On Saturday, March 12th, the Kansas Graizers hosted a low stress livestock handling workshop presented by Dr. Lynn Locatelli in Salina Ks. Dr Locatelli is a livestock handling specialist who gave a, deep, thoughtful, presentation to a full-house eager to learn more about low stress livestock handling.
Dr Locatelli was a veterinarian in western Nebraska for 14 years. During that time she became interested in the Bud Williams method of low stress cattle handling. Now she is part of a ranch management team in New Mexico and she continues to educate livestock handlers across the country wishing to do a better job that is better for the animals and for the handlers. An example of mutual respect.
Dale Strickler, president of the Kansas Graziers introduced Dr. Locatelli by telling the story of some years back when his cattle got out into the neighbors crops and his kids were young and they were out trying to chase the cattle back home. He said it was bad, bad, bad, and the kids went back home and started telling mom the new four-letter words they learned helping daddy chase the cows... He said that mother is a lot happier now that he utilizes low-stress handling. It was a good way to start the presentation out.
The audience was intriguing in that it ranged from 8 years old to 80 years young, with a solid majority of the crowd being young eager producers wanting to learn a more responsible way to handle their livelihood. And Dr. Locatelli did an excellent job of relaying the information she wished to share and bring audience involvement to the presentation. It wasn’t long before even the youngest participants were getting involved in the discussion, and that made an enjoyable day for all.
One particular slide that really reflected the day’s message was:
*Low Stress Handling is leadership; calm, confident leaders communicate effectively.
*The team understand the expectations.
*Communication is effective (well timed-precise, consistent body language.)
*Correction, not punishment is utilized.
*Emotion is neutral-communicate (with cattle and people) in business tone.
Points she made to emphasis these concepts are:
*There are 3 types of herding, Driving, trailing, and chumming (luring with treats.)
*Train your livestock to drive contentedly before you need to do it for real. (Repetition training.)
*Work toward eliminating panic movements.
*Herd in straight back & forth lines (not windshield wiper movement.)
*Animals, like people, understand patterns.
One of Dr. Locatellie’s deep thought phrases that I really liked was “When we behave properly the cattle behave properly. Although I will admit I had to reflect back on that darn heifer I had once.....
Dr. Locatelli’s presentation was made possible by a North Central Risk Management grant awarded to the Kansas Farmers Union Foundation.