The SE Cattle Advisor blog (http://www.secattleadvisor.com/)posted a wonderful essay on stockmanship this week. This essay was written by Dr. Lee Jones of the UGA School of Veterinary Medicine. You can read the full essay by clicking here. Here is the first paragraph to start you off:
“Stockmanship, like sustainability, is a commonly used word that many might find hard to clearly define in a few words. Stockmanship has been defined as the knowledgeable and skillful handling of livestock in a safe, efficient, effective, and low-stress manner and denotes a low-stress, integrated, comprehensive, holistic approach to livestock handling (Stockmanship Journal). However, stockmanship is more than just handling. It is concerned with the whole life of the animal in our care. We used to call it animal husbandry or stewardship. First and foremost, stockmanship is livestock centered. By that I mean, we must consider the natural behavior and needs of the animal or group. There are 3 essential elements of good stockmanship: an environment that provides protection and comfort appropriate for the species; adequate, well designed facilities that enables low stress handling; and a comprehensive, herd health management program.”
A good stockman will improve animal comfort and reduce stress on his or her animals by protecting them from conditions like heat stress or extreme cold. The online course on animal agriculture and climate change I’ve mentioned earlier (www.animalagclimatechange.org) discusses some of the adaptations stockmen might have to make in future years to keep their herds healthy and productive in a warmer climate.