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  #1  
Old 05/26/04, 09:37 AM
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teaching a calf to lead?

Oh my, how in the world do you teach them?? My daughter and i have been working with her little jersey calf for almost two weeks now, her in front and me in back pushing. I dont know if he's dumb or stubborn, or both but he just isn't getting it. He does alot of flopping, where he just falls on the ground and lays there looking at us......mayday mayday..lol

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  #2  
Old 05/26/04, 06:17 PM
 
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First, use a halter, not a rope around the neck. You can get rope halters prety cheap, or rig one up your self. You need a cow halter, not a horse halter. Then start by tying the calf to a solid object. Tie her up short, (about a foot), and high, (about head high). Don't just walk away, keep an eye on her in case she gets in trouble. After she stands tied calmly, without pulling, then start training her to lead. Do it quick, while she is still small. Use a pail of feed to get her to fallow, and DON'T let her eat if she doesn't cooperate. Only use the feed as a small reward, and give it to her on your terms, don't let her bully you into feeding her. Hope this helps.

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Old 05/27/04, 03:53 PM
 
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We halter trained our calf easily. Just put a calf halter on her and let her wear it for a week. It was long enough that she stepped on the end alot and is not smart enough to know to get off. Thus she learned not to pull against the halter when we tried to lead her around.

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Old 05/28/04, 12:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered
Oh my, how in the world do you teach them?? My daughter and i have been working with her little jersey calf for almost two weeks now, her in front and me in back pushing. I dont know if he's dumb or stubborn, or both but he just isn't getting it. He does alot of flopping, where he just falls on the ground and lays there looking at us......mayday mayday..lol
Apply the already given suggestions. But also just spend time with him...brush him or something he likes besides just feeding and leading. a halter and drag rope works good...and what do you do when he flops over? Stop? Try not stopping right away...goose him to get back up. I *don't* mean drag him across the field. :haha: But if he doesn't want to lead...flops over...and you stop...you're rewarding him for misbehaving. I've had a couple of them that'd learn that real well! I finally got mad and kept walking (it was on grass where I could keep momentum going) and I tell ya in about 2 steps the calf would jump back up as it just wasn't any fun at all not getting me to stop! I wouldn't push...slap his rump, but pulling on the head should get a movement.
Calves can be a challenge at times but are fun too. Good luck.
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Old 05/28/04, 05:10 PM
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Of course you are having problems! it's a Jersey! The most stubborn of all animals! The pair of Jersey oxen I had were the most horrible to halter break. I don't suggest using food. I just think it would teach them to look for it all the time, and for them to think they only need to lead if there is food. I've never used it. I also don't suggest leaving the halter on them to drag around unless you are watching them at all times. Too easy for them to get tangled up and possibly hang themselves. (yes, it is possible). It may take some time for the calf to halter break. Work with it everyday. Keep doing what you are doing. If it flops, make it get back up and keep going. Eventually he will realize it's easier to just go where you want instead of fighting you. Good luck.

Jennifer

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  #6  
Old 05/28/04, 05:12 PM
 
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ooops. Guess I wasn't signed in when I posted!

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Old 05/28/04, 10:14 PM
 
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When I bought my holstein heifer as a 5 wk old calf, we were told to halter break by the method youarelovedbygod described. The lead was probably 2 1/2-3 ft long, barely long enough to step on most of the time, but long enough to step on if she was walking with her head bent toward the ground. I now have a 1000 lb.+ 23 month old gal that is very halter broke. The other thing that was mentioned that is important is keeping their head up when you are actually lead them. I guess the concept is they can't run as easily as when their head is down (they can see better with their head down). Hope this helps.

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Old 05/28/04, 11:12 PM
 
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Jennifer, using food as reward is very effective ,if you read my post you will note that I said to make sure the food is used properly, not as a bribe . I have seen kid broke mustangs trained with this method. All stick and no carrot makes for a very unhappy student.

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  #9  
Old 05/29/04, 11:49 AM
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Everyone has their own methods for halter-breaking cattle/teaching them to lead. From my own personal experience, it is easier to train a calf to lead once it is a bit older. We train all our heifer calves to lead, and start working with them between 8-10 weeks, sometimes a bit later.

I would not recommend putting a halter on an animal with a short rope and letting it walk around. Not saying it wouldn't work, but you'd be surprised what kind of trouble any animal can get into with even a short rope.

I would recommend tying the animal with it's head up high (with 10-12" of rope free at most, less would be better). An ideal place to do this is if you have a pole shed, one of the poles. I'd start with a couple hours tied up, and I agree that it is best to stay there, (1) to see that she doesn't get in any trouble; and (2) so she associates you/person with the halter. When you let her down, you might want to leave her still tied up with the halter with perhaps 24-30" of rope and offer some hay and water. Two or three sessions like this and most animals are ready to lead.

One thing to remember is that even a small animal is stronger than most men, so fighting with them is generally a losing battle. You also don't want to reinforce the idea to the calf/animal that the halter is associated with resistance, fighting the lead, etc.

