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Stockmanship is key for ranching.

Ryan Brand, an expert in stockmanship, discusses the importance of this skill in managing ranches and livestock. He emphasizes that stockmanship opens up doors to successful ranching and provides confidence and security to ranchers. Want to learn more about stockmanship for your ranch? Keep reading to find out



Ryan Brand begins by stating that he believes stockmanship is for everybody and that everyone should be interested in it because of what it allows them to do. However, he acknowledges that there are naysayers and people with negative attitudes towards stockmanship. He emphasizes that stockmanship is a personal endeavor that requires a genuine desire to improve. Ego, pride, and history can hinder progress in stockmanship, so individuals must be willing to overcome these obstacles.

One of the key points Brand makes is that individuals should focus on the one thing they can control, which is themselves. By controlling their thoughts, ideas, and actions, ranchers can improve their stockmanship skills. Brand also highlights the importance of applying knowledge, stating that knowledge is potential power, but it is only valuable when put into practice. He shares that Bud Williams, a mentor, stressed the significance of knowledge, as it is something that no one can take away from an individual. Even if a rancher faces bankruptcy, divorce, or other challenges, the knowledge they possess can help them rebuild and succeed.


By continuously working on improving their stockmanship skills, ranchers can increase their value and be better prepared for opportunities that may arise. Ryan believes that luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and by being prepared, ranchers can take advantage of opportunities and make themselves better.

Stockmanship is about the importance of learning from mistakes. Making mistakes is necessary for learning and growth. As long as individuals are more right than wrong each day, they can consider their day successful and continue to improve. Being accountable and responsible is also crucial, as it adds value to individuals and makes them more attractive to job opportunities.

Brand has a passion for stockmanship and knows it has benefited him in managing his ranch.

Good stockmanship is essential in the ranching industry. It is not just about feeding carrots or playing the trombone to cows, but rather about understanding and working with the natural instincts and behaviors of animals. Stockmanship can positively impact the performance and well-being of animals.


One of the key principles of good stockmanship is the ability to apply pressure at the right time and in the right way. While it is important to minimize stress and pressure on animals, there are times when applying pressure can be beneficial. For example, when weaning calves, it is important for them to learn how to handle pressure before they are exposed to the chaotic environment of a sale barn. This helps them to better cope with the stress and changes they will encounter.

Another important principle of good stockmanship is understanding the natural instincts of animals and working with them. Animals prefer to be with the herd, and by using feel and timing, ranchers can encourage animals to move in the desired direction. By going parallel with an animal, it tends to slow down, while going against the flow or reverse parallel tends to speed it up. This knowledge can be used in various situations, such as leading animals into a squeeze chute or driving them in a specific direction.

Good stockmanship recognizes that animals have feelings and emotions. They can get excited, angry, or even depressed. It is important for ranchers to understand and respect these emotions, as they can impact the health and well-being of the animals. By stimulating and encouraging animals in a positive way, ranchers can help them to be in a better frame of mind, leading to improved drinking and eating habits.


Creating good movement in animals.

Creating good movement in animals is a crucial aspect of effective stockmanship in the ranching industry. It involves understanding the natural instincts and behaviors of animals and using that knowledge to work with them in a way that promotes calmness, trust, and cooperation. Good movement is characterized by a united and forward engagement, where the animals travel at the same speed and move forward with life in their bodies.

One important aspect of creating good movement is establishing a positive relationship with the animals. This begins with the start of any interaction. Taking the time to get a good start is essential and can make a significant difference in how the animals respond. It is worth noting that getting a good start doesn't necessarily take more time than starting them off on the wrong foot. In fact, as ranchers gain experience and develop a rapport with the animals, the start becomes easier and more efficient.

When moving cows and calves, it is crucial to ensure that all the cows have their babies with them. If some cows take off without their calves, it is essential to address the situation and spend time going parallel with them. The goal is to get them to start thinking about slowing down and reuniting with their calves. This approach focuses on changing the cows' mindset rather than forcing them to do anything. By going parallel with them and allowing them to make their own choices, ranchers can encourage the cows to calm down and reestablish a connection with their calves.

Good movement is also characterized by responsiveness to stockmanship principles. This includes the ability to move left, right, parallel, and reverse parallel in response to the rancher's cues. Animals with good movement are receptive to these cues and can work together as a herd. This level of responsiveness not only makes handling and sorting easier but also promotes a sense of unity and cooperation within the herd.

Additionally, good movement is quiet and calm, especially when it comes to pairs of cows and calves. When cows are not worried about the whereabouts of their calves, and calves are not anxious about their mothers, it creates a more peaceful and harmonious environment. This is achieved through consistent and gentle handling, which helps build trust between the animals and the rancher.

Creating good movement in animals also involves creating the right environment. This includes ensuring that the animals have enough space to move comfortably and that there are no obstructions or barriers that could cause them to become agitated or anxious. Good movement is perpetual, with the front pulling the back and the back driving the front. This constant flow of movement attracts more movement and can be especially beneficial in areas with rough terrain or dense vegetation.

Ultimately, creating good movement in animals is not just about improving their performance and productivity. It is also about promoting their well-being and emotional state. When animals are handled with care, respect, and understanding, they are more likely to feel safe, secure, and content. This not only benefits the animals themselves but also makes the ranching experience more enjoyable for both the rancher and their family and friends.

For more tips on stockmanship and ranching head over to listen to our podcast episode where we talk to Ryan Brand about all things stockmanship in ranching.

The Ranching.FYI is part of an initiative to create an online library of the best information available for ranchers. The team recognizes the need for professional development that doesn't require ranchers to leave their properties for extended periods. By providing access to a variety of quality education the aim is to empower ranchers to improve their practices and achieve greater success.

Ranching.FYI offers a membership that includes a private podcast and YouTube channel and is working on launching multiple online courses that will allow ranchers to delve deeper into specific techniques and learn directly from those who have already found success. These courses, along with the YouTube videos and the podcast, aim to provide ranchers with education that they may not have received otherwise. Are you ready to join the Ranching.FYI Community? Join Here


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