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.

“Settling” a Saddle Horse

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!”

Settling Livestock

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.

Good Visit with Stockmanship Friends!

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.

Weaning Results

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!

Steps Needed to Successfully Wean and Receive New Cattle

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.


Our New Stockmanship Video is Finally Available

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
4. Sorting
5. Pastures
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.

Starting a 6-year old Bronc

Posted January 18th, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship

Another old piece of correspondence that I found while packing to move to Missouri.  This is my answer to a student in 1995.

“Bud would not hesitate to take in 6-year old “broncs”  to break when he was your age as long as he had work for them.  Bud keeps saying that he isn’t going to get involved in horse or dog training, but being the kind of “Good Joe” that he is we always try to help what we can.  I have some video of Bud working three different horses that I’ll send to  you.  He talks on it and pretty well explains what he is doing, and why.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of getting the horse out of the corral and going someplace as soon as possible.  A horse that is frightened will seldom buck, he will shy or try to run instead.  If you have taught him to “give his head” and turn before you get on him, which takes about 20 minutes, it is not hard to bring him under control.  A horse that is mad will buck.  Too much fooling around in the corral makes a horse cranky pretty soon.

If you can get out in the country and put some miles (and I do mean MILES on horses of this age) on him while keeping his attention on you all the time you shouldn’t have any trouble.  When I say “keep his mind on you” I mean constantly telling him which side of the rock you want him to go on, ride him straight toward a bush or fork in the trail and take the opposite way than the one he prefers, ride him towards another horse then turn and ride him away from it.  Anytime he indicates that he wants to go a certain way, you take him the other way.

When we first went to the . . . . Ranch, they had a horse that  . . . . had been riding for several years.  He was always bad to shy and he asked Bud what he could do to break him of it.  Bud said “Let Eunice ride him for a while.”  All I did was keep him busy.  I never let him go to sleep and plod along with the other horses.  I constantly turned him off the trail and around this bush or that, always keeping my eye on his ears.  If they started cocking forward I would do something to distract him, maybe grab the horn and throw all of my weight in one stirrup, or slap him on the neck.   If he was really looking at something we took the time to ride up to, and around it until he wasn’t interested anymore.  I don’t think he ever shied with me, and within a month he never shied with anyone.

This is the same thing you need to do with a young horse.  I feel safer riding a colt that Bud has only worked with for three days than most broke horses.  Hope this helps.”

I have often tried to get Bud to let me make the “horse tape” available to the public.  He has never wanted to do this.  Some of you will remember my sparring with him about this in some of our schools.  The modern way of training a young horse is so different from the way that Bud does it that he didn’t want to start a confrontation.  Bud and I have always been concerned with the number of our friends and acquaintances who have been injured with a horse.  Some of these horses had been ridden for several years and in my opinion, they still just weren’t safe to ride.

I have never been hurt by a horse, and I’ve always rode horses that I really had no business being on.  I had never ridden at all when Bud and I got married.  We leased a ranch in Northern California for a while, and to make some extra money Bud would start colts for people, or he would buy an unbroke colt, then sell it when it got to going good.  I’ve never had any trouble with a colt that Bud had ridden for 3-days as long as I did what he told me to do.  In the heat of battle I remember telling him “You don’t care about me, you just don’t want me to spoil your darned old horse.”  Bud said “If you don’t spoil my darned old horse, you won’t get hurt!”  As much as I hated to admit it, he was right.

On-going Dog Correspondence (more added 4/5/2012)

Posted April 5th, 2012 — Filed in Stockdogs, Stockmanship

To: Eunice@stockmanship.com Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 2:33 PM

Good morning Bud and Eunice & nbsp; &n bsp;  . . . . . I have been using the dvds that i have got from you to handle my cattle. It works so well that my cows walk every where they go now and will stay in the corral for hours with gate open chewing cud or laying down. I have worked with three different groups of cattle and they all handle the same. But i took me twenty to forty hours per group to get them this way. I am wondering if this is normal amount time to settle them for a first timer. Because i want to go to Alaska to gather cattle or maybe start a ranch there some day. I am working with the  . . . .   ranch . . . . to gather 150 head . They have not been handled in 25 years and the island is 33.000 acres. I heard you have done this before and if the handling was the same on wild cattle that had gone feral. I also started working my border collie pups on the cattle , once i could handle them to help keep them bunched. But now their getting bigger with more bite I want the dogs to work on their own but the cattle don’t like the amount of pressure they put on them. But i am trying to built confident in my pups to bite , only when they need to with out making a trial dog. I was wondering if going to . . . .  was getting in over my head or what i would need to do to make this happen to prepare my self and the dogs. & nbsp; &n bsp; &nb sp; &nbs p; & nbsp; &n bsp; I would be every grateful for any expertise that you would be willing to share. Thanks for time  *************************

Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 5:36 PM

The length of time it takes to work animals will be determined by the skill of the person doing it more than where the animals are at.   This worked with reindeer in Alaska where there were no fences and the area was 5 million acres or actually all of North West Alaska that the deer wanted to use.  It worked on the cattle on the eastern end of Umnak Island, Alaska  which had at least (more…)

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