Using Livestock Behavior Makes Improving Landscapes Easier

In the first part of his piece Bob Budd talked about how working with natural systems, using more cows, and enjoying "The Glory of Confusion" turned things around at Red Canyon Ranch.  In this excerpt from his paper, "Livestock, Wildlife, Plants and Landscapes: Putting It All Together (Lessons from Red Canyon Ranch)," he describes the importance of understanding the behavior of his livestock so that he can make it easier for them to help him meet his goals.  Here's what he's learned about his four-footed colleagues and how to get along with them. Absolutely critical to making changes to the landscape is an understanding of the animals we use as ecological and economic tools. So, we have to train the cattle, and they us.  By watching and listening to many people, we have found that we can move a lot of cattle, with a few people, MOST of the time. We expect and accept a major screwup once a year from each of us. We could blame the cows, because most of our screw-ups involve cows in some way. However, one recent revelation of mine is that the more people involved in moving livestock, the better chance you will have some large-scale mess. We are pretty gentle with our cattle. We do not own a hotshot or a whip. We have about three sorting sticks, and when we work cattle, we usually don’t us

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