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Tagged: ox training
- January 20, 2016 at 6:56 pm #87349
I have a yearling Brahma ox I started to train at 7 months of age. He was leading well for a couple of months and then he began to balk at walking with me. I never allowed him to bolt or get away from me, but when he decided to refuse to move, I couldn’t do much with him. I have no help or I would have had someone give him a bit of a push, and I have no mule or anything to help him lead. He does not respond to a whip or stick. Brahmas can be very headstrong. Then about a month ago, he began to try to head-butt me. He gets pretty serious about it. Luckily he has no horns yet. I do reprimand him sharply and yank his head up, but he is getting very strong. I feel I have lost control. He loves to be brushed and handled, but his butting habit is a real pain in the butt. How do I stop that behavior? Getting rid of him is not an option. He is a beautiful animal out of prize stock.
I raised other oxen (Brown Swiss), and before him I had a wonderful Brahma bull I could do anything with, even ride.January 21, 2016 at 10:30 am #87358dominiquer60Moderator
That is a tough one. You need to find something that he responds to. I know beef showmen that teach leading by tying to a tractor, but it would be a last resort for most teamsters if at all. The head butting needs to stop too. Think about what a cow would do if she were head butted and didn’t like it. How much force would she use to reprimand him, it can take a lot sometimes. Since we aren’t as big as a cow, humans have to be more creative about it.
I am sorry that I don’t have a better answer for you, also some animals just don’t make good workers.
ErikaJanuary 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm #87361
Thank you Erika. I have considered the tractor, but some people have actually lost cattle to that trick because they panic. I don’t want to make him too shy, but I have considered a cattle prod for the head butting. It really is a shame because I was so determined to have a replacement for my beloved Brahma bull. He died in the spring. He was 15.
I might go ahead and try to get a pair of younger steer for working. I just hate to give up.January 21, 2016 at 1:55 pm #87362CharlyBonifazMember
“I might go ahead and try to get a pair of younger steer for working. I just hate to give up.”
Would be my way, learnt the hard way; always thought I could handle the animal; in the end it took a different team to show me how much easier working is with cattle, when you don’t always have to guard your back. That was when I finally decided it was not worth all the trouble …January 21, 2016 at 5:39 pm #87366Crabapple FarmParticipant
You can’t win with strength – that is his game and it sounds like he is figuring out that he is bigger than you. That is a dangerous thing for him to learn.
You need to find a different interaction, one that he can’t win at.
I find the best results with pushy cows to be smacking their nose – it is not an interaction that they know how to respond to, so it takes them aback. Either with hand, whip, or boot. Ideally as soon as he lowers/shakes his head at you, not after he butts you.
For an Ox, I would seriously consider a nose ring. I’ve never used one, but it sounds like whip and halter are no longer going to work for you, at least not until you’ve reestablished dominance.January 21, 2016 at 6:50 pm #87367Crabapple FarmParticipant
Thinking about it while feeding hay, I wanted to add a couple points.
Is he showing signs of fearing you? A fearful animal is dangerous.
As Carl pointed out in a different thread recently, dominance is not the same as leadership. While an ox that tries to dominate you is dangerous and unacceptable, what you need to establish is leadership even more than dominance, and excessive reprimands to maintain dominance can compromise your ability to maintain leadership.
I still think a nose ring might be a way to proceed, as long as it is used as a tool to clarify leadership and not a punishment to subdue.
Also, ears are another sensitive point to smack when he lowers his head, outside of the language of cattle but clearly understood by them.
Make sure in your daily chore routine that he is following your leadership in order to access food. Part of that, is not putting yourself between him and food, but making you be the path to and provider of food.January 28, 2016 at 12:20 pm #87442
Thank you all. Crabapple Farm, you make some good points. He doesn’t fear me, because he allows me to groom him all over. He never tries to kick and he lets me touch his face and scratch his neck. I wonder if he is feeling discomfort because of his growing horns. Does that happen? He is a year old now, but they are just now starting to bud out. I have tried punching his nose, and that did surprise him. He responds to “back” when I bring a bucket of feed, so he isn’t violent. Yet he is only about 800 lbs. When he grows to his full size, a head butt could be indeed dangerous (my grown bull was 2500 lbs, but he was really gentle). I will ask the vet about a nose ring.
