- December 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm #44338
So, we recently got a jersey heifer…. She is bred to calve in june and is nice looking cow. She was the calf of our friends family cow so handled from birth and fairly used to being around people. She then spent some time in a herd of heifers at a neighboring dairy. This was primarily for breeding. Since she has been on the farm she has caused mayhem. Loading her in the trailer was a bit tricky but not a rodeo. We put her in the barn in an open stall to work with her. The first time I walked the steers near the barn she jumped out to be with them. We got her back in but then she did it again. So she went out to the pasture with the steers. I had to try and switch halters on her to give the owner her halter back (in hindsight I should have just bought her a new one) and once it was off there was no catching her. So, she went out with the far pasture animals were she preceded to knock down the fence and let every body out, twice. The second time she made her way back to the barn were I had just set up three tie stalls for the oxen and her, maybe. With this stroke of luck I was able to corner her in the barn and get a halter on her. She had been tied in the barn for several days now and I can touch her all over, brush her, massage her udder, and she is perfectly calm. This morning I thought I would try and work on her leading. I tried to take her out and then she bolted, out the barn dragging me. I am stubborn enough to not let go. I could have been hurt, but luckily mud is soft and she tired of pulling me at about 200 yards. Once she stopped I pulled her back to the barn and tied her again. I am new to keeping cattle and this whole experience has taught me that I might want to raise my own heifers so they can be as well behaved as my steers. Any advice to dealing with this cow? Can she be taught to lead? (for me this is a requirement on the farm) I am a thousand dollars into her and am lost as to what to do with her. I would like a nice family milk cow but I am questioning the reality of that with this heifer.December 27, 2012 at 10:18 pm #76429Steven FParticipant
Wow, what an ordeal. It sounds like your heifer was never taught to lead as a calf. It can still be done though. We used to exhibit shorthorn cattle at shows (fairs) and we usually didn’t start working on the bulls until they were 15 to 18 months old. We used to use a head stall and not a rope halter as the halters would get too tight around the head of the animal which distressed them. A head stall would become comfortable as soon as the cattle stopped fighting the lead rope.
After they had been tied for a while and stopped fighting the rope we then tied them to the back of a tractor. We had a carry-all with a ring attached and we tied the rope to that. Someone would walk alongside the bull with their hand on the rope as the tractor inched forward. The bull figured that the person holding the rope was actually leading them. Some bulls would give in pretty quickly while others took more time, but we never had a failure.
We also put rings in their noses. They were not led by the rings but we would clip a second rope to the ring as an insurance policy. If they ever did decide to pull away they soon stopped when the ring was pulled (never harshly).
I have never seen a heifer ringed but in may be an option in your case. Seems as though you heifer is not afraid of people – just wants her own way all of the time.
I reckon starting to milk her will be interesting – but not impossible. She needs a lot of handling and every time you do make sure to handle her udder. Just make sure that you don’t get kicked.
SteveDecember 27, 2012 at 11:07 pm #76420jen judkinsParticipant
Yeah, what Steve said…hook her to a tractor. I had a heifer like yours and we ended up shooting her like a deer after she had escaped and would not be caught. I was a novice with cattle as well…not any longer. They either get along with some gentle training, or they come along via John Deere….their choice, lol.December 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm #76418Donn HewesKeymaster
is there any chance that she is not breed? Just wondering.December 28, 2012 at 2:38 am #76427AnonymousInactive
Kevin First off we once had a heifer that escaped and the story was very similar to yours,a lunge for the head and somehow I ended up with a tail and hooves flashing by my head and being dragged across a pasture.I think back and wonder why I didn`t let go a lot sooner than I did. Unhurt but thankfully only family as witnesses ,so I didn`t become a legend. This particular heifer turned out to be one of the nicest animals we ever owned and was high seller in our dispersal.So there is hope for your heifer.
Are you able to tie her away from other cattle, and do you have the time to move her every once in a while. After we stopped milking for a living I raised some calves and would tie them out on the lawn of a small acreage used a leather halter and a chain with a swivel snap drove a pipe into the ground and watched them closely for the first little while until they learn were the end of the chain is.
This is very labour intensive ,but they learn how to lead
Putting them behind a tractor or a 4 wheeler does work put it has to be followed up with training If you want them to lead like a show cow
Also they are totally dependant on you for water and protection (ie dogs or the like) so if your going to be gone afternoon they stay in the barn
Someone mentioned kicking, thankfully I was never hurt but I learned real quick DON`T grab the cow by the leg with your hand.I haven`t met to many people that where strong enough to stop her from kicking, as she lifts her leg put your forearm half way between her hoof and her knee and keep constant pressure if she lowers her leg follow it in, if she raises her leg follow it up just keep constant pressure until she puts her foot on the groundDecember 28, 2012 at 3:04 am #76430
@Donn Hewes 38526 wrote:
is there any chance that she is not breed? Just wondering.
This could be a real possibility as there was no witness. She was in with a herd that was being serviced by maybe one or two bulls. I should probably have her preg tested to be certain. I was able to drag her back to barn, so maybe a tractor is not necessary, but I am worried that she will bolt the next opportunity. I think she just wants her own way, and has learned that she can get it.December 28, 2012 at 8:21 am #76422CharlyBonifazMember
any chance you or your neighbour own a donkey?
tied together the donkey will teach even a bull to be ledDecember 28, 2012 at 11:51 am #76419Donn HewesKeymaster
Just out of curiosity, how does a donkey teach a bull to be lead?December 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm #76431
I am curious about the donkey idea as well. That is not something I have ever seen our heard about.December 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm #76424
heres a link to a YouTube video of a donkey “teaching” a calf to lead. I would hate to see what a full grown bull would do to that donkey if it was tied to it. Poor donkey!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k5qwdK6K6gDecember 28, 2012 at 4:12 pm #76425
Any other ideas or techniques for teaching large cattle to lead better? Some of us have neither tractors nor donkeys… 🙂December 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm #76423CharlyBonifazMember
The pictures I have seen were halter-halter or collar-halter as here
seems like the donkeys were too smart to run into mayor problems but after a week the cattle were easy to be led
first I heard from this was an article in the magazin of our artificial insemination centre, then I was told it used to be arranged similarly in Ireland as wellDecember 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm #76432
The donkey technique seems very interesting and who nows maybe I can find one around here to give it a whirl. My issue isn’t so much leading as bolting. The heifer wants to run, out of fear, and there is no way I can physically stop her from doing that. The best thing I was able to find online came from Gene Logsdon’s blog: http://thecontraryfarmer.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/training-cows/
I think I will try this technique next time I try and take her out, plus I am going to have some other people close by in case it gets out of hand.December 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm #76428Jonathan ShivelyParticipant
We bought a training device for cattle, think TSC or Rural King or the major farm stores have it. It is comprised of chains with rope climber type snaps and a round metal ring that goes over her face like the halter (can be used over the halter). Anyway, when you jerk or she pulls against you this ring tips and puts pressure on two places/sides of her face. We had a family that had a show steer they couldn’t lead, they borrowed this contraption and were leading him in two days. Here is an example of what I am talking about, http://www.showtime-supplies.co.uk/shop/breaking-halters/metal-breaking-halter
Do not tie and leave her with this on! Mine also has another chain and pair of snaps that goes under the throat latch so it can’t be rubbed or pulled off easily. Can easily be made, the connection point of the lead on the front seems to be the “trick”. Even unbroke cows will behave with this on.December 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm #76426
That’s a pretty slick tool, Jonathan, thanks for sharing!
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.