Cows are bit 'too friendly' - need some advice

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by j.r. guerra in s. tx., Sep 7, 2004.

  1. j.r. guerra in s. tx.

    j.r. guerra in s. tx. Well-Known Member

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    My wife bought two calves this past spring, and they are going up quickly. I warned her not to allow the calves to become to friendly, as they can be dangerous.

    Well, she took my advice (for once :haha: ), but to no avail. The calves (now up to about 350 - 375 #s each) come up to greet us, and they are a bit intimidating - they charge full bore until about 15 feet away, and stop about five feet from our occupied footsteps. I'm afraid someday, just out of fun, they are going to do some bodily harm. We have kids, a six year old boy and two year old girl, so the concern also is for them.

    I'm not a stranger to cattle - at our ranch, I carried a big bore handgun for emergency use when I was in confined spaces (i.e. corral) with them. Never had to use it - those cows were much more docile, but these Beefmasters are more rambunctious.

    Can anyone tell me a humane way to let the cows know 'I like you as a friend - now back the heck off, willya'? So far sticking out our arms stops them - they toss their head back, and very occasionally give the 'do you feel lucky punk' headtoss. I guess I could carry a firearm - but we are in the city limits, and this could get kinda messy if law enforcement comes around.

    Any suggestions? Sure appreciate it.
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You don't shoot your own calves. If you don't want them to come to you, Get a sturdy Willow switch or a plain old whip, and let them know what you won't put up with. They are still babies. They don't mean you any harm.
     

  3. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Wow, I never thought of this. Yikes.

    My calves, after starting out skittish, suddenly decided they want to be my best friends, and now follow me around licking me whenever I go out in the pasture. I thought it would be rather handy to tame them (makes it easier to handle them) but never considered the possibility of getting hurt.

    It seems most cows have an inborn fear of people, though. Even the friendliest ones in the herd where I work (and there aren't many) will 'get up' when told to do so.
     
  4. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    I'm with Uncle Will on this one, a little willow switch layed liberally about the head and ears will teach them that such monkey business is not to be tolerated.

    You don't have to hurt them just annoy them a bit and they'll back off.
     
  5. bdfarmer

    bdfarmer Member

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    I guess naivete can work for or against you and in this case I've been lucky. My two pets (pest, if you swap the last two letters) have never come close to hurting me or anyone else. Well, 'cept maybe an unexpected switch in the face. They "charged" me almost from day one and well into their short lives of five years. 350 pounds is peanuts. Try it with 1,000 or more! It never ceases to amaze me how so much mass of hoof, flesh, bone, horn, spit and sh_t can get so airborn and gyrate in at least three differant directions at the same time. And do all this on the run with a smile and then stop on a dime ta boot. But then they're handled at least twice daily, stabled at night, frequently brushed in the morning, etc. I swear Monique talks to me. I mean it. She hums low down in her throat. We'll talk back and forth for five or tens minutes sometimes. It's a trip. Course I don't ever want to take anything for granted, especially during estrus. And if Mabel's riled up at something, say a feral dog or pig, I don't try and stay all cuddly with her.
     
  6. pygmywombat

    pygmywombat Well-Known Member

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    If you are considering carrying a handgun when you are working with a pair of calves maybe you shouldn't have them. And kids should never be in a corral with them, especially when they are at a playful age and think everyone is a playmate.

    As long as they are stopping instead of smashing into you I wouldn't worry. They are calves, calves love to run and bounce around. You haven't seen anything until you have a 1000 lb steer coming running towards you at full tilt and come to a screeching halt a few feet away.

    Try feeding with a fence in between you or keeping them with a constant supply of hay or pasture so they do come rushing up. They generally will mellow a bit with age and even become standoffish with you and start to do their own thing instead of coming up to visit.

    Claire
     
  7. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    If the only time your in with them is when you feed their reaction is very normal, same as it would be with a puppy. Move with them when your not carrying feed, they need to see that not all the time they get a reward for comming at you. A hotshot also works well, there is 108 head here includeing an 1800 pound daddy, we walk among them at will by being slow and quite and smooth in our motions.
     
  8. j.r. guerra in s. tx.

    j.r. guerra in s. tx. Well-Known Member

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    A very good point Pygmywombat - I didn't make that clear, about having children in the pasture.

    The children usually follow along behind us, and we keep a close eye on them. But when your hands are occupied with carrying a five gallon bucket of 'cow chow' (that molasses flavored seed mix) and that cow decides 'this is the time I want some quality time' with you, you just don't have time to watch where you are going and keeping an eye on the cow and keeping an eye on the kid. The kids think the cows are playing - they move forward and want to pet them. They don't realize how much force can be exerted by even a playful headtoss - broken ribs are very easy to aquire. Thank God they don't have horns.

    Nature was pretty deficient, not giving me an extra eye or two on the back of my head. :no: This most disconcerting thing is when you walk away, and they hang back 100 feet or so, then decide to make a rush for you and turn at the last minute. Gotta keep on stealing glances over your shoulder - man, thats annoying.

    This isn't our first experience with cattle - both my wife and I have families with long term experience with cattle ranching. Just haven't had this experience with very playful cattle - cows are naturally curious and will walk up to you just to see what you are, but I've never had 'big puppy dog' frolicking like this before. This isn't just a short greeting either - my wife has been cutting weeds with a 'D' cutter for an hour and still have had those cows not lose interest in her. I know they don't mean any harm, and I don't want them frightened of us. You work with the animal, not strongly force / push them to do what you want. I give them a soft pat on the snout and thats it - "Away with you now, Chula (pretty one), I've got stuff to do".

    I was just curious to see what measures could be taken - a leather quirt sounds like a good idea. Throwing light objects at them used to work for my wife's Mom. My grandfather, a lifelong cattle rancher, carried a stout cattle cane which could give a healthy poke to **** them away. He still did keep a .45 Peacemaker on him at all times when in the chutes / corrals - just can't afford to take chances. This was in a pretty crowded corral, which were going to be dipped / medicated.

    Thanks to all for your responses - I appreciate it.