After these first three sessions, it is important to work with them regularly. If you have the time, lead them three or four times a day for 10 or 15 minute sessions. That's how often we would work with our Holsteins we showed. Similar to the show ring, I like to lead cattle walking backwards -- you have much more control. Do make sure to hold the animal's head up while leading, again you have more control and it's consistent with showing. Yes, you'll be walking backwards, but you should have your left hand on the halter where the muzzle rope and neck rope meet right next to the cinching loop, and then hold the free rope in your right hand. You want the animal to respond (stop) by pushing back slightly with your left hand. While leading the animal backwards, you can slow any desire to go to fast or veer by forcing the animal's head up, or putting your left hand on the left side of the animal's face holding the halter and placing the right hand where you'd normally hold your left. If the animal does not want to move from a stop, turn her around (clockwise) and she should move. You don't want to reinforce this jerking/pulling on the halter.

As you work with her regularly, work on stopping and starting, varying the speed with which you lead the animal, turning, and even backing the animal up. With regular work and with time spent grooming the animal, she should be leading proficiently in a couple weeks.

Your behavior around the animal at all times is important in developing good behavior in the animal. Consistent in your approach, firm (animals can sense who is in control), and calm (no yelling, sudden movements).

Things not to do:

(1) Don't try to train an animal to lead with dogs around, kids zipping by on bikes and shouting, etc.

(2) Don't fight with the animal, and it doesn't do any good to slap the animal's muzzle with either hand or rope or any other kind of pounding on the animal.

(3) Wear good work boots, don't be running around with a pair of flip-flops.

(4) When leading an animal, don't let the animal have her head and 5'-6' of rope. If anything happens to spook her, you won't be able to control her that way.

Good luck with your calf.

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  #10  
Old 05/29/04, 12:52 PM
 
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One method used by people who show beef cattle so they can handle 1100 pound steers and heifers in the show ring is to tie them to a donkey. Unless the calf follows where the donkey leads they aren't going anywhere. My renters kids showed several 4H calves, and he mounted a 12 foot gate on to the drawbar of his tractor. The calves were tied in a row to the gate, and his daughter drove the tractor around the farm every evening with the calves being lead right along. This was done for at least one hour every day. Those were big calves over 700 pounds until fair time when they weighed over 1100.

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Old 05/29/04, 02:20 PM
 
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Tinknal, I have never used food to halter break any calf, and they are plenty happy. I don't use a stick to halter break them either...

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  #12  
Old 05/29/04, 02:36 PM
 
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Jennifer, I never criticized your training methods, just shared mine. If it works for you, more power to you. I know what works for me.

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  #13  
Old 05/29/04, 03:33 PM
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I appreciate everyone's suggestions, as this is an endeavor I will also be undertaking soon ...

Thought I'd wait until the little one has developed a pronounced taste for grain, in hopes that I can bribe her with it ... as of yet she could take it or leave it, and definitely doesn't want anything to do with the people who steal her mama's milk every day!

Oh yeah -- she's 3/4 Jersey! :haha:

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Old 05/29/04, 07:17 PM
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My Grandpa used to have me lead his current Jersey to a neighbor's bull once a year; sometimes twice if she didn't take. It was the only time she was haltered and on a lead during the year. Often it would be as far as five miles each way to a good bull.

It was a real rodeo to get her started but once she was going I'd just set a pace and she'd follow. I can't say that any of his cows were ever broke to a halter or to lead, but we got the job done and she always seemed relaxed and relieved to be home that night.

Me too!!!

Haggis @ Wolf Cairn Moor

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Old 05/29/04, 11:11 PM
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well i tied the brat up while i was milking tonight, he learned real quick that he wasn't moving that post. I didn't have time to work with him any other than that, and that was the most convenient time to tie him where i could sit and watch him. When he flops, we did stop and let him rest....bad bad bad. no more rests for flopping. Today he started butting me, wanting to play. i slapped his nose and told him no and left his pen, it was so dang cute it was hard not to join in and play but i just imagined him wanting to play with my daughter when she had him in the arena and was 800 lbs or more.
He is exactly one month old, when should he develop a liking for calf starter? i offer him some and he plays with the feeder mostly. i can get him to nibble from my hands but that's it.
He goes out in the pasture with the dairy goats, he thought he'd play with them, but they are alpines and they showed him right quick was was and wasn't acceptable. He bawled at them, but from a distance. It was funny. There are two other calves with him but he'd rather harass the goats.

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Old 05/30/04, 01:57 AM
 
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Thats a good start. When he stands calm when tied, teach him to give his head. Put 2 rope halters on him. tie him long with one, and work with teaching him to follow with head with the other one. Pull him forward, move him back, turn him left and right. When he respects the halter, start leading him around.

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Old 05/30/04, 02:58 AM
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Unregistered, your calf sounds like a real piece of work! Maybe it's a Jersey thing, eh? :haha:

-- Mine does not like any other critter invading "HER" pasture. Cats, chickens ... she puts her nose to the ground and chases them out!

I can't get mine to eat more than whiff of grain, either. She gets excited when I throw hay in, and starts jumping and bucking in it, but mostly makes a nest out of it and sleeps in the middle. Although she will nibble a little ... sigh!

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Old 05/30/04, 09:20 AM
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willow girl, he is a character that's for sure! He's so tiny and so full of pis and vinegar, it's just so funny. When i go into the barn he bawls and starts spinning round' and round'.
How old is your calf?

Susan

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Old 05/30/04, 12:26 PM
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Libby-Belle was born on the 12th of April.
They grow so fast!

Crias (baby llamas) seem to develop even more quickly ... I watched yesterday as our 2-day-old baby delicately lifted a hind foot, and used it to scratch the back of her front leg. It's amazing she can even keep her balance on those long, spindly legs!

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