Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Herding Cattle in the Ranch? Just Trot Back and Forth

If you're that one man on horseback in a cattle ranch responsible for managing dozens of heads, what do you do if you want the herd to move? Cattle handling expert Bud Williams offers a simple three-step idea to herding cattle, whether it's a small herd or one with enough cattle to shoot a Marlboro commercial. You already fulfilled half of the requirement to pull this off by being on horseback; although riding an all-terrain vehicle would work, as would doing it on foot.

The herding technique involves shuttling back and forth in a straight or slight arc profile to force the cattle to group together in a loose bunch. Don't mind any stragglers as they'll come looking for the safety of the herd eventually. As soon as this bunch grows more compact, put more pressure on the herding by inching slightly toward the direction you want the herd to move. Continue doing this until the herd has finally reached the place you want them to be.

Every seasoned cowhand knows that this method can be useful if you're practicing rotational grazing in your ranch. You can have the cattle herd move to another patch of grass when necessary with this simple technique. To enhance the effects of the herding technique, Williams recommends wearing a “predatory” stare. That way, the cattle will be intimidated into bunching up and seeking safety in numbers. 


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