New Farm Journal Wildfire Fund Will Double Your Donation

Posted April 24th, 2017 — Filed in Miscellaneous

Please join me in sending a donation for the ranchers who were impacted by the devastating wildfires last March.

Click on the link below to find out more about the New Farm Journal Fund which will double your donation.


Puppy Manners

Posted March 30th, 2017 — Filed in Stockdogs

Question:  The situation is that we have a 4 month old border collie puppy that we got 2 months ago. We also have an 8 year old lab cross family dog. The older dog is a companion animal and keeps the coyotes and bears away. That is what we hope for in the younger dog too, besides being our 10 year old son’s dog. The pup is totally keyed into the older dog and it is very difficult to take them on walks without constant pulling on the leash. If I take them separately, the pup stays tuned into me and it goes nicely. However, it’s not getting any better when I try to take them on a walk together.  The older dog can go on a leash, but is used to running along on loose voice commands. I realize that I may have to change her habits in order to walk them together.  Do you have any suggestions or ideas on what I need to be aimed at to help this young dog to be tuned into us, rather than the other dog?

Answer: I’d take your pup out on a long line with your older dog loose when you go on a walk.   A 20′ length of 1/4″ nylon cord works well.  You can probably drop your end and  let the pup drag it. Every so often call the pup to you.  Your pup needs to be solid on coming to you when you call it anyway and this is a great exercise for that.  At first you will reel him in fairly gently, with lots of praise when he gets to you. But soon, if he ignores you, jerk hard enough to up-end him, say COME, COME angrily as you roughly reel him in, with you backing up all the time.  When he gets to you change your tone to praise and tell him what a good boy he is.  Then say OK (or another release word) and let him have the length of the line again to wander and play with your other dog as you go for your walk.  Since your Lab will probably stay fairly close to you the pup won’t be at the end of the line and pulling even if you are holding on to the end.  Soon, the pup will stay tuned to you, even when he is interested in something else just in case you call him.

I’d also walk the puppy alone on leash and teach him not to pull.  I’m not into gimmick collars, harnesses, etc., just a regular flat collar.  Be sure it is tight enough that you can barely slip 2 fingers between dog and collar.  NEVER hold pressure with the leash on the pup’s collar, but tug and slack.  All dogs love to lay into pressure and pull, so never let them feel steady pressure to pull against.  I’ve had some dogs that were especially stubborn about this so I would carry a switch and tap them on the rear or back legs when they insisted on pulling.


Proper Stockmanship

Posted March 29th, 2017 — Filed in Stockmanship

While doing some spring cleaning I ran across this item Bud wrote many years ago.

My method of working livestock consists of learning to “read” what the animal is telling you and change your position so that she wants to go where you want her to go.  It is important that the animals do not consider you a threat to them. People have written articles about my Stockmanship methods, but if they use predator/prey examples you can be sure that they do not understand the concept at all. The last thing I want my animals to do is to think of me as a predator. My goal is not only to work livestock with very little stress but also to take existing stress off of them. By handling the animals this way, you will be able to get the job done more quickly, efficiently and with less cost than by the traditional methods. Some of the other by-products are increased performance and reduced health problems in the animals, as well as still being on speaking terms with the family after a day of working livestock together.  Do not make the mistake of thinking that I “baby” animals.  I probably pressure livestock more than most people.  The difference is that I pressure them how and where they want to be pressured.

The proper positioning and pressure application when moving cattle, sheep and other livestock is what makes them feel comfortable and willing to stay where you put them on the range. This same thing is what makes feedlot cattle gain better with less health problems or increase a dairy herd’s production. It is what makes a cow perceive you as a non-enemy so she isn’t “on the fight” if you need to handle her baby calf, or get overly upset when you wean. In other words, the techniques are the same when you are working any kind of livestock.  An elk or bison (or wild cow) will tell you that you are “close enough” when you are further away from her than a gentle cow or sheep will do, but she is telling you the same thing if you will only see it.

In order for you to learn to work livestock the way that I do, you must first change your attitude.  This will probably be the most difficult thing I will ask you to do.

