Wild Horse Gather

Posted February 23rd, 2015 — Filed in Stockmanship

Hi Eunice,
I thought you’d be interested in the following email (pasted below) that I just received from the new wildlife biologist at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. He wants to stop using a helicopter to do periodic park-wide roundups of the wild horses for culling and only use low-stress livestock handling for more frequent culling of smaller bands. To that end he had me out to do an introductory clinic for he and his staff and they’ve taken it from there.

Whit Hibbard – Montana
___________

Hey Whit,
I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that I captured a band of eight horses on February 13th using LSLH techniques on foot to herd them into our corral facilities. It was a great experience.

___________

Glad to hear that Bud’s teachings are spreading in the right direction. Bud & I worked with Whit at the Big-Bend National Park in 2007 to teach how to gather the trespass animals who crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico. Some people already seem to think that Bud didn’t use or approve the use of horses, which isn’t the case at all, so I’m going to comment on the fact that Whit’s friend gathered these horses on foot. By working on foot, a person isn’t tempted to try to out-run their mistakes which will only make matters worse. There is no reason you can’t do the same horse back or in a helicopter.

Eunice Williams – Missouri

Photos from Eureka, CA Marketing and Stockmanship School

Posted February 18th, 2015 — Filed in Calendar, Marketing, Stockmanship

Richard and I were so happy to have Mom join us for our recent trip to California to put on a Marketing and Stockmanship school in Eureka. Mom, Dad and I lived in that area for my life before I left for college, and it was great to visit some places we had lived and visit with folks we had known back then. Here are the two group pictures, and click here for more photos from the school and our trip.

–Tina Williams

Daily Reading

Posted February 3rd, 2015 — Filed in Stockmanship, Testimonials

From: Broken Horn Ranch Ministries Campbell
Date: January 27, 2015 at 10:19:48 PM CST
Subject: Daily Reading-1-28-15–Bud Williams

At the end of one school year, I asked my Animal Science class what their favorite lab was that semester.  We had preg checked cattle, learned how to artificially inseminate cattle, and handle straws.  We’d done DNA precipitation labs, dissected ruminant digestive systems, administered vaccinations, and wormed critters, as well.  We had done about 18 different labs, most of which included a trip somewhere or at least some good old fashioned hands-on learning (a hallmark of Agricultural Education, I might add).  Because of the nature of all of those labs, some of which made me realize why I had become a teacher, I had some expectations as to which ones might have been their favorites.

I was wrong.  Overwhelmingly, the students picked the lab where we learned how to move cattle using nothing but a read on what the animal was telling the student.  It was very simple, as a matter of fact.  I simply showed students how to move a steer around a pen at a walk, back up to a trot, back down to a walk, and then to a stop.  They then had to turn him and move him the other direction and do the same thing going that way.  The clincher was that they had to do it without saying a word or using any tools.  They had to use the animal’s actions and nothing more.  To finish their assessment, each student had to move two steers around the same pen, peel one off through a gate and keep the other one moving.  Most students mastered it, but not very many on the first try.

I think the reason those kids liked that lab was that it gave them a sense of accomplishment and understanding.  They could see the immediate reward of their learning in a way that made them feel a sense of communication with another living being.  More than just that, though, they achieved that without yelling, moving fast, or using tools.  They did it quietly and subtly, using intelligence and knowledge.

A lot of what I taught kids came third hand from Bud Williams, a stockman who truly lived low-stress livestock handling.  He never wanted his critters to look at him as a predator.  He simply wanted to take the stress off of an animal, read the animal, and get the animal to believe what Bud wanted was what she really wanted.  Gary Marshall was the first one who told me about Bud Williams, and I was a believer off the bat.  He’d gone to one of Bud’s clinics, and for a cowman who had been around cattle his whole life to sing an old man’s praises the way Gary did, Bud Williams must have truly had it figured out.

Keeping it simple seemed to be Bud Williams’ mantra.  Things shouldn’t take too long if you’re doing them right, and if you’re thinking the right way, the livestock will be plumb cooperative.  Are there those cows whose mothers are just stupid?  You bet, but for the most part, if cattle are simply respected and shown that the right way is the best way, they’ll generally go that route, and for Bud, that was what was most important.

Jesus treats us the same.  When we begin to think his way instead of our own, we begin to have life.  It isn’t always easy; as a matter of fact, it probably seldom is.  However, it’s good, and that’s way better than easy.  If we submit to Jesus, he can get one of us peeled off through a gate and the other one going on by without a stick, a paddle, a fit, or anything else.  That’s way better than the alternative.

Jesus loves us, and he wants to work in harmony with us, not against us.  Proverbs 3 tells us, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your path.”  If we just follow him, Jesus will direct us down the right trail.  If we fail to acknowledge God and his role in our lives, the wreck is on.  He knows how to guide us, but we’ve still got to listen.  We don’t want to be like the cow whose mother is stupid.  She’s going to town, and that ain’t necessarily a good thing.  Trust God, and follow him.  It will all fall into place after that.

