Driving Cattle and Sheep in the Brush

Posted July 30th, 2015 — Filed in Stockmanship

Question:  Last year I took a course on low stress stockman ship from a mutual friend of ours: Tim Westfall. It was mostly theoretical, so I felt I needed an example, so I brought him along as I moved my flock of sheep and herd of cattle to the mountains. I’m in Baja California, Mexico; so most of our range is brush, thick chaparral. As we started moving my animals through the brush, I asked Tim what to do, so he mentioned moving in straight lines perpendicular to the movement of the herd. I remembered from the course he had given before all this techniques which worked great in open areas, but in mountainous brush country you can’t move in straight lines. I asked Tim what options did we have but he couldn’t help, he said it was very hard country. Then he said you might be the only person I could talk to, since you and Bud started out of the California brush. I hope you can give me some advice or refer me to someone with similar terrain.

Answer:   It is no different working livestock in the brush than it is in open country.  Your “straight lines” don’t have to be perfect, just don’t turn and follow behind the stock.  When gathering livestock in the brush with several people just have them ride across until they either don’t see any more animals or until they see the other person, then  ride back at an angle a hundred feet or so ahead.   From the start work at an angle that will aim the animals you are influencing toward the gate (or the way you want them to go), don’t try to bunch them up in rough country before you start driving them.  Don’t try to keep them out of the brush, just work at the proper angle to keep them  headed in the right direction.  When you drive stock this way, they won’t try to cut back.  We’d often have a pasture nearly gathered before we even saw any animals, though we could hear them moving out ahead of us.

You could probably learn a lot from Bud’s Stockmanship DVD set ($200 US funds).

Don’t hesitate to write again if you have a specific problem.

Eunice

Cattle Stall in the Chute

Posted July 22nd, 2015 — Filed in Stockmanship

This is part of a posting on another site I monitor along with my response. I thought it might be of interest to you folks.

“We are committed to low stress handling and have watched the Bud Williams stock handling videos and are trying to learn how to handle our animals correctly.

This weekend when we worked our cattle, we had some problems in the chute – a few of our yearling heifers would just stop and we couldn’t get them moving down the chute. Also, when we were done with them in the head catch, some would just stand there and not move out and wouldn’t budge … “

Here are a few more things to consider about your cattle stopping in the chute.
It is much better to bring each draft of cattle from a pen instead of from the alley since each time you go down to get more cattle you really jam the cattle before you finally get some to go by you. But even if you are taking them from the alley, try to have quite a distance to bring them to the Bud Box. Bring them at a trot. The movement you are creating is necessary for then to have the movement they need to go up the chute. Don’t bring any more cattle than will fill the single file chute. If you brought too many – open the gate and let the excess go back to the bunch. I’ve seen many videos of people working a Bud Box and very few do it correctly. Bud was amazed that the cattle worked as well as they did even when people got behind them and pushed them in. The proper way is to pressure them against the back of the pen. This causes them to want to break back (most people don’t have any problem getting cattle to break back when they are trying to drive them). Your position very near the opening to the single file chute will pull them around you because they want to be able to keep their eye on you as they go by. All of the people and activity must be on the “inside” of this circle. Don’t allow anyone to be on the other side of the single file chute. It’s probably a good idea to have a back-up gate to hold one animal next to the chute. Any more just interferes with the flow. As soon as this animal goes into the squeeze you can go back and move the others up, but other wise, don’t let anyone bother the cattle in the chute. It is important that the animal’s mind is wanting to go forward. This is what makes it easy to get movement into and out of the chute. If they are “forced in” their mind is wanting to go back even if you are able to make them go forward. I have videos of us putting cattle through the chute at the Canadian feedlot where we spent quite a lot of time. We were testing for export and they were gong though at the rate of over 100 per hour. The guy who was loading the Bud Box wasn’t paying attention on one draft and they started back out. He slammed the gate on about five of them and got them into the single file chute. They had to fight these five all the way to the squeeze and even had trouble getting them to leave the squeeze. As soon as these five went through and they started bringing the cattle properly the cattle resumed moving well.

Schools coming up in North Dakota and Nebraska

Posted July 15th, 2015 — Filed in Calendar

Richard McConnell and Tina Williams of Hand ‘n Hand Livestock Solutions will be putting on a Bud Williams Livestock Marketing and Proper Stockmanship School in Dickinson, ND, August 18-20 and another in Ogallala, NE, August 24-26.

Read more about the schools on the website or email or call for more information.

417-327-6500
richard@handnhandlivestocksolutions.com

Dog Information Testimonial

Posted July 7th, 2015 — Filed in Stockdogs, Testimonials

Please find enclosed a check for $200 for the 2 hour Starting a Colt DVD set. If it helps my horses as much as the Stockdog handling information on your website has helped my dogs it will be worth every penny. Pushing the dogs around the cattle, changing directions and letting the dogs learn how to work the cattle without me trying to control their every move has helped my dogs a bunch. They have gotten better in 3 days than they ever were in 3 months of prior training methods. Dog are happier and more relaxed and so are the cattle. Thanks …
Nebraska