OLD—I’m going to “MAKE” that animal do what I want.
NEW—I’m going to “LET” that animal do what I want.

OLD—That stupid  (#%$&, miserable, ornery, wild, hateful . . .) cow  (calf, bull, sheep, pig, goat, horse . . .) broke back  (missed the gate, charged me, got sick, died . . .)
NEW—What did I do to cause the animal to react that way?

The control we can have over animals is amazing.  Thirty years ago I was considered pretty good at handling problem livestock.  Knowing what I do today I wonder how I even held down a job.  To me, the exciting thing is knowing that I have only scratched the surface.  I am learning and improving every day.  You can too.

When trying to control animals the old way, you are giving up any chance of getting the kind of control I am talking about.  Forget all of your excuses:
She is afraid of the gate.
She remembers getting hurt in the chute.
She has never been through the chute before.
Etc., etc., etc.

Believe that she is responding to what you are doing right at this moment!
I would like to talk to you about some of the things I have learned about handling livestock.  The methods I use have proven themselves with reindeer, elk, buffalo, camels, fallow deer, horses, hogs, sheep, goats and poultry, as well as with beef and dairy cattle.  While my method of stockmanship is quite simple, it is very difficult for people to learn because it often goes against human behavior.  Remember, as a stockman, you are supposed to be the smart one.  It is up to you to change to accommodate the animal.

I have had the good fortune to observe people working livestock from northern Alaska and Canada to Central America, from Oregon and California in the west to Kentucky in the east.  Everyone used the same basic principle.  That is, to go out and chase the animals from where they were, to where the people wanted them to go.  By now, you probably realize that I don’t think that is the best way to work animals.  The traditional method of driving livestock consists of trying to frighten the animal away from the person, hopefully in the direction the person wants it to go.  Using fear and force to move animals is very stressful to them.  My method takes the animal’s natural behavior into consideration, but makes us change our natural behavior.

There are certain things animals want to do as long as they are in a normal mental state.
1. They want to see what is pressuring them.
2. They want to move in the direction they are headed.  This may seem obvious to you, but if this is the
case, why would you move behind an animal to make it go when moving into the animal’s blind spot
will cause it to turn to see you?
3. They want to follow other animals.
4. They have very little patience.

Proper position on your part and nothing more is enough pressure to allow you to move livestock any place they are physically able to go.  By you being in this position, the animals will want to move in the desired direction.  Excessive pressure will put the animals into a panic condition where none of these things apply.

Loud noise that is directed to the animal is almost always excessive pressure, especially yelling, revving the motor on your 4-wheeler, etc.  It is not only stressful to the animals, but it is detrimental to your objective.  They are quite willing to accept general noise such as banging chutes and normal motor sounds.

As pressure is applied to move the animals, some of it must be released when they move.  Either by you stepping back, or by the fact that they moved ahead and that takes some of the pressure off.  Do not lose contact with the animal by releasing all of the pressure.  Constant pressure with no let up, or excessive pressure is what panics animals.

Do not apply pressure from behind an animal.  Now listen to what I said.  “Do not APPLY PRESSURE from behind.”  You can walk along behind livestock all day and not cause any problem as long as you aren’t pressuring them.  There is always a correct position.  This spot moves as the animal moves.  The angle you move in relation to the animal determines if you will maintain the proper position.  The speed you move is important, but not as important as the angle.

Read your animals.  They will tell you what your position should be.  Don’t try to anticipate what the animals will do as this will put you out of position and likely cause the very thing you are trying to prevent.   “Whatever you anticipate, you will create”.

Moving back and forth while getting closer to the animals will tend to cause them to move away from you.

Moving parallel to livestock in the same direction the animals are going will tend to slow the animals down.  This is true if you are at the front, the side or behind the herd.  This is very helpful if you are trying to settle animals that have too much movement.  It is very detrimental if you are driving a herd since you tend to kill the movement that you are trying to generate.

Moving parallel to livestock in the opposite direction (front to rear) will tend to speed them up.  Animals want to continue in the direction they are headed.  When they see you coming, they will try to hurry past you.

