Question: I am in need of some direction. I am in northwest Colorado and we recently have had a pack of wolves move in to the area. We run mother cows and grass cattle. The grass contract cattle we receive come primarily out of feedlots. I have been informing myself about how to manage our cattle with the new predator and the most common answer I am receiving is teaching the cattle to stay in herds and not to run. This idea of stockmanship is something I subscribe to and I have my resident cow herd trained to handle this way but getting feedlot cattle to do this is where I need help. Can you point me in a good direction for help?
Answer: Do you use dogs? Years ago, we were pasturing stockers near town and had a lot of trouble with loose dogs chasing the calves. This was in northern California, right on the Pacific coast and there were sloughs to drain off water in nearly every pasture. These city dogs didn’t kill any calves, but we often found calves that had bogged down in a slough from being chased.
Bud’s response was to work these calves with a dog. The calves very quickly learned to bunch up and stand still when they saw the dog coming. Which pretty well ended our problem.
Bud had issues with trial-type training for a ranch dog, and I’m not sure if that kind of dog (working to command instead of working the stock) will do the job. If you want to go this route, if you use dogs yourself or know someone who does, let me know and I’ll send you a little piece of video showing the way a dog should work in order to remove fear from the calves but teach them the discipline to bunch up and wait for the dog to show them what to do.
P.S. Check our website www.stockmanship.com for information about the book and video we have for sale about working with stockdogs.