People who are new to handling free range cattle find it sometimes very stressful. If you have ever asked the cowboys you will find that the most difficult task is to keep the cattle in the herd and induce them to stay close without the fences. It really requires a high level of skill to keep the cattle where they are placed. Many get along with this with the trial and error method, but this is good if you have a small number of cattle to manage. On the other hand, if you have a huge livestock, it is very important you handle them perfectly and even move them from one place to another successfully.
One of the biggest mistakes people usually do is they yell and scream at the cattle which frightens them and separates the calves from their mother cows. When a mother cow gets separated from her calf, she will create problem. Feeling of insecurity is also one of the aspects that make the cattle prefer getting back to its origin. Secondly, chasing the cattle out of the place also makes them panic and straggle. So, it is very important that the cattle is moved quietly, preferably on foot or on horses. In fact, for the beginners it is recommended that they move slowly, with the body movement of the cattle and only when they have experienced, they should opt for the horses.
Tips to move successfully and without any hassle
1. Before actually starting to move the cattle, you should train them to accept and understand pressure generated by the stock people.
2. Avoid chasing the cattle from the original place because if they get frightened, they will return to that place and will not get ready to move.
3. Try to help the cattle make a group and it is better to let them initiate the movement. Let them create a loose bunch when starting the movement. It is advisable to give pressure and release alternatively because continuous pressure will make the cattle run in different directions as they start to have the feeling of insecurity.
4. Focus on the slowest animal and let it set the speed. You need a lot of patience when moving your cattle and you should take enough of your time in hand.
5. If you find some of the stragglers among the herd, avoid following or chasing them back to the herd. Leave them because the natural motion of the herd will attract them back especially when they are low-stressed and see the loose bunching of other animals.
6. Make sure water sources are found on the way for the cattle. Once you come near to the desired location, release the pressure and quietly allow the leaders to get back into the herd.
7. It is advisable to allow the stock people leave only when the cattle have started brazing in random positions. This indicates that they are relaxed and concentrating on eating.
8. Make sure the new place where you have moved your cattle has lot of feed and good pasture because the cattle will not stay long where the pasture is not good.
Before launching any animal, it is always good to make sure, analyze yourself that you can handle its demands. Keeping free range cattle is not easy and not everyone is cut out to keep them.