Based on these principles, Dr. Hammack suggests the following points apply:

  • The only way to work cattle quickly is slowly. If we get in a hurry, inevitably we will place too much pressure on cattle, which unusually results in an unintended reaction from cattle, and might mean starting all over with what we were planning to accomplish.
  • Work from the front to draw cattle to you as this helps keep cattle from wanting to turn back to keep you in their line of sight.
  • Apply pressure when cattle have a place to go.  Be sure to set the cattle up to go where you want them to go before you apply pressure.
  • Pressure from the side.  This relates back to working from the front and down the side of an animal, and not working directly behind the animal.
  • Cattle must be comfortable to go by you and stay straight. If cattle are not comfortable going by you, they will not work for you very well. Position yourself so that when cattle go where they want to go, it is exactly where you intended for them to be.
  • Pressure cattle from behind only when absolutely necessary. To drive cattle in a straight line, assume a position behind their shoulder and off to either side.
  • When working cattle, move in triangles. Yes it sounds odd, but it works, move in straight lines.
  • Going with the flow of cattle slows them down or stops their movement.
  • Going against the flow of cattle initiates or accelerates their movement.
  • Cattle work best when they are ready. You have to get them there.  That means you have to teach, condition and prepare them.  Quality time spent with replacement heifers will pay dividends for years to come.

Beef consumers remain interested in safety and wholesomeness, and today are more concerned with where and how their food was produced.   So as cattle producers we need to think smarter when working our cattle as the old days of “whoop and holler” cattle handling need to be gone.  Whistling at, poking and prodding cattle is unnecessary, counterproductive and will distract cattle from what you really want them to do.

These points are discussed in detail at: