Rushing to feed is mainly just a bad habit that should not be tolerated since this keeps the cattle stressed and focusing on when someone is going to change paddocks instead of grazing right up to the moment you tell them to move. This also encourages the cow to forget about her calf. Most people can correct this behavior in three or four pasture moves. When the cattle come to the gate too fast, or come to the gate without their calf with them, leave the gate closed and drive them away. You don’t have to take them very far, just until they relax, then go back to the gate and try again. The first time will probably take you a half hour or so, but by the third or fourth move when you change paddocks they will first go get their calf, then quietly walk through the gate and start grazing immediately instead of rushing to another part of the pasture. —- Eunice
Can you explain “drive them away”? I’m thinking this is more of a side to side movement than a “driving cattle” as is conventionally understood? —- T.D.
Yes, move towards the cows in a zig-zag pattern. You must get closer each pass, even if it’s only six inches or so. It does more harm than good to go back and forth in the same spot. It is important to watch the movement of the cattle you are influencing. As you walk to the right you will tend to turn the animal to the left. As soon as you see this happening you must turn back to straighten it out. Don’t try to go from one side of the herd to the other, just work back and forth about 4 or 5 steps each way until you get some straight movement going away, then you can widen out the area you are working to feed other cattle to this movement. Moving back and forth puts a lot of pressure on animals to move away, but it is totally non-threatening so they are willing to turn their back to you to move off. This is a pretty big subject to try to answer in an e-mail. The $125 Stockmanship DVD set we sell explains it very well with diagrams and video.
Bud often said if he had a choice of either teaching a person the mechanics of how he works livestock, or convince them that it could be done, they would be better off if they believed it could be done – they would be able to figure out a way to do it. —- Eunice