What is in this article?:
- 8 Steps For Stress-Free Handling Of Cattle On The Range
- Steps for placing cattle
People who are just beginning to learn low-stress cattle handling methods on the range need to start on foot and learn how to move with slight body movements.
Steps for placing cattle
In her presentation, Tina Williams emphasized the following points. Learning this method will require time and patience.
1. Cattle must be taught to accept pressure from the stock people, BEFORE attempts are made to move and place them. This may take 45-60 minutes.
2. Never chase cattle out of the riparian area. Frightened cattle can’t be successfully placed and they will return to their origin.
3. The zigzag method is done on the edge of flight, and is used to induce the cattle to form a group (Figures 1 and 2). Williams advises, “Let cattle initiate movement.”
In some of my publications, I have stated that cattle should be induced to form a loose bunch BEFORE the zigzag movement is used to enter the flight zone more deeply to start movement (Figure 3). You must practice pressure and release. Continuous pressure will cause cattle to run when they start to move where you want them; back up and reduce pressure. At the end of this article, there is a list of useful publications.
4. Williams says, “Allow the slowest animal to set the speed.” When I talked to one of the cowboys mentioned at the start of this article, he admitted that he was frustrated by the slow cattle. People need to take their time and move at the speed of slowest animal.
5. In previous workshops with Bud Williams, I learned this principle – do not chase a few animals that are stragglers. Leave the cutting horse at home. When low-stress, loose bunching of cattle works, the lone stragglers will come out of the bushes and join the herd. Let the natural motion of the herd attract the stragglers.
6. When you get to the desired location, reduce pressure when you do the zigzag. Make sure the cattle have found the water sources. To begin the process of cattle staying in the desired location, quietly turn the leaders back into the herd.
7. Before the stock people leave the cattle, they must be grazing in random orientations. The stock people MUST NOT leave when the cattle are still lined up. I think a good way to conceptualize this is that the animal’s brain must be in relaxed grazing mode and not in the mode of watching herd mates and moving. Cattle move into random orientation positions when they are relaxed and concentrating on eating.
8. There must be lots of good pasture and feed in the new location. Cattle will not stay in poor pasture, Tina stresses.
Here are some useful publications and websites for more information:
- Steve Cote – Stockmanship: A Powerful Tool for Grazing Management
- Temple Grandin's Website
- Stress Free Stockmanship
- Temple Grandin and Mark Deesing, “Humane Livestock Handling,” Storey Publishing
Temple Grandin is a professor in Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Science.
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