I am not a good enough writer to be able to write a “How To” book.  The 5-hour DVD set that Eunice and I have for sale of our presentation at the 1990 Stockman Grass Farmer Grazing Conference is quite complete as far as teaching my Stockmanship methods though it is far from being a professional product.  However, at this time it is the only thing available.

If   you have watched our video or attended one of our schools . . . .

If   you have truly changed your basic attitude about livestock as I have suggested. . . .

If   you will look to your animals to see if your position is right or wrong. . . .

If   you will take responsibility for what the animal does. . . .

Then   you will be able to continue learning on your own.

Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado Fire Relief

Posted March 20th, 2017 — Filed in Miscellaneous

Most of you reading this have heard (or experienced) the massive fires earlier this month. Several people have asked about ways they might contribute. Here are just a few links that you can use.

Low-stress Livestock Handling Clinic

Posted March 20th, 2017 — Filed in Stockmanship

An Introductory and Intermediate-Level Clinic

When: April 27 & 28, 2017
Where: K Barr C Ranch. Burbank, Oklahoma.
Instructors: Dawn Hnatow and Whit Hibbard
Details and registration:
Fee: $425/person includes lunch both days

Low-stress livestock handling has been shown to improve performance (i.e., weight gain, conception rates, milk yield, immune function and carcass quality), as well as efficiency, safety, animal welfare, and quality of life, all with no additional inputs!

This clinic will focus on answering three basic questions: (a) What is low-stress livestock handling?, (b) Why is it important?, and (c) How do we do it? It will cover the fundamentals (including mindset, attitude, “reading,” “working” and “preparing” animals), principles, techniques, and practical applications (including receiving, driving, gathering, weaning, riding for health, corral work, chute work, scale loading, and loading out).

Two Livestock Marketing and Proper Stockmanship Schools Confirmed

Posted February 20th, 2017 — Filed in Calendar

We have two Bud Williams Livestock Marketing and Proper Stockmanship schools confirmed and several more very close to being set up for the summer of 2017!

First we will put on a Livestock Marketing and Proper Stockmanship School April 3-6, 2017 in Madison, FL. Read more here:

Next we will be in Edinburg, VA for another Livestock Marketing and Proper Stockmanship School June 7-10, 2017. Read more here:

Additional schools we are putting the final touches on include Pendleton, Oregon this summer and Southern Alberta and Melfort, Saskatchewan in October.

Let us know if you have any questions about any of our schools or if you’d like us to bring a school to your area.

Tina and Richard of Hand ‘n Hand Livestock Solutions

Wally Olson Marketing School

Posted January 30th, 2017 — Filed in Calendar

March 14-17 in Claremore, Oklahoma

You can contact Wally at:

100 Year Old Sourdough – Q & A

Posted January 13th, 2017 — Filed in Miscellaneous

So far I’ve sent over 50 sourdough starters to people who have asked for them, many who haven’t had any experience baking with yeast or sourdough.  I encourage anyone to write if they have questions.  Since most of the questions are probably of interest to others I decided to post them here.
Q… Thank you very much for the starter, I received it yesterday.  I followed your directions and got things started right away.  Like I said, I am a novice at this at best.  I haven’t seen a whole lot of bubbling but will check it tonight after work and see how it is going.  I am wondering about a lot of things but was wondering if I have more questions, can I ask you?
When you say covered – do you mean with a cloth or a lid loosely on a jar?  You said you drilled a small hole in a plastic lid – very small or relatively small, to release gasses?  When you feed the sourdough – do you do approximately what you had us start with – or a smaller amount?  I currently have it starting in a quart jar and I see you use a pint.

