Posted November 2nd, 2014 — Filed in Stockmanship
I have come to the conclusion that most livestock don’t feel safe in their home pastures, no matter where they live, which is why, when Bud moved them,they were convinced that the place he left them was safe and the place they wanted to be. The increase in production and the decrease in illness bolsters my feelings on this. The fact that it makes the stock easier to handle and utilize your pastures better is frosting on the cake. Bud felt that the modern way of moving animals with feed has created neurotic cows that instead of the cow taking stress off of her calf, actually puts stress on it. In our early ranching days you NEVER had a sick calf while it was on the cow. Even those old wild cows that were gathered rough, handled rough in the corral and were turned back out would take their calves back home and show her calf that she was able to get her baby away from the bad situation and that they didn’t have anything more to worry about.
Many times we have left cattle and sheep (and reindeer) on a part of the pasture with rank grass where they walked over lush grass to go to water but would still go back to the area where Bud left them, or be content to stay in a pen out in the hot sun with the gate open for 3-hours before finally drifting out. Some of these instances are on our website www.stockmanship.com. Click on the “Herding” button. When we were in Canada we were involved with a cow herd that summered in the “bush” in Northern Alberta. The cattle up there want to come home to the hay in the corral at the first frost. The area where we had our cattle was a path for about 20,000 head on their way home. The guy we were working for wanted to keep his cattle there for another month so we saved a fenced pasture in the area to put his cattle in in the fall. The only problem was it was a very dry year and all of the water in that pasture had dried up. These were cattle that Bud and I had taken care of all summer. We would drive them to a new area a couple of times a week and they always stayed together. Anyway, when the neighbors cattle started their migration, we placed our cattle in the saved pasture, but had to leave the gate open so they could water at a little lake about a half mile from the pasture where we left them. When it was time to take these cattle home they were still going back to the pasture where we left them. Not one picked up with the cattle migrating to their home corrals, even though every other year they had always came home with the other cattle.
Posted October 31st, 2014 — Filed in Stockmanship
Rushing to feed is mainly just a bad habit that should not be tolerated since this keeps the cattle stressed and focusing on when someone is going to change paddocks instead of grazing right up to the moment you tell them to move. This also encourages the cow to forget about her calf. Most people can correct this behavior in three or four pasture moves. When the cattle come to the gate too fast, or come to the gate without their calf with them, leave the gate closed and drive them away. You don’t have to take them very far, just until they relax, then go back to the gate and try again. The first time will probably take you a half hour or so, but by the third or fourth move when you change paddocks they will first go get their calf, then quietly walk through the gate and start grazing immediately instead of rushing to another part of the pasture. —- Eunice
Can you explain “drive them away”? I’m thinking this is more of a side to side movement than a “driving cattle” as is conventionally understood? —- T.D.
Yes, move towards the cows in a zig-zag pattern. You must get closer each pass, even if it’s only six inches or so. It does more harm than good to go back and forth in the same spot. It is important to watch the movement of the cattle you are influencing. As you walk to the right you will tend to turn the animal to the left. As soon as you see this happening you must turn back to straighten it out. Don’t try to go from one side of the herd to the other, just work back and forth about 4 or 5 steps each way until you get some straight movement going away, then you can widen out the area you are working to feed other cattle to this movement. Moving back and forth puts a lot of pressure on animals to move away, but it is totally non-threatening so they are willing to turn their back to you to move off. This is a pretty big subject to try to answer in an e-mail. The $125 Stockmanship DVD set we sell explains it very well with diagrams and video.
Bud often said if he had a choice of either teaching a person the mechanics of how he works livestock, or convince them that it could be done, they would be better off if they believed it could be done – they would be able to figure out a way to do it. —- Eunice
Posted April 24th, 2014 — Filed in Stockmanship
Question: . . . . We have three pens of calves, 100 head, any where from 450-600 lb. heifers. We have had them all about the same length of time 3-4 weeks. We have taken them for a couple walks in the 115 acre pasture. The question is, can we combine all the calves and take them all for a walk at the same time and then randomly divide them back into 3 pens? I heard some where they may develope pen mates? Is there any truth to that? Is there any harm in doing that? Would you guys ever do that?
Answer: The calves will definitely have pen mates. This is one of the reasons Bud was against having a sick pen because a sick calf certainly didn’t need the upheaval of being pulled away from his friends and put in with strangers. As far as asking if this will hurt healthy calves, I doubt if it will. Especially, if by doing it this way you will take them for a walk more often. If they are working well for you when you bring them back to the pens, they will probably stick together and end up in the same pen anyway.
Posted April 14th, 2014 — Filed in Horses, Stockmanship, Testimonials
Comment: . . . . I had my best (but aged) saddle horse shipped here (2,000 mile trip with stays at new barns etc) and when he arrived he was in a real funk- he was listless, wondering around the pasture and not really recognizing me or my wife and not paying attention when I called him. He was not really eating nor socializing properly with the other horses either. I thought about his condition a little while and that I wanted to change it. I have changed calves in a similar state many times but of course this is a horse. Thinking back to the innumerable times I had to, when this low stress stuff was new to me, think of cattle as horses, I decided to think of my horse as I do cattle then I could go to work. I put a rope on him, asked him to follow me, to turn left then right then backup then finally to stop and stand still. When his attention was more on me than his worries, I made him stand still (corrected him for wiggling etc) while he got a good brushing. I curried him for some time as he needed it and then, after he was standing still on his own and calm, let him go. He immediately joined up with the other horses, stood calmly near them, hiked up a hind leg and was calm as could be. Later he started grazing, but calmly now, not eating a bite then walking etc like before. The next day he was still tired but acting again like a normal horse. This experience made me think about proper handling-that it doesn’t just get the job done right, it doesn’t just produce great control- it really changes the animals in our charge. I think the change that proper handling produces is deeper than I understand and maybe like (Tom Dorrance I think) said, deeper than we can understand. If someone else out there has a horse shipped a long ways and it shows up stressed or if you work at a stable that receives horses, don’t just leave them alone, work them right. Now I have a happier horse, which makes a happier wife and thus a happier me, all just by taking his attention off his worries and troubles and on to me, then a pleasurable scratching and brushing.
