Low-Stress Livestock Handling “Dance Steps”

Kathy's Note: Ever since I attended a Bud Williams Low-Stress Livestock Handling workshop, I've thought of the process as a kind of dance where the livestock are my partners, and we use body language to get where I want them to go - them watching mine and me watching theirs. Whit Hibbard has been sharing these steps with On Pasture readers. Now, here are some more for you to practice on the pasture dance floor. (To see the whole series so far, click here.) In a prior article I introduced some of the techniques of low-stress livestock handling (LSLH) as formulated by the late Bud Williams, emphasizing the importance of maintaining straight lines, then explaining the “zigzag” which is an effective technique for driving cattle from the rear. In this article I look at the remainder of the basic techniques of LSLH. The “T” We use the zigzag to generate movement from the rear, but how do we establish direction? To get animals to go in a particular direction we zigzag behind them at a 90 degree angle to the direction we want to go. In other words, a “T” to our target. If we zigzag in a T to the direction we want to go, it (a) keeps us in straight lines, (b) clearly communicates to the animals what we want, (c) creates effective pressure, and (d) keeps us from being in the wrong place and doing the wrong thing. In essence, it clearly communicates

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