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.