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News and conversation about ranching in the Sierra Nevada foothills
Farmer and sheep
by Dan Macon
on February 15, 2019 at 12:08 PM
This morning, I received the following comment via email from Tina Williams, Bud William's daughter. It offers some useful clarification and perspective on my blog post!  
The first part of the article is really great and does share the main idea of "letting the animals" rather than forcing the animals and the importance of "getting their minds right."  
However, I hope you have a typo at the end of the third-from-the-last paragraph where you say:  
"All of this can be done with yelling, whistling, or using hot shots (or even rattle-paddles) to force the animals to go where we want them to go."  
I assume you mean:  
"All of this can be done WITHOUT yelling, whistling, or using hot shots (or even rattle-paddles) to force the animals to go where we want them to go."  
That's a very important distinction. [DM: Yes - this was a HUGE typo!!]  
In your article you describe using the Bud Box as:  
"The opening at the head of the alley allows the animals to move away from the pressure of the handler working in the Bud Box - this handler simply walks from the opening diagonally through the Bud Box, which induces the animals to move away (and into the alley) in a calm manner."  
I am not really getting a clear idea of what you mean by "diagonally" but the handler should never walk "through" the Bud Box or "induce animals to move away." It's hard to tell just what happens in the video as you don't include any of what happens between shutting the Bud Box gate and letting the first animals into the alley. However, proper use of the Bud Box would be to put only the number of animals that will fit in the alley into the Box, shut the Box gate, walk to the alley gate, open the alley gate, and then work ONLY right beside the alley gate feeding the animals into the alley until the Box is empty. From the video, the handler did that last perfect, and I guess we just didn't see the diagonal part?  
I was able to make a comment on the YouTube video linked to your article suggesting you clarify that, though it worked fine with your "trained" sheep, it's really best to never have animals stand in the Bud Box. You should only put in the number that fit in your alley, work them, then get more and put them right into the alley. Otherwise, you will lose your movement and can have a harder time getting the animals from the Bud Box into the alley.  
It might also be good to mention that, though 8 ft x 10 ft might work fine for these sheep, its best dimensions are 12 or 14 ft by 20 ft for any livestock. And, it would be much better for the gate into the Bud Box to be hinged on the side away from the alley gate rather than the same side like in your sheep video. Again, I bet that's just because you needed to do it that way because of how good posts are located, but if you want an article of benefit to a wider audience, describing the optimum set-up might be best.  
We were very happy to see you did have the Bud Box shaped as a rectangle. Some folks are inserting an angle into the gate into the Box (and still calling it a Bud Box), and that's a really horrible idea and will cause lots of problems with getting stock up the alley.  
Thanks for continuing to share the good word about Bud Williams Proper Stockmanship,  
Tina and Richard  
Hand 'n Hand Livestock Solutions
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