Handling cattle

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Alison Homa, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. Alison Homa

    Alison Homa Well-Known Member

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    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Devon England
    We have just bought some dexters and are now thinking of the practical ways they can be handled, if the vet needs to see them or AI.
    They have been outside all summer, and are now moved into the winter area, access at all times to the barn and field. We are supplimenting the feed with silage and feed, as they will be calfing in January.
    What is the best way to calm them for handling.
    We do not have a cattle crush, but do have some heavy duty wood covered gates.

    Obviously I am begining to get them used to me, by bribing with small handfuls of food and gentle stroking, but one is quite nervous, and I don't want her or me to get injured.

    All suggestions are welcome

    Alison
     
  2. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    Location:
    central New South Wales, Australia
    Welcome back. Where have you been? Did you bring a note to explain your absence?

    Your llocal Agriculture Department (whatever it's called there) extension officer will be able to advise you. They may even have free publications, but if not they'll have good info at a reasonable cost, and recommendations. You are paying them to give people in your position advice, so get your money's worth.

    After you've made use of whatever reading material you can get hold of, see if they will advise you on site. They may have good suggestions as to what you can and should do with the materials you have available. If they have a vet on staff he can also advise you on what a vet would like to see as far as confining stock to work on them.

    I would be inclined to at least build a cattle race with a funnel-mouth from the gates, running it along an existing fence, and with a narrow gate across the end. Fortunately, those heavy gates of yours should be adequate to contain Dexters, but you'll need to back them up with a lot of driven posts.
     

  3. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Western NY
    How many are you talking about? How old are they? Are they horned? Have they been handled before? If you only have a couple, could you put them in a small stall each? Then you can feed, and get them to come more easily for treats-they have to rely on you for everything.You can then start to scratch them and lean over the fence and groom ( don't go in with them!!) All takes time, patience etc. You then work on getting a halter on them when you have gained some trust, then you can tie them THEN you can go in with them and groom more and gain more trust. Don't get between her and the calf though. The more you work with them on a one on one basis the easier I think it is. If you have a herd of them they will calm down eventually, but will never be as tame as working with them one on one.
    The more you are with them, speaking softly and gaining trust the easier it will get.

    Carol K
     
  4. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    Alison, meant to add that we AI'd my heifer with just a halter on, and pushed up against a fence!! She was as good as gold and she's not that well trained but is not a kicker. You can put a gate on a wall, lead her in, and put a strap or another gate behind her, and like Don says, it's pretty easy to build a headgate.

    Sentree, who I hope will read this sent me plans for one for Dexters with pictures, I'm sure she could send them to you. If not I will try.

    Carol K
     
  5. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Location:
    SE Washington
    I built a head catch to AI my Longhorn heifers in. It works great, but their horns are now almost 3 and a half feet tip to tip. I found what they call a Medina Hinge setup for working on cattle with horns, but would work for any cattle. If someone had access to 2 inch pipe they could build it very cheap. Basically what it is, is a 18 inch sections that is cemented in the ground or I guess you could bolt it into a barn wall that is sturdy. You then have two gates on each end that hinge off the short section. The two gates hinge to squeeze the animal between them. There is a drag bar on both gates that dig into the ground and don't let the gate go back until they are lifted up to release the animial. I have not found any good pictures to post.

    I am going to build one since my cows have horns and I can't afford a squeeze shoot.

    Bob
     
  6. Bill P

    Bill P Guest

    I bought a Jersey and would appreciate getting plans or pics of a head gate or other restraining device. This is needed for the vet and for milking on days when she is antsy.
    Thank you.
    Bill P.

     
  7. coso

    coso Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Location:
    Missouri
    Most of the vets around here have portable squeeze chutes, to bring out to peoples places that don't have the facilities to catch.
     
  8. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    In beautiful downtown Sticks, near Belleview, Fl.
    Handleing cattle 101.
    Allways approach them with slight sounds so they know you are there.
    Never lock eyes with a cow, that is a threat to them.
    Approach and dip your head at the same time they do, that is cow body language saying 'I eat grass, I am not a threat to you'.
    Food as a bribe works every time. Sweet feed suggested.
    Never get between mother and calf.
    Dureing a location shuffle, stand still unless you are in danger.
    Allways know your quickest exits location.
    Place their feed on a low table or trough, let them eat as you travel back and forth offering your hand for them to smell from the other side.
    Make the contact area very low stress, no loud sounds, no excessive heat, no outside interferances.
    Once you have their confidance, turn away to cough, sneeze, snort, hiccup, ect so they will get accustom to these sounds.
    Make it appear, as best as you can, that you eat the same things as they do.
    Exit any situtation where it appears as if they are approaching a panic.
    Any stress situtation needs 24 hours before trying to make things happen again.
    Dwell on any cow who appreciates attention within sight of the others.
    Respect the fact that they can hurt you.
    NO, children, dogs, other pets, shiney flickering items, ect.