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Participants In Cattle-Handling Workshop Learn Less Is More

Andrew Dueck wasn t quite sure what he d get out of a cattle-handling workshop, but the Beausejour teen learned less shouting, chasing, and running translates into more effective herd management.

It used to be we were chasing calves, which was just impossible, said the 16-year-old. Now I ve gone out there and just slowly walked and moved them along the way we got taught at that workshop. And they just go right through the gate.

Dueck and his brother Alec, 17, were among nearly 50 participants who took part in a two-day workshop led by low-stress cattle-handling expert Dawn Hnatow, who was brought to the Interlake in June by the Lundar Agricultural Society.

Hnatow, who studied under American cattle-handling guru Bud Williams, spent two days helping handlers understand how to work with animal instinct and body language to move cattle.

Many participants, like Dueck, didn t really know what to expect, said Debbie Wimmer, a Lundararea cattle producer and ag society member who helped organize the workshop.

Most people thought they knew what they were doing, but they wanted to see what else they could learn, she said. I think they were surprised at her techniques and what they could use on their farms.

Afterwards, many remarked on how effective a slower pace can be, said Wimmer. Organizers also wanted to show that it s safer.

A cow doesn t want to be pushed, said Wimmer. It will turn on you.

The society is bringing in another expert in herd handling this month. World champion stock dog expert Elvin Kopp of Westerose, Alberta will be giving a two-day workshop Oct. 21-22 at the Lundar fairgrounds on how to best use stock dogs when cattle handling.

A lot of people have dogs but they re not using them to their full potential, said Wimmer. Eldon is an expert in how to have your dog in control and in teaching low-stress handling of livestock.

Once again, organizers want to show that putting less stress on cattle is also less stressful and safer for the handler.

The two workshops are sponsored by Farm Credit Canada and the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association. Registration deadline for Kopp s workshop is Oct. 19. Call (204) 739-5584 or (204) 762-5649 for more details. Hnatow will be back for the Manitoba Grazing School in Winnipeg Dec. 6.

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It used to be we were chasing calves, which was just impossible. Now I ve gone out there and just slowly walked and moved them along the way we got taught at that workshop. And they just go right through the gate.

ANDREW DUECK, 16

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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