Posted April 10th, 2013 — Filed in Miscellaneous
Question: Wanting to go out to the islands this summer. When bud and you went out how long did you go for. How many dogs did you take.
Goals gather animales with the dogs. Get animales to corral and sort. dehorn and cut bulls and work calves. 600 head 60%to 70% bulls I here they are trying to ship live cattle from one of the islands this year. I’am thinking in a year or two. Any suggestions would be worth there weight in gold.
Answer: We were in the Aleutians for 7 months before we went to the Arctic. Bud and I really liked it and would have stayed longer except the guy we were working for wasn’t paying his bills and we didn’t want his bad reputation to rub off on us.
We took 4 dogs with us. The cattle responded to the dogs pretty well.
I’d question the value of castrating and dehorning. If this was a long-term deal, and you had a few years of knowledge that you could gather the cattle it would make sense to work the calves. But keep in mind that old steers are harder to handle than old bulls and I doubt if you would get any more money for them. If you wanted to tip the horns on the cattle before you ship them it would make sense, but I don’t think there is any value to doing this and then turning them back out.
Which island are you talking about?
Comment: Akun island . . . . . . . is gathering cattle and shipping live to B.C this year. But he likes the choppers it cost him 300.000 last time he used them. I bet most cattle die if not all on the way or some time after they get there.
Goal just handle the cattle until they can be handled nice like. Or just approve of me and the dogs. I wanted to work calves so we can go back in a year or two and fly them out on a jet. Have You ever shipped anything on a plane before? Tyson foods put in big run way for big planes on the same island. The plan is to go out there and see what we can do with them. If we can’t handle them than we’re going to butcher them on the island and sale them to the fishing boats like Bud said to pay for the trip.
Answer: . . . . Bud and I were there in 1978. Do you remember the story Bud told of us loading cattle onto the barge without a corral? Here is a picture of these cattle unloading on Akun (from Umnak) on September 17, 1978.
The cattle that we barged handled the trip very well. I don’t think they will have any problem barging calves to British Columbia. It will certainly be cheaper than flying them out live.
Posted April 8th, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship
Question: I’m wondering if I can bother you with a question? At our ranch we are
planning on replacing our tub with a BudBox. We’re wondering about putting a
double instead of single-file chute between the BudBox and squeeze chute,
primarily because there’s not much space to work with. Have you ever done
this or seen it done? Do you think it would be a good idea or not?
Answer: I’m not sure what you mean about there not being much space to work with. I
know that Bud was not fond of the double alley. In fact, we helped work
cattle where they had this and in order to get the cattle to work properly
we blocked one of the alleys off. Bud said if he were to build a double
ally set-up, he would have the cattle go into it single file, then it could
Y off to double if the people absolutely wanted it. The cattle in the far
single-file lead-up won’t respond to the person working along the chute like
they should and it is never a good idea to have people on both sides of the
Posted March 13th, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship
Question: I just read on the subscription site about the gains possible on 400 to 800 pound calves. I haven’t been doing that good. I have had a group of steers average 2.2 pounds in 140 days and a group of heifers that averaged 1.7 in 140 days. I have been feeding soy hulls and corn gluten with free choice grass hay. I have been feeding the grain at 1% of body weight. I would like to get your thoughts on this and maybe some ideas of other feeds to use. In the article Bud said they got 3# a day for the first 60 days on lower quality calves. Would you know what and how they were fed?
Answer: I know that the information Bud posted about the gains on the calves are true but he didn’t attribute it to the kind of feed. These were examples of what proper handling can do.
The Feedlot in Canada, where we were for 11 years, had a computer program based on incoming weight of the cattle and the feed consumed that would estimate the average weight of the cattle in the pen. When the cattle consistently went over the projection they reprogrammed the computer. While we were there they had changed it 4 times and needed to change it again. I remember the owner coming into the coffee room, very angry, because the cattle that he told a buyer would weigh 800# actually weighed 850#. Remember, they were getting these higher gains with no change in the amount or quality of the feed.
While most calves don’t gain well the first 60 days it is because the new circumstances are very stressful to them. If you can take this stress off of them immediately, they not only gain a normal amount for the feed they are consuming, but you often get a big compensatory gain boost; especially in the “low quality” calves that probably hadn’t been taken care of very well before they arrived at you place.
