Low-Stress Livestock Handling – Starting Herd Movement For a Successful Drive

For the past few years, Whit Hibbard has been sharing a series of articles on Low-Stress Livestock Handling (LSLH). We've gathered these articles as one of our Special Collections so you can see them all. Stay tuned as we'll be sharing a number of new articles in upcoming issues of On Pasture. Driving—the active process of initiating and maintaining movement in livestock—entails two vitally important, but generally under-appreciated and overlooked prerequisites, “approaching” and “starting.” In a prior article in this series I talked about approaching. In this article I will talk about starting. Conventionally, how do people start cattle? They go right at them. They yell. They sic their dogs on them. They race around. They poke at one, then follow it for a few steps or give it an extra shove for good measure. Then they go do the same with another cow but the first one stops, so they have to go back and shove on it again. They do all these things - just like I did for 38 years - without realizing that there are negative consequences, like making our animals hard to drive, dull, and uncooperative. We might ask, why do people start their animals like that? At least in my own case - and everyone else in our neck of the woods - I didn’t know that there was any other way. The common belief was that we would have to use fear and force to make our cattle go someplace they didn’t want to go. But does that get the all important mind change that we’re s

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