A… First off, RELAX ,   this starter has been around for 100 years and isn’t likely to die unless you poison it (with soda, baking powder or self-rising flour), or get it too hot.
Look at the sourdough through the side of your glass jar.  If you see tiny bubbles in the dough, things are going well.  I’ve kept a plastic bag, just like the one I mailed to you on my counter for the past two weeks, just to see how it would do.  Yesterday I put a spoonful of this into fresh flour and water and it bubbled up wonderfully.
Yes, cover with a cloth or loose lid to keep it clean.  It doesn’t take a very large hole to let gasses escape
I try to keep about 1/2 cup for starter.  When you feed it, discard all but about 1/4 cup and replace with enough flour and water to make 1/2 cup.
I suggest you put the discarded starter in a little bowl.  Add a pinch of salt, a little sugar, and a dab of butter.  Stir in enough flour until you can handle it.  Knead it for a few minutes and place it in an oven-safe cereal bowl (or a tuna can or. . .).  Cover and let it raise for two or three hours and bake it.  You have now made a little loaf of bread!  This is a good way towards building your confidence and learning how long, under your conditions, you need to let your bread raise.
Q… I usually try to avoid wheat flour since I am gluten intolerant, but do you know if gluten-free flour, like Buckwheat, Quinoa, Sorghum, or Coconut would work for the feedings?

A… They should work OK.  You might keep a little starter going with regular flour then experiment with the others.  Let me know how it works out.

Q…I have made one batch of biscuits.  They really weren’t too bad!  I am wondering about how much they raised or rather didn’t raise.  I started them as per the recipe in a big crock bowl which I set on the back of our wood pellet stove top.  It is just barely warm there.  At first the dough grew fast and then didn’t change for the next 4-5 hours.  I finally just added the other ingredients and put them on a cookie sheet on top of my cook stove with the oven turned to 200 degrees.  They didn’t double in size but did get bigger.  When baking they did grow some more.  They had very nice texture and we thought it was a fairly strong sourdough taste.  Should I have kept the dough warmer to start with?

A…No, I don’t think you needed to keep them warmer, maybe just let them raise a little longer before baking.  I’ve had problems sometimes putting them in a “warm” spot, not realizing it was too warm.
Sourdough bread will not be as light as yeast bread.  You will get the most “growth” immediately after feeding or adding the final ingredients for your recipe.  Unlike yeast bread don’t “punch it down” halfway through the raise period.  As soon as you add the final ingredients, make up the loaf or cinnamon rolls or  . . . , let raise then bake.


Comment from Canada…I’m happy to report that your starter arrived tired and cold about a week ago.  It came to life quickly with a bit of TLC and I made this bread a couple of days ago.  I was interested to see if the taste of the bread was different from that made from the starter I have.  The answer is yes, a little.  The biggest difference I discovered happened overnight.  I made a couple of batches of bread (two loaves with your starter and two loaves with mine) before I went to bed last night.  When I am not going to be around to put it in the oven, (or if its to late) I just leave the bread pans covered in the garage (which is heated but cool) and let it sit overnight.  By morning is usually has risen a little, and I bring them back in the kitchen to finish rising and then bake.  This morning when I went out to retrieve the bread my loaves were within about an inch of the top of the pan and your loaves were just starting to hang over the edge!  So, your starter is pretty lively!  I had to flatten it out again and let it rise and they are in the oven now — looking pretty tasty.          So thank you Eunice.  I’m having fun with this.

Comment from Texas…The bread is wonderful. It has a very rich sourdough taste and a great texture. The whole family loves it. I gave my sister-in-law a start from it this weekend. I’ll do my best to keep the starter going and share it around.

Comment from Oregon…I just wanted to let you know the starter arrived in great shape and I fed it and cooked up a big batch of Pancakes with it yesterday for supper. Everyone loved them and our youngest son (23 YO) took 3 pancakes to work the next day for lunch because he liked them so much. I just wanted to thank you for your generosity.
Another Comment from Texas… Thanks so much for the starter.  We had to be out of town so oldest daughter got first use.  Her family loved the pancakes she made.  Tonight I get fresh bread.  Thanks for your efforts.
Comment from Minnesota…Thank you very much for the sour dough.  WOW, we really enjoyed the pancakes from your sourdough.  We used spealt instead of wheat flour and had blueberry and banana in them but they were the best I have ever had.  I also greatly enjoy the French bread and corn bread recipe’s.   Thank you so much.

100 Year Old Sourdough

Posted January 3rd, 2017 — Filed in Miscellaneous

I’ve been a sourdough cook for over 60 years.  In 1961, L. R. Douglas DVM gave me an especially flavorful starter that his mother brought to California from South Dakota in 1917.  Dr. Doug was one of the first people who encouraged Bud to teach his livestock handling methods to others.