Posted March 5th, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship
If you want to learn to work livestock like Bud teaches you must understand that you are really working on the animal’s mind, not his body. Your job is to cause the animal to “want” to go where you want it to go.
Do you remember the video of Dawn loading a truck with fat cattle from a Bud Box in Canada? At one spot about half a dozen steers went back. Instead of trying to go around and force them into the chute, Dawn put a little pressure on them – holding them at the back of the pen. In a few seconds they decided that they didn’t want to be there, one steer had just turned around and headed for the chute. Bud said “She’s got the truck loaded.” He could see that the rest of the steers’ minds were wanting to go on the truck and all Dawn had to do at that point was to just stay out of the way.
When an animal breaks out of the bunch and you walk ‘parallel” with it until it wants to go back, you are working on its mind, not its body and it is less likely to want to break out again. If you just outrun it and force it back to the bunch it is more likely to try to breakout again.
We are big proponents of the benefit of exercising new cattle. This exercising is for their emotional not their physical well-being. Cattle that are in the right frame of mind will exercise themselves. If you drive through a feedlot in the evening there will be a cloud of dust over the pens where the cattle are playing. If you go by a pen that isn’t playing you can be sure that they are, or will be, pulling sick cattle out of it. It’s important that you understand this. You aren’t doing any good to just drive them a certain distance every day unless the cattle enjoy it. Your goal is to move them in such a way that they feel like playing. If even a few act like they want to butt heads or kick up their heels, even if they only give a little wiggle to their rump like they are wanting to kick up their heels you are doing a lot of good. Don’t get in a rut and do the same thing every day. Drive them to a different area, or put them into an empty pen then take them back home. Use your imagination, your goal should be to make sure that they are happy.
Posted March 1st, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship
Most herd animals love to follow anything that leads correctly. If you know what you are doing you can get livestock to follow a horse, a pickup or bike, a person on foot or even a dog. In Northern California, where Bud and I first started working on ranches, a “lead dog” was highly prized. This seems to be natural in some dogs and impossible to teach to the rest.
If you are leading livestock from a horse it’s important that you give the animals the same view of your horses’ rump. He must walk steadily away, not swing back and forth. I like to ride with a snaffle bit so that I can “work the reins” and keep the horse moving steadily ahead but with a shorter stride if I need to. Your job is to keep the leaders following you and on the right trail. In order to do this you must stay in the lead, even if you have to gallop your horse in order to do this. You can slow down to see if they will respond, but if they are determined to go by you or turn off the trail, you must speed up to stay ahead of them. They will soon relax and follow. If animals leave the trail it is the job of the people driving them to put them back on. If you try to do it you will never get the leaders to follow you like they should and you will only turn more animals off the trail.
If the stock is following good – just before you come to a cross-road you can slow your horse down (have him keep the same walking rhythm but just taking shorter steps) until the they are really pushing you and wanting to go past. Just as you get to the cross-road you can let your horse lengthen his stride, the cattle will hurry to keep up and you can “suck” them right on by.
If they aren’t working that well for you and you come to a cross-road, turn and go down one side a little ways. This will cause lead cattle to either start to follow or to stop to watch you. This will “build a fence” of cattle on your side of the road that will cause the following cattle to go on by on the correct road. As soon as some of the cattle are going on past you can ride up to move the stopped animals and take your place back at the lead. They won’t even notice the road going the other way.
For three years Bud and I drove about 300 head of 350# calves at a time the 20 miles through the mountains between where the truck had to unload the cattle and where we wanted to start the grazing season. Each year we took in about 3,000 head. We counted them out of the pasture when we started and counted them in when we arrived. Out of 9,000 head we never lost one calf along the way.
The Old Timers have told us that a light colored horse makes the best horse to lead cattle from. That may be true. Charlie, the horse I used to lead these cattle was a palomino.
Posted February 26th, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship
Remember Bud telling you “If you move in the same direction as the animals are going you will tend to slow them down or stop them? If you move opposite to the way the animals are headed you will speed them up in the direction they are headed?”
OK, so the animals are going in the wrong direction. You are walking with the movement in preparation to turning them back. Just at the point that the animal(s) are trying to decide whether to stop or to go on, it seems to be human nature for us to step back! This helps the animal(s) to make up its mind to continue on.
When you are going out to turn an animal back, whether it is a single or a group, walk parallel with them until they completely make up their mind to stop or turn. This will almost always be several more steps than you think. I can still hear Bud telling me “Keep going – Keep going – Keep going.” At this time – and not a second sooner - you can change your angle and zig-zag back and forth towards them to turn them around.
Posted February 22nd, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship
Thinking back on some of the problems Bud and I used to have, before we realized what we were doing to cause it – one that happened more often than we would have liked was when moving cows and calves, or ewes and lambs through a gate, a calf or lamb would get crowded away from its mother, panic and race away down the fence line. If you are still having this problem let me tell you how to bring that panicky baby back easily. Gallop your horse PARALLEL to the calf or lamb and right on past it. This poor little guy is in a panic anyway, he hears you coming which probably makes matters worse, but when you keep on going he thinks “He wasn’t after me after all.” The fact that you are now ahead of him even though you are still going will cause him to stop. Then you can turn to the fence, zig-zag back towards the calf or lamb and he will turn and WALK back to the gate. Even if you are going to get the calf or lamb on foot, or with a motor bike, be sure to follow the same procedure.
Posted February 19th, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship
Two things that will cause animals to want to break back are too much pressure, and taking all of the pressure off of them. Do you remember seeing the video of Bud sorting two cows out of the herd? He wanted to show how he could stop one after the other had gone back. He had both cows away from the herd and moving quietly down the fence line. In order to get them to stop and want to go back he, and the cowboys that were with him, stopped. In a very short time the cows started to turn back which gave Bud the opportunity to show how to hold one of them and let the other go.
The feedlot in Canada where we were living offered the use of their cattle and pasture for a cowdog trial. These trial dogs had all kinds of trouble. I think they put 5 calves out for each dog. The dogs didn’t have any problem starting the calves the way they wanted them to go. These were healthy, frisky calves and they moved right out. Since the handler wanted the calves to move slower he would make his dog stop. As soon as the calves felt all of the pressure taken off, they turned around to see where the dog was. They could also see the other calves that they were taken from. From that point on they fought the dog to go back. I’m sure that the trial people were very disappointed in the cattle, but these were the same calves that our dogs could take anywhere. When our dogs started cattle they kept the proper amount of pressure on them to keep them moving. If the cattle were going faster than they wanted they would work up the side to slow them down, but they never changed the amount of pressure.
Posted February 15th, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship
Animals have a one-track mind. When you are doing anything with them it is important that you don’t do things that will distract them from what they should be focusing on which is usually following the rest of the herd, or continuing in the direction that they are headed. One thing that will attract their attention away from these things is for a person to be standing still. It is important that you “keep moving” from side to side, even if it’s just to rock from one foot to the other, or if you’re on a horse you can move your arm out and back, etc. Livestock’s depth perception is very good on a moving object. They know just where you are, and they know just what you are doing so they can relax and think about the things that they should be thinking about. If you are standing still they can’t tell if you are moving closer to them. That’s the way a cat is able to creep up on a bird.
When Bud and I were gathering the wild cattle in the Aleutian Islands, Glen, the old man who lived on the island, would go with us occasionally. He didn’t want to get in the way so he would ride off to where he could watch and just set there. There was no way that we could get the cattle to work for us while he was there. Glen would eventually decide that we weren’t going to be able to get them and he’d go home. As soon as he left the cattle would start to pay attention to us and we could drive them in.
Posted February 12th, 2013 — Filed in Stockmanship
While working on the new Stockmanship video I was reminded of a few things that are worthy of noting on the web site.
When you are getting ready to turn new cattle out into the pasture, after having them in the corral for ‘however-many days,’ it is a good idea to follow them out the first time. Don’t actually drive them, but let them know that you are “still in touch.” As they graze along keep them moving around and back into the corral. This should take you about half an hour if your first turn-out pasture is of a reasonable size. They are still feeling that the corral is a familiar place and they will go in easily. Then you can leave the gate open and go on about your business and let them drift back out on their own. This will make it much easier for you to put them into the corral the next time.