Ron Gill, Pressure and Release, Stockmanship/Stewardship 2019

Ron Gill, Pressure and Release, Stockmanship/Stewardship 2019


PRESENTER RON GILL: Let’s spend a little time here talking about
stockmanship and handling cattle. And I’m not gonna spend a whole lot of time
talking but it’s interesting, when I first came out here by myself before
everybody else started migrating, these cattle were all laying on one end of the
pen or the other and it was interesting that as we’ve all shown up they’ve all
gotten together. A lot of times cattle are doing things we’re not paying
attention to and I’ve had several conversations about how we just have to
be more aware of what they’re telling us, and what they need us to do to get them
to do what we need to get them to do. And so they, they are very inquisitive but
notice that every time I move they start looking at me. They want to know what I
going to do, so everything I’m doing from this point on or from when I walk
through that gap right there I’m influencing their behavior. And so, so
often we get busy and we’re in the middle of getting something else done.
We don’t think about how all this extraneous activity is affecting the
cattle and whether or not it’s actually making them nervous or not. So when we
talk about flight zone and point of balance those are the two of the things
we use to get cattle to do what we want them to do because it’s that pressure
point. Now when cattle are pretty flighty, and that means you get close to them
they’re gonna run off, that’s not a big deal if you’re out in a big area. Because
you can always go and put pressure on them they’ll respond to it.
But if we don’t get that area worked down to where they can take the pressure
in this corral, that’s when they never are able to see a release of pressure.
And training cattle to work good is all about pressure and release. It’s no
different than training any other species of animal it’s all about
pressure and release, okay. So we’ve got to really make sure that when we put
pressure on one of them they have a way to take that pressure off. And Jesse had
one bullet point up there about working cattle slowly and you know the only way
to work them quickly slowly. That’s probably one of the most misunderstood
things that we say. So I’ll take just a little minute with
that. If cattle are really wild, we have to be very precise in our movements. So when we
do something, they understand what we’re asking. And so we may have to move very
precisely, somewhat slow and we get a big reaction out of them. If cattle are pretty
gentle, we may actually have to make big bold moves just to put enough pressure
on them to where they will move. So you’ve got everything across the
spectrum from some, where if you move your hand like that they may jump; to
something that you could take a pompom and throw it one of them and they wouldn’t
move. So all of those things come into play and we have to learn to read the
cattle and understand how to apply that. What we normally see is cattle that are
gentle, everybody’s real quiet and calm around them, right? You see wild cattle,
everybody screaming and hollering and trying to make them do something.
Well that’s additional pressure that they don’t need and they can’t take that
pressure off if you’re screaming and hollering at them. That was another point
Jesse had was to cut out the screaming and hollering and wailing and gnashing
of teeth that goes on when we’re working cattle. And I’m going to start this out by
asking how many of you have been in a fight with a family member at the cow lot? That’s where normally elbows start
flying around with their spouses in the in the ring. You get to thinking about
that, how many of you been in a fight with a hired hand? Doc come on. Not many
of us put the same pressure on the hired hand as we do family members. Why? Because
they can quit right? They can relieve that pressure. So a lot of times we put a
lot more pressure on our, the people that we’re closest to when we’re working
cattle. And how do they eventually take the pressure off? They leave home and
don’t come back. So a lot of what we talk about in stockmanship, we actually talk about personal relationships with people and how that
plays over into the cow lot as well. And so if we can work cattle better and
communicate better what we need to get done it makes all of this a whole lot
easier. We are not very good trainers, as agriculturalists, because how many of you
want to hire somebody that already knows everything they need to know? I hear that
all the time, I just can’t find I can’t hire anybody that knows what they need to
know get this job done. Well if we don’t train them, we’re the only industry in
the world that expects that. Every other industry trains their people once they
hire them. And so we’ve got to get better at training the people we hire in good
stockmanship and all the other BQA principles that we’d like to see done on
our operation. If not, they don’t get done and don’t get done correctly. So a lot of
this has to do with people management, controlling yourself. A lot of people
always get through with this and they say, “man you’re very patient,” and I am one of the
least patient people on the planet. But I’ve learned that if I don’t control
that, it spills over into the cattle handling. And so I really got to control
my expressions and my actions to get the cattle to work right. So I don’t care how
