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Lead Steers – Clifford and Buddy – Worth Their Weight in Feed

By   /  November 24, 2014  /  2 Comments

Brains and leadership can be just as important to your operation as the product you’re growing.

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I first learned about using lead steers to help manage stockers back in the early 90’s from Dr. Go
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2 Comments

  1. Steve says:

    Hi Paul,

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, lead steers do not replace the need to learn and practice good stockmanship. At the conference back in the early 90’s where I first heard Dr. Hazard speak about lead steers the other speaker on the agenda was Bud Williams. He opened my eyes to so many ideas about stockmanship and cattle behavior that changed forever how I viewed cattle work. The lessons I learned that day about changing the mindset of newly received calves was invaluable to us back when we were buying pots of calves from neighboring states.

    But at the same time having a very calm lead steer for the newly received cattle to bond with sure made the job easier for us. And when the neighbors coon hounds busted through the middle of a potload of newly arrived, jittery, 450lb. heifers from Mississippi it was sure nice to have Clifford, calmly chewing his cud, for the heifers to gather around, rather than have them take off like a flushed covey of quail.

    We no longer bring in outside cattle so Buddy and Clifford are really not necessary for our operation. Combining good stockmanship with portable fencing and frequent moves the need for lead steers as well as stock dogs is greatly diminished if not totally unnecessary on most grass farms.

    I would suggest, however, that if your stocker operation includes bringing in lots of green, unweaned calves then having a really good lead steer in conjunction with the use of good stockmanship can sure make the job easier. And even though Buddy and Clifford are no longer necessary on our farm we’ll never begrudge them the grass they eat as compensation for the thousands of calves they’ve helped to guide and gentle over the years.

  2. Paul Nehring says:

    While I’ve used lead cattle before, and find that they can be helpful for leading, when I learned stockmanship as taught by Bud Williams, I found that I no longer needed a lead animal. Additionally, having a lead animal does not negate the need for good stockmanship. If you are going to invest time and money into only one, I highly suggest learning stockmanship from someone trained by Bud Williams and through Buds videos which are available on his website: stockmanship.com.

    I run cattle on several different places at the same time, having lead cattle on each one just isn’t cost effective. Plus, I can do so much more with stockmanship skills that I really believe it is one of the best investments you can make if you raise cattle or sheep.

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