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Low-Stress Livestock Handling – Best Practices for Sheep Part 1

By   /  October 12, 2020  /  4 Comments

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If you’ve been reading On Pasture for very long, you’ve certainly seen Whit Hibbard’s articles sharing the ins and outs of moving cattle and other livestock. But sometimes it helps to see the principles in action. So here’s a video prepared by our friends down under, with the help of animal handling consultant Boyd Holden. We’ve shared some of Boyd’s cattle handling videos in past, but in this set of videos we see the principles applied to sheep.

I like that Boyd starts at the very beginning, reminding us to talk to our fellow handlers and to have a plan before we head out to the pasture. (How many of you, like me, have failed to do that?) Then he takes us through the process in small, clear steps. In this first 7:23 video we’ll take a look at the whole process of gathering and driving (or mustering) the flock, and at some behavior specific to sheep. If you don’t raise sheep, the video is just satisfying to watch – all those animals moving together almost as one is kind of mesmerizing!

While you’re watching pay attention to some of the techniques Boyd and his colleagues use that look a bit different from what you may have learned elsewhere. I think it’s helpful to see that there is more than one right answer for accomplishing a task. You might even get some ideas for adaptations that will work at your place!

Enjoy this first in the series. Then stand by for another in this series taking a closer look at some of the techniques in this video, and even a look at handling facilities for sheep.



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About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.


  1. OogieM says:

    I’d love to see a similar video with non-flocking breeds of sheep.

  2. Great to have information specific to sheep. Since pastured sheep need to be monitored frequently for parasites, they need to be handled often, so the more information about this, the better!

  3. Joe Connelly says:

    I’d appreciate more sheep related articles. I also think more information about low stress sheep handling would be great if you can find it.

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