laid back you are or how wired you are, if you can control that, you can
get the cattle to work better for you. Now as I’ve been down here not really
doing anything with these cattle, what have they done? They relaxed, actually
went down to get a little feed, no big deal. So as I start going to them then
they’re gonna start paying more attention to me. So sometimes if you have
really flighty cattle, one of the best things you can do, and I’ve been to Iowa twice
in the last four years I guess doing these stockmanship trainings, and every
time I come they talk about how wild the South Dakota cattle are that they’re
feeding over here. Any of you use South Dakota cattle? In the last place I went
to they really didn’t even want to get them out of the confined feeding barn
for me to work with, because they were so wild they was afraid we couldn’t get them
back in the barn. Those cattle weren’t wild. They need to
come to Texas we can show them some wild ones. They were a little flighty but then
when we worked with them just a little bit the cattle actually worked very
nicely, and they were afraid of people when we first started the process. So
well there’s about four or five things that I think we really need to keep in
mind as we start working on these cattle. I’ll go over them, then we’ll start
pushing on cows. We communicate with cattle three or four ways however you
want to look at it. Primarily it’s through sight, so whatever they see they
respond to. Sound is another one, so we can use sound to put pressure on cattle,
or as I like to use sound to draw their attention to me so they can see what I’m
asking them to do. And so I may use a snap of a finger or a cluck or smooch or
something like that, but I try not to ever scream at one of them. This one thing I got off Temple
Grandin, when you scream and holler it has an intent to it. And so when you project
to somebody and you’re talking to somebody when you start raising your voice, it changes your intent, to that person. So
you can have a conversation with anybody but if they start yelling at you, does it
change the whole dynamic? It does for me. And so it does for cattle, too, horses,
whatever. If you raise your voice and it has intent, it can affect things. I’ll tell
this, I shouldn’t do this while we’re on camera but my daughter talks real loud.
We have a dog that will not stay in the same room with her just because she
talks so loud. If we can get her to bring her voice down, the dog will come in the
room. But she just can’t stand that much racket. I’m kind of like the dog, I follow the dog
every once in a while. Just her voice carries,
bless her heart she’s been told to be quiet her entire life. But sometimes we
don’t realize how loud we are and so we have to keep that in mind as well. So try
to keep it as quiet as possible. I used to start these and say if you don’t do
anything else when you go home and work cattle, just don’t holler. And then some, I
realize, some of you may explode if you if you can’t vent a little bit. So try to
keep it to a minimum we’ll say that, so we don’t influence the cattle. The other
one is touch. We can lay a hand on an animal. If they get close enough we can touch
them and it puts additional pressure and they’ll move. We use that in the lead-up
to the chute quite often or maybe even loading trailers. So we can use that to
some extent. The other one where they kind of communicate is smell. The people
in the dairy industry really talk about smell being an issue.
Hopefully my smell is not ever bad enough it really influences cattle
behavior, but you know pheromones and other things are in there. But I don’t
worry about that when I’m communicating with cattle, and how they communicate.
So if sight and sound are our two main objectives, where are those receptors on
the cow? Front four inches of their body, right? So eyes and ears.
So we don’t have to worry about the back end of a cow.
All we have to do is communicate with the front end and get it to go where we
need to go and the rest of it’s going to go. If you think about a lot of people
you see they’re focusing on driving the body of the animal, not on directing the
head. A cow goes where her nose goes and so if we can get the nose headed the right
direction the rest of it’s going to follow. Just that simple.
Five basic things that I think everybody ought to think about as we’re working
cows, I think they may have been on the screen as well when Jesse was going
through that. The cattle won’t to be able to see, that
goes back to the whole issue with being able to communicate with them. So they, we
need to position ourself where it’s easier for them to see us. And if we
think about the cow in particular, these old yearlings, they can see
behind them pretty easy. But a cow’s kind of like me and an old bull’s even worse.
They can’t turn their head very well. And so if they want to see something behind
them they got to turn their body. Y’all are always wondering why granny runs off the
road all the time, she can’t turn her head, neck’s got too stiff. And so when you
turn, your arms go with you. Same thing on cattle, so we can have to worry
about that a little bit as we’re directing cattle and stay more the side
to the front, if we can, to get cattle to move. Alright, so if they want to see us. The
other thing is we put pressure on, they have a tendency to want to go around us.