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.February 22, 2016 at 8:45 pm #87807MajorFordsonParticipant
So how did you go with this? One of your other posts makes it sound like you’ve given up and decided to start over with other animals.March 18, 2016 at 5:31 pm #88434AnneParticipant
To me he seems not so dramatic. Most of the animals I have trained had to learn leading twice. They walk nicely when they are small calves. Then at about 10 month-1,5 years they often refuse to walk. Sometimes you cant even get them out of the pasture any more. They don^t want to leave the herd anymore. During that period I train them in the pasture / close to the others. Left turn, right turn, get up and whoa. From time to time I try if they are willing to walk again. And one day the will walk again. It^s a period. They outgrow it.
When they start to butt, I most times ignore it and simply correct their position. I put the head away from me and step to their side. If they allow me to stay there I scratch them. I show them, that I^m interested in social licking, but not interested in had butting or play fighting.
At the same time I train them to step back.
I reward them, if they step back.
Slow by slow he will connect stepping back with the reward and forget about being aggressive.
My goal is to develop a relationship, that is based on trust and respect.
Being cruel is not helpful.
Most cattle have a lot of respect in the beginning. Especially if they are older when the training begins. Some can^t be touched. So I try to gain their trust first. I brush them a lot and train them to follow me. Get up. Who. Left turn. Are the first things I train them. (following commands)
After a while they loose their fear and get enthusiastic: “Hey, I can understand humans! Hey I know, which movement she is doing next! She is even doing social licking. May be she will play with me. May be, she will fight with me…”
This is what your calf is asking now.
I personally play with mine. I run around with them and let them buck around me. But I dont want to fight with them. So I avoid to stay frontal to them. I correct their position, if they butt me and train them to step back and to do the right turn. (go away movements)
If I got their trust it is time to maintain respect.
But I dont have to be cruel. I only have to be patient and consistent. I want them to respect my personal space. That^s all. If they don^t do it, I imitate the sound of an angry animal and make ssssst. I correct my position to the animal and step to it^s side. Sometimes I let them step back, or I ignore them. And I add speed and play with them. I don^t want to fight with them. But I want to interact with them. So I offer something else. Either playing/ running or brushing.
Stepping back is connected with the fighting situation, because one animal is pushing the other one away. So the often get angry if you want them to step back. It^s important to avoid this. So I reward them immediately (after one, or to steps). And try to get one more step next time.
Sometimes it is best to train them to step back in a relaxed situation and to ignore the butting. Most times they are simply full of joy to see you. So they jump around you and offer some games. So I open the gate and run around with them. I suppose he is a fast thinking animal. So give him something to think, and something new to play with. And other cattle who fight with him.
March 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm #88435AnneParticipant
- This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Anne.
Fist you have an animal with a lot of respect and no trust
Next you have an animal with a lot of trust and no respect
And after two years both of you have both. Trust and respect.March 23, 2016 at 9:23 am #88460
Thank you, Anne. I sometimes do not check my email because things start getting busy early in the deep South, so sorry for the delay. I appreciate your advice. Also Majorfordson, I’m not sure about giving up. I have changed around the way I deal with him. I feed him in a spot where he is separated from me. I can easily attach a lead to secure him. Then I enter the field and brush him, remove any ticks, and handle him. He has calmed down quite a bit, but I think it’s because I don’t try to lead him. It is really frustrating for me because I am not one to give up on an animal, but he was becoming dangerously aggressive. I want to try to lead him again, but Anne, I don’t know how you can simply ignore a thousand pounds of head butt. I really also would not try to frolic with a large, aggressive animal. I have never seen him frolic with other animals. He is as serious as a heart attack. Quite different from other cattle I’ve had. One would think he hadn’t been denuttered. He is growing rapidly and has gone from 300lbs to 1000lbs in eight months. I don’t know how. His sire was 2500lbs. Yet, he is such a loving animal when I am on the other side of the fence. He puts his big head on my shoulder and licks my face. He begs to be scratched. I will try again and let you know how it goes.March 23, 2016 at 6:09 pm #88461CharlyBonifazMember
it will only work if both of you can trust each other
if you have second thoughts, he will be quick to pick that up on your body language …
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