Go slow to get ahead with low stress cattle handling

Sometimes you have to move slow to get where you want to go. The same can be said for cattle handling. Low stress cattle handling techniques don’t just make sense for animal welfare, they’re also a key component of verified sustainable beef production.

Veterinarian Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz, head of animal handling, field research and facility design for Production Animal Consultation, was on hand at this summer’s Canadian Beef Industry Conference, at London, ON, to demonstrate the tools you need to incorporate low stress cattle handling on your ranch.

Lukasiewicz says the process was adapted around cattleman legend Bud Williams. The philosophy is all built around looking for voluntary cattle movement.

“(Low stress handling is about) teaching people to be on the front side of the herd, and teaching people how to move a herd and then move individuals,” he says. “It’s probably the most important for keeping cattle calm, quiet, and responsive to your movement.”

Quicker isn’t always better Lukasiewicz says, adding working cattle with too much force can end up taking even more of your time than you would have liked. “When you’re in a hurry, you end up in a wreck…and (humans) come off as the predator we really are,” he says. “My movements need to teach them that I understand them and their natural behviour,…they like to see what’s pressuring them and they like to move in a line,” he adds.

Watch RealAgriculture’s field editor Jessika Guse speak with Dr. Lukasiewicz about the importance of low stress cattle herding, along with a few tricks to help you move your herd.

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