And that’s also so they can keep an eye on us. So when we put pressure and they
walk off a lot of times they will turn, and when they do that’s because they can
keep an eye on us. But most of the time we want them to go straight, right? So if we
get them started we may have to change our position to keep them going straight.
We’ll demonstrate all this in just a minute. Third one is they are herd animals so if
we can get one of ’em started, the rest of them will normally follow. And so our
whole objective is to get the front started and then let the rest of them
follow her, so we don’t have to keep putting pressure on the ones in the back.
The other one is, they do and I think in Jesse’s presentation he had the
cattle always want to return to where they came from. And that is kind of
true, but what they really want to do is to take pressure off. And so if you push
them in the end of this bud box, for example, they’re going to want to come back the way they
came from. So if we’re pushing on them from behind, their objective is to take
pressure off, so they may actually come back over the top of us so we have to be
aware of that. And the last one, fifth one, is that they they can only think of one
main thought at a time. They’re kind of like a guy. Give us a task,
let us do it. So if we start putting too much pressure in too many places, a lot
of times we don’t get things done. Now here’s the other part of this, if you
give us a task, and guys I’m gonna pick on us a little bit because it’s so
true. You know stereotypes are based in fact and truth. If you give us a task
that we don’t really want to do, what happens? If you just say ‘go do that.’
We’ll find something else to do, that’s a little more fun, all right? So you have to
learn that if you want that unpleasant task done you may have to remind us
periodic, keep the pressure on us to get it done. That old joke, you know, tell your
man to get something done you ought to remind him every six months it hadn’t
been done yet. That’s a little joke and probably outta do it more often if you
want it done. So same thing on cattle, we’re asking them to go down a chute and
it’s not something they really want to do, we’ve got to keep enough pressure on
them to make them go ahead and commit, and get it done. So the low stress
handling and stockmanship is not about low pressure. It’s about a lot of
pressure at the right time to get the desired result. So keep that in mind, it’s not about
being slow and calm and singing Kumbaya, it’s about putting pressure when you
need to to get the cattle to do what you need to do. Now these old calves are
relaxed, they said this fool just gonna stand over here and talk he’s not a big
issue for us. So as I start over there and they start getting up, I’m gonna stop
when they start getting up. That’s my first release of pressure. And I want all
of them to get up and then I’ll go in the pen with them. But oh bless his little heart, he’s gonna lay down right now. This one over here is pretty curious.
But as I walk over here there it’s interesting, they’re actually showing
less response to me now than when I did when I came in the first time
because I’ve not been a threat to them, have I? So as I walk around here and I’m
gonna do this from the outside because once again that gives them a
little bit of comfort zone. But I’ll start putting enough pressure to get
this calf up and when I do they’ll probably walk by some others and
get them up, but that’s the first thing. And I’m just going to hold this pressure
for a minute and see what they do. I’m trying to figure them out right now and
see what kind of read I’m going to get off of ’em. If I stay right here they’re
probably going to leave. And when they leave that will get the rest of these
cattle up, and I’ve already taught them to move off my pressure. Now they may be,
if they don’t then I’ve got to go to them. Now see, they’ve moved off enough
they took the pressure off but now I can move into them, start getting the rest of
them up. And as I enter the pen, look how different the dynamic gets as soon as
I unlock the latch. That’s all I had to do for them to realize that things are
about to change. So that right there was a pressure and release. That’s the first
lesson I want to teach them, and look at them looking back here like what’s next?
So if I stay back here, I can actually turn them around or if I walk over on
this side, they’ll probably turn to me. Look, they’re all starting to look.
They’re gonna start moving off. We’ve got one little short eared one here that’s
going to be kind of fun. But I just want to stick keep moving in here and I’m
gonna send them back to the other side. I’m gonna push them away from where I
want them to go. Once they take that pressure, I’m gonna back off so these
will kind of come slower. And I want them to learn to go as a group. So if these
don’t go I’ll put more pressure but they’re gonna go. So I don’t have to do a
whole lot to move my entire group of cattle and I’ve just trained them to
work as a group, okay? So as they go down there and take the
pressure off, I’ll I’ll let them set for a minute and then we’ll go ask them to
do something else.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *