiency, safety, animal welfare, and quality of life, all with no additional inputs!

This clinic will focus on answering three basic questions: (a) What is low-stress livestock handling?, (b) Why is it important?, and (c) How do we do it? It will cover the fundamentals (including mindset, attitude, “reading,” “working” and “preparing” animals), principles, techniques, and practical applications (including receiving, driving, gathering, weaning, riding for health, corral work, chute work, scale loading, and loading out).

Two Livestock Marketing and Proper Stockmanship Schools Confirmed

Posted February 20th, 2017 — Filed in Calendar

We have two Bud Williams Livestock Marketing and Proper Stockmanship schools confirmed and several more very close to being set up for the summer of 2017!

First we will put on a Livestock Marketing and Proper Stockmanship School April 3-6, 2017 in Madison, FL. Read more here:

handnhandlivestocksolutions.com/calendar/madison-fl-apr-2017/

Next we will be in Edinburg, VA for another Livestock Marketing and Proper Stockmanship School June 7-10, 2017. Read more here:

handnhandlivestocksolutions.com/calendar/edinburg-va-june-2017/

Additional schools we are putting the final touches on include Pendleton, Oregon this summer and Southern Alberta and Melfort, Saskatchewan in October.

Let us know if you have any questions about any of our schools or if you’d like us to bring a school to your area.

Best,
Tina and Richard of Hand ‘n Hand Livestock Solutions

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