Answer: It’s amazing how working with Bud’s principals cause people to be more sensitive to everything and everybody around them. It also teaches that you can do something about a problem even if you have no idea when you start. One of Bud’s favorite comments was “Do something, even if it’s wrong!”
Posted March 29th, 2014 — Filed in Herding, Stockmanship
Most people who are wanting to learn how to place animals in such a way that they will stay, put too much emphasis on “settling” them after they get there.
Please read “Question About Placing Animals” in Bud’s March 15, 2012 posting where he emphasizes the importance of driving them properly to get to that place. When you are near the spot you want them to stay, stop doing the things that drive the animals and start doing the things that slows or stops movement such as taking all of the pressure off of the back end, riding up along the side of the herd in the same direction they are going. You can get in front and ride in the same direction as the herd is moving, slowing as they will let you, but you must go fast enough that they don’t try to get past you (if you are checking up movement in wild cattle coming out of a corral, it might be pretty darn fast). It is important that the movement in the herd “dies a natural death.” You can stop their body from moving but that’s not the important thing. You must cause their mind to want to stop.
If you arrive at the place you want to leave them – and they still want to move, realize that you should have started the slowing process sooner. Continue on (you should know how far by the progress you are making at slowing the herd), make a proper turn and drift them back to where you want them.
You are not trying to physically put them anywhere, you are working on their mind so they want to be there. This is why it is counter-productive to turn back animals that drift away. No matter how gently you do it, in its mind you have stopped it from going where it wants to go. You can get in front of the animal(s) and ride in the same direction it is going until it decides on its own that it wants to go back to the others.
Pull off and watch for a while. Even if they are lying down or quietly grazing, but they are all pretty much headed in the same direction, they are telling you that there is still “movement” in the herd and they probably won’t stay. If they are moving or lying in all directions it is a good sign that the movement in the herd has dissipated and they will probably stay there.
Posted February 24th, 2014 — Filed in Stockmanship
I’ve spent the last few days reading the material Whit Hibbard has on his www.stockmanshipjournal.com website. He has really done a good job of documenting Bud’s Stockmanship methods. If you are a serious student of Bud’s livestock handling methods or just interested in some of the stories Bud told I think you will find the site well worth the money.
Posted November 3rd, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship
I just got back from a trip to Texas where I visited with Candi Cowden and Dawn Hnatow. Candi has just purchased a ranch a couple of hours NE of Dallas and plans on hosting Stockmanship Schools there in the future and asked if I would be willing to help them.
Bud and I went to Candi’s Crane, TX ranch for the first time in 1990. She has hosted several Stockmanship Schools in Midland, TX (one of which is the basis for the Stockmanship-Plus video) and has attended several more. She is not only a good friend, but an excellent Stockmanship student. Dawn Hnatow is partnering with her on this venture. Dawn is well qualified to teach Stockmanship. She worked with Bud for nearly all of the eleven years we were in Alberta as well as a couple of years after we moved to Texas.
I know there are many people teaching Bud’s methods. I haven’t seen any of their presentations so I don’t recommend any but Hand ‘n Hand Livestock Solutions (Richard McConnell and our daughter, Tina) but I am grateful for every one of them. There can’t be too many people preaching the gospel of Good Stockmanship.
Posted October 15th, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship, Testimonials
Had to send you a thank you note after our last trip across the scale.
Our best group of calves (525 head) gained over 2.6# per head per day for the first 20 days after weaning. We’re averaging right at 2#/d on 2,000 head.
I’m in a little trouble with my manager because we’re going to be significantly over our contract weight!
I hope you’re well. Thanks again for all you do!
Posted March 12th, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship
Tina & Richard McConnell have posted a good reminder of the steps needed to successfully wean and receive new cattle on their blog http://handnhandlivestocksolutions.com/blog/ Click on the “Comments” button at the end of the message for my 2-cents worth.
Posted February 24th, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship
Over the years, many of our Stockmanship Students have asked us to up-date the Stockmanship video that we have had for sale since 1990 and include the videos of people working livestock that we used in our schools. Bud and I had started work on this before his death in November of 2012. I have since completed this project.
This will not be for the casual student. The old video that I took of his presentation at the 1990 Stockman Grass Farmer Grazing Conference will take care of that. This is for the serious student and for my peace of mind that we’ve done everything that we can to insure that as much of Bud’s knowledge as possible won’t be lost.
I am putting absolutely every bit of video of any value that I have on it. The basis is a video of a 2-day Stockmanship School that we put on in Midland, Texas in May of 1996. It will be broken up into segments like we did at the schools.
1. One Animal
2. Pulling Pens
3. Chutes and Alleys
6. Weaning and Receiving New Animals
In addition to each “school segment” I’ve added all of the newer video clips that we showed in later schools. Bud had narrated most of these clips. The ones that he hadn’t, I’ve been able to go over some audio tapes I have of some of the later schools and to patch that audio onto them.
This video is over 18 hours long (over 200GB) and is on an external hard-drive that will connect to your computer by a USB cord. The price is $750.00.
This price includes access to our Subscription Website (a $200.00 value). This site has over 1,000 postings of Bud’s thoughts on various Stockmanship and Marketing subjects as well as his answers to questions from subscribers.
I’m also willing to answer any subscriber questions that I can.