This starter has been to the Aleutian Islands and above the Arctic Circle in Alaska with me as well as to Oregon, Texas, Missouri, Kentucky, Nebraska, Kansas and Alberta, Canada. It has set on my counter in a lovely ceramic jug, and it has spent many nights in a plastic bag sharing a sleeping bag with Bud and me.

Since sourdough is just a collection of wild yeasts and bacteria that feed on carbohydrates, it is common practice to add a little sugar to the starter.  As Bud and I got older, my sourdough spent more time in the refrigerator and less time at room temperature where it could “work.”  Consequently, when I needed it to wake up and raise the biscuits, it was necessary to keep it at room temperature and feed it for several days in advance.

About this time we started reading about Kit Pharo and his philosophy of developing cattle that will produce on your place with little or no inputs.  I decided to put to put his concept to work with my sourdough.  No more sugar!  It has to get along on just flour and water.  Now, as soon as it warms up to room temperature it is ready to GO.  When you mix your final product which will have a little sugar and other things that these little bugs really like in it, it out produces any sourdough I have ever seen.

In celebration of its Centennial Year, I’ll be glad to share this starter with anyone who is interested.  Just send your mailing address along with $3.00 for postage.


Stocker Loss

Posted December 11th, 2016 — Filed in Stockmanship, Testimonials

After reading this post on Kit Pharo’s list I received permission from Doug Ferguson to post it to our website.

I buy several thousand a year. Typically buying a load or two every couple weeks. Most of these calves are weaned on the truck and have a 6 to 16 hour ride to get here.

Years ago I used to only buy them locally and had a death loss around 3% and a pull rate near 35%. Today on the long haul cattle I have a death loss near 1.5% and pull rate under 10%.

For me the biggest thing was attending a Bud Williams stockmanship school. It really changed my results

I talk to many large feedlot operators and pharma reps. They tell me that death rates are rising and pull rates are too. They tell me that some are experiencing 3.5% to 5% death loss. Pull rates can be near 80%! So sad.

The feedlot boys blame these problems on the cow calf guy.

I think we have wonderful drugs today. If a calf is pulled and treated in a timely manner they bounce back very quickly. One thing I always do if I have to pull one is to give it a Probios bolus. If it is not running a temp I may skip giving it a dose of antibiotic and just give it the Probios and that does the trick. Sweet deal when you can treat one for 50 cents instead of $30.

I am wondering about vaccines right now. I have noticed that when I use some of these combos available today that is seems to drag the calves down a bit, and they back off feed a couple days and that’s when my problems start. I am currently experimenting with dropping the pasturella from my protocol. I have noticed so far on 300 head that they didn’t back off feed, despite being dehorned, castrated, vaccinated, and branded, and I have only pulled seven.

Some time back in this discussion group there was a topic of buying wild cows in sale barns. If I recall correctly someone talked to the sale barn vet and asked him if cattle were getting wilder. I recall that the vet thought it was because people don’t spend time with their animals like they used to. After attending the stockmanship school years ago I think he nailed it. One of the reasons I think the results are getting worse in the feedlot phase is because they don’t have the man power, the time, or the skill/knowledge to deal with “high risk” cattle. I have had truck drivers unload here. They tell me before any of the calves walk off “Watchout! These things are nuts” That same driver will be back in a couple months and load out the same calves. They are always amazed at how much the calves have settled down.

I remember very well the first time I met Bud. He asked me why I was there, and what I wanted to learn from him. I told him I wanted to learn all about this low stress handling thing. What he said next was key, “Stress!? Why do you want to stress them? Low stress is still stress” At that moment I had a paradigm shift. I used to be like everyone else and thought the answer to the health problems was in the science and technology, we needed better drugs. Now I think the answer is how do you greet those calves when they walk off the truck, and how welcome do they feel the first few days. That sounds silly to people, but it is so much easier to make money when you keep them healthy and there is nothing silly about making money (except to the mainstream guys).

Doug Ferguson – SE Nebraska

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