God Bless,

 

I Recommend Hand ‘n Hand Livestock Solutions

Posted February 2nd, 2015 — Filed in About Schools, Calendar, Marketing, Stockmanship

I’m happy to recommend the Stockmanship and Marketing schools Tina, our daughter, and her husband, Richard McConnell are now putting on.

Visit their webpage at Hand ‘n Hand Livestock Solutions

Mothering Cattle

Posted January 14th, 2015 — Filed in Stockmanship

One of the cattle forums I monitor had a discussion about ear tagging calves at birth. Many of the contributors were adamant that you HAD to do this in order to know which calf belonged to which cow which prompted my reply …

This is another case of technology dumbing us down. Mothering up cattle is a skill that, from the sounds of the comments, is well on the way to being lost. We were at a large ranch in Texas a few years ago where Bud had spent the week working with the crew. The last day they gathered a very difficult pasture. The manager wanted 100 pairs sorted out of about 800 head to send to another ranch. Bud was able to do this quite easily, out in the pasture and sending the cuts through a gate into another pasture. Every one of the 15 or so cowboys who were there agreed there were no mis-matched pairs in his cut.

When we were working at the feedlot in Canada, the owner asked Bud to bring in a certain pair. We never worked with his cowherd and weren’t familiar with the individual animals. When Bud brought the cow and calf in the owner said “You have the wrong calf. The ear tags don’t match.” Bud said “I don’t know about the ear tags, but this is her calf.” And it was …

Then I got this message on my personal e-mail …

Thanks for all the input on Pharo’s forum! I was wondering how Bud paired up pairs? I’m just going to admit that my mind is blank on how you pair up pairs could you explain or is it on your videos that Terry ordered haven’t got clear thru them yet!

Hi Jerry, There isn’t anything specific about teaching you to pair up cattle in the video. This is something you need to observe when you are around your cattle. Pay attention and watch the interaction between the cow and her calf. Drive them a little ways and notice how they act towards each other in various circumstances.

It is very common practice to pair up cattle after driving cows and calves in big country. Even though the calf “met with its mother” on the drive, often it is disoriented when the herd gets to its destination and it will go back to where it nursed last. We were working with a ranch in New Mexico, driving about 700 head of cattle to their summer range. We went through several gates and had one particularly difficult creek to cross. It had very high banks and the trail down into it turned back and had a sharp slant to the bottom. They said the cows were no trouble, but the calves would miss the trail then run back and forth along the bank. They said it often took them an hour or more to get the calves across. We showed them how to start and drive the herd properly. When we got to the bad creek crossing the cows took their calves across with no problem. When we got to the area where they wanted to leave them, the owner left us and started pairing out the herd. I said “Bud, what is he doing?” Bud said “He’s making sure they are mothered up.” I said “I remember, we used to do that at Lone Pine, didn’t we?” About that time the owner came back and said “This is pretty foolish, they are already mothered up.”

This is kind of a long-winded reply but it explains why it is sometimes necessary to be able to know which calf belongs to which cow, but more importantly how important it is to learn how to move cattle long distances without mis-mothering them in the process.

Information From Our Videos

Posted December 5th, 2014 — Filed in Marketing, Stockmanship, Testimonials

From a friend in Iowa:    We have just recently gotten back into some calves and so far things are going well. We’ve been watching Yours and Buds video a lot lately and it never ceases to amaze us of the new things that we pick up on each time we watch the same video. Truly astounding that one can just over look things that they perceive as not pertaining to them. There is just so much information in there and each time we watch we are at a different level of learning and doing different things at the time. You both just keep on helping us, what awesome friends you have been.

I have often told people “You can watch our videos ten times and pick up new and valuable information each time you view them.”  Eunice – Springfield, MO

Dust and Exercise

Posted December 2nd, 2014 — Filed in Stockmanship

Question:    Here in SW Nebraska, we have had a very dry fall and winter so far coupled with some really warm days along with some wind.  This is not particularly unusual for us, but it does create a high level of health challenges in our feedlot setting.  On the one hand, the calves need to be exercised and worked with, but on the other hand the dust often just billows up around them.  On windy, low-humidity days, the whole yard can be quite dusty.  We often water down the pens for new incoming calves.  We see this as necessary but it is time-consuming and requires extra labor to get the job done (we are not equipped with big-guns and under-ground pressurized waterlines like some of the big yards). Putting down bedding or strawing the pens helps but doesn’t eliminate the whole problem, plus it does get expensive.  Those of you who have grass traps and grassy areas to exercise cattle have an advantage over those of us who don’t have that privilege.  So far, we just do the best we can with what we have to work with.  Any advice other than changing locations?

Answer:    I’ve heard Bud discuss this many times and he always figured the mental and physical benefits that “correctly exercising” the cattle outweighed the negative of inhaling the dust. In fact, getting them moving encourages coughing which helps to clear the lungs.

More on Placing Livestock

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.
Eunice

Rushing to Feed

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

Mixing Groups of Heifers

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.

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