GFM Network News

Applying the principles of low-stress handling requires an eye for detail. 

Little things can help improve flow of cattle

There are some easy fixes that make a difference, says long-time vet

Reading Time: 4 minutes There’s no ‘silver bullet’ system that will have cattle flowing perfectly, eliminate welfare issues, and guarantee a positive experience for the handler. But there are some easy ways to make them better, says Dr. Roy Lewis, who has seen, and worked in, a lot of systems. Here’s his list of tips. Give ’em space “The […] Read more

Animal science professor Red Williams, shown here in 2000 touring the old University of Saskatchewan barn with University of Wyoming research scientist Mary Humstone, died March 26 at age 93. (

Animal science professor Red Williams, 93

Memorial services will be held “at a later date” for renowned Prairie animal science professor Charles “Red” Williams, who died Monday at age 93 leaving a legacy of work in livestock care and ag extension. Williams, born in Regina and raised on farms in Saskatchewan and Alberta, served in the Second World War on the […] Read more

You may have the hat and the horse and the big old belt buckle — but that doesn’t mean you need to handle cattle the cowboy way, say Tina Williams and Richard McConnell.

Proper stockmanship, the Bud Williams’ way

If you want to build trust in your cattle, apply the right kind of pressure 
on them and learn to take two steps back

Reading Time: 3 minutes Cow whisperer’ Bud Williams used to have a saying when he was working cattle: “Slow is fast and less is more.” Now, four years after his death, Bud’s daughter and son-in-law are carrying on that tradition by teaching proper stockmanship — the Bud Williams’ way. “Cattlemen have been led to believe that the only way […] Read more

When cattle balk while being processed, they are trying to tell you something, 
says Dr. Elizabeth Homerosky.

Tips to reduce stress and up safety when handling cattle

It starts with keeping cattle calm and identifying hazards in your current handling facilities, say experts

Reading Time: 4 minutes Keep calm when handling cattle — especially if you want safe working conditions. Attitude, confidence, as well as the general mood sets the tone when handling cattle, says veterinarian Dr. Cody Creelman. “I can barely count the number of times I’ve seen situations where things are nice and calm, steady, quiet, and proper,” said Creelman. […] Read more

Equipment salesman Jack Nester offered up some straight talk on 
S-alleys at a recent facility design workshop.

Pressure and cattle positioning promote flow in handling systems

These simple changes to cattle-handling facilities can improve flow and reduce stress in the animals

Reading Time: 3 minutes If you want to build a cattle-handling facility with good flow, you’ve got to get back “to the very basics” of cattle handling. “If you don’t understand the cattle to start with, you can’t ever build a facility that’s going to be 100 per cent foolproof,” said Jack Nester of Nester Livestock Equipment. Good flow […] Read more

a cattle handling system

Don’t rush when upgrading or replacing a handling system

You’ll be living with any changes for a long time, so it pays to do your research and seek expert advice

Reading Time: 3 minutes You’re going to invest in a new cattle-handling system, but there are so many options, you’re feeling confused. Here are some things to consider: Crowding tubs or Bud Box? A crowding tub is designed to move cattle from a wide group alley into a narrow single-file alley. Like the Bud Box, they rely on the […] Read more

Reduce stress when handling cattle

Reduce stress when handling cattle

Two-hour workshop on March 26

Reading Time: < 1 minute Curt Pate and Kent Fenton will present a two-hour workshop on low-stress cattle handling and body condition scoring at the 2015 Livestock Care Conference in Calgary on March 26. Pate, a stockman from Montana, is an internationally recognized expert on livestock-handling practices. “Negative pressure creates stress, positive pressure creates contentment,” Pate says. Fenton is a […] Read more

cattle eating at a trough

Expert says go with the flow when working cattle

Dylan Biggs says there’s no ‘magical facility’ that will keep 
cattle calm and quiet — the biggest factor is how they are handled

Reading Time: 4 minutes Thanks to high cattle prices, many producers may be thinking of investing in a handling system. The goals may be simple — such as improving efficiency, reducing animal stress or allowing one person to safely process cattle. But what that system looks like is left to the individual producer. “There is no magical facility that […] Read more

Livestock producers need to re-think some of their practices, says Temple Grandin.

Temple Grandin says producers ‘pushing biology too hard’

High-profile animal welfare expert says producers must 
address livestock issues or society will dictate solutions

Reading Time: 4 minutes Farmers, you have issues — downer dairy cows, structurally unsound cattle, and osteoporosis so bad in laying hens that huge numbers of them suffer broken bones. That’s the latest message from world-renowned animal scientist Temple Grandin, and it comes with a stark warning: Producers need to address these issues before society steps in and dictates change. […] Read more

Most of the problems people have when handling livestock are due to human nature, says livestock-handling expert Dylan Biggs.

Give up the chase — things you need to know about livestock handling

Cattle are quick learners — so earn their trust 
by not adding to their fears, says handling expert Dylan Biggs

Reading Time: 3 minutes Want to handle cattle more effectively? Then curb your instincts. “A lot of what we struggle with when it comes to working livestock is just human nature,” Hanna rancher and handling expert Dylan Biggs told attendees at the recent Western Canadian Grazing Conference. Livestock are prey animals and humans are predators. So we follow our […] Read more