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Pitfalls of Good Stockmanship

By   /  February 22, 2016  /  1 Comment

Whit Hibbard has been sharing a lot of info on the ins and outs of Low Stress Livestock Handling as he learned it from Bud Williams. Here’s another of Bud’s students with the pitfalls you might encounter when you hone your stockmanship skills.

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I can’t ever stress enough the importance of great stockmanship. Over time as I have improved my skills I have noticed there are a few pitfalls

People will get mad.

I was helping a registered cattle breeder prepare for his bull sale. He wanted to catch a special cow to have on display for customers to look at while they were selecting the bulls they wanted to bid on. A group of us consisting of myself, the owner, two hired hands and his daughter set out to gather in this cow. I evaluated the circumstance I was in. Most were athletic and in great shape. Since he thought he needed all of us to get this cow I just knew this was going to be a track meet. I was right. When they finally gave up and decided to head in for lunch I slipped behind them all to get the cow. No one noticed I did this since they were too busy complaining about her and hatching a plan to catch her after lunch. They were all eating when I came in the house. When asked what took me so long to get there I informed them that I got the cow in. Man, the boss and his daughter were upset. My actions were not mean to one up them, but it appeared to be taken that way

You will do things by yourself.

When people figure out that you are capable of doing it yourself, or that you can do it better by yourself they will just stand back. I have one driver who does not get out of his truck anymore when he comes to load.

The author with Bud Williams

The author with Bud Williams.

You will gain weight, and get out of shape.

Before I met Bud and Eunice Williams and learned from them, I used to have problems getting cattle to go where I wanted them too. This lead to me running and getting a lot of exercise. I no longer get all that exercise and started to put on a few pounds. I now have to commit myself to using a treadmill that I strategically placed in front of the TV so I can watch Netflix

Your vet will suffer.

After improving my stockmanship skills, I have fewer pulls. Fewer pulls means I use less antibiotics. This reduced my vet bill. I wonder if I should be concerned, he has three kids to support after all.You lose bragging rights. People who do not have good stockmanship skills get hurt. They are always telling some story of getting run over or kicked. Some even love to show you their “badge of honor”. With good skills you will not have a cast or bruises to show off.

People will think you are lazy.

When you own more cattle than the other guy and he notices you take your little girl fishing on a regular basis, he begins to think you are lazy and do not do much work. He does not realize fast is slow, and slow is fast. I work my cattle slow. That is why I have time to go fishing

It’s boring.

photo 14My daughter does not have much interest in riding along to rotate pastures. She is 4 and thinks we need to drive the 4-wheeler fast. It’s boring to just sit there on the wheeler only applying pressure on occasion. For her rolling up poly wire is more fun

It makes you abnormal.

Cattle will get out. When they do I guess you are supposed to panic, get mad, and get in a big hurry to get them back in. My neighbor called one morning to tell me I had one out. He called back again in about 20 minutes, because I had not shown up yet and he wanted to make sure I was coming. When he called I was walking up the road with a cigar and a cup of coffee. I didn’t want to spill by being in too much of a hurry.

You’re backwards.

This one comes from my good friend JG. For years his family did things the same way and had the same problems. He realized the problem was how they were going about moving the cattle. He tried it a different way and it worked. No one else cared that it worked, and saved time and energy, they were only focused on the fact he was doing it differently.

People think you lie.

Myself and others that I know who learned from Bud and Eunice, or Dr. Tom Noffsinger, buy a lot of long haul high risk cattle. We do not have near the problems most people would expect. One friend even went more than a year without having one die. Since most people have difficulty weaning their home raised calves without some kind of problem, and pull rates in a big feedlot can range over 40% they conclude you are lieing when you say that your pull rate is around 3% to 8%.

To learn more visit these websites

Bud Williamsn Stockmanship

Hand in Hand Livestock Solutions

Stockmanship Journal

And check out the series by Whit Hibbard sharing the ins and outs of becoming a good stockman. Stay tuned for more!

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  • Published: 10 months ago on February 22, 2016
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  • Last Modified: February 22, 2016 @ 10:20 am
  • Filed Under: Consider This

About the author

I have gained many useful skills and knowledge working on various operations. These operations ranged from a sandhills cow/calf ranch, a custom feedlot, a hog operation, feed mill, and even a dairy. While working for others I saved up money to start my own cattle operation. One day, when I was in my mid-twenties, my operation grew big enough that I no longer had time to work off the farm. As my operation grew I realized I was growing with it. To accelerate my personal growth I decided to seek out people who were the best in what they do, and learn all I could from them. I still continue to do that. Over time it became obvious that my hedgehog concept, the one thing I excel at, should be starting calves. The marketing, stockmanship, grazing, and business skills I have learned have helped me to grow my backgrounding/stocker operation.

1 Comment

  1. Paul Nehring says:

    Another pitfall:
    People will think that you are just getting lucky when you get the job done without any issues. My neighbors, all 3rd or 4th generation livestock producers, think I’ve just been getting lucky with my cattle…for the past 10 years. I calmly loaded a group of cattle onto a trailer recently, and my neighbor, who has hauled livestock for me since I started, finally asked me, “How do you do that?” It finally dawned on him that I wasn’t just getting lucky…now he thinks I was born with some special ability…like I am a cow whisperer.

    No, I wasn’t born knowing what to do, I had to learn like everybody else, and I attended schools by Bud Williams and Steve Cote, and I keep trying to learn by what my cattle tell me.

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