How to Drive Livestock Using Low-Stress Handling Techniques

This article is part of Whit Hibbard's Good Stockmanship series. You can see all the articles in this series here. Just about everything we do with our cattle comes down to driving them someplace, whether to summer pasture and back, or into or out of the corral, or up the alley, onto the scale, or through the crowd pen and up the chute. And a really important thing to understand is that if we don’t drive our animals properly we’re going to have problems (e.g., resistance, runbacks), but if we drive them properly we should avoid creating unnecessary problems and old problems will often disappear. When done conventionally, driving can be very high stress. It often entails a lot of help, relentless pressure, noise, aggressive or barking dogs, stock whips, and racing around. Basically, we just out-gun ‘em and make ‘em go where we want with fear and force. And that’s exactly what I did for 38 years. In reality, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but try and tell me that at the time and I wouldn’t have listened because, of course, I knew that there was only one way to work a cow. But now I’ve learned that there’s a better way. From the low-stress livestock handling perspective developed by Bud Williams, all the hoopla of conventional driving is unnecessary and counter-productive. Effective driving is based on communicating with the animals through proper technique so they understand what we want and do it willing—no fear or force necessary. So le

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3 thoughts on “How to Drive Livestock Using Low-Stress Handling Techniques

  1. I was wondering if I could have permission to reprint this article for our regional cattle association newsletter of which I am the editor. I will give it proper credit.

  2. I did some cattle moving the other day and kept this article in mind. It REALLY helped. Stay calm and zig-zag on.

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