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Taming a bull

Discussion in 'Behaviors & Handling Techniques - Cattle' started by BlueMoonFarms, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. Mar 20, 2019
    BlueMoonFarms

    BlueMoonFarms True BYH Addict

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    How do you make a young bull friendly? Friendly as in they'll let you walk up and touch them without fuss but not so friendly they see you as a target and want to plow you into the ground.
    Any bull is dangerous I get that, but I want to make this little guy as docile as possible.

    20 months old- miniature zebu. So far I've been going into his pen every day and catching him, petting him on his side and back and walking him around on a lead.
    He's eh on the lead, he'll walk slow but he does let me walk him.
    When he's in the pen he's 50-50 as to whether or not he'll run in circles to get away or stand there and let me slowly walk up and scratch him.

    If there's anything I should NOT be doing feel free to voice it.
     
  2. Mar 21, 2019
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    Turn your back on him or trust him 100%.....ever.

    How many females is he going to be servicing?
     
  3. Mar 21, 2019
    BlueMoonFarms

    BlueMoonFarms True BYH Addict

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    Perfect. Things I already know not to do.

    He will be in with two heifers around his size. Three maximum, but definitely two.
     
  4. Mar 21, 2019
    farmerjan

    farmerjan Herd Master

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    I do not want my bulls to be "friendly", I like them to be tolerant and accepting. One thing, I do not go up to any of my bulls. I want them to come to me. If I get in their space, I am crowding them and they will react sometime, some day, someway. You need to study a bit on cattle and their flight zone and such.
    I do not have any experience with the Mini Zebu's. We have full size angus, limousin, red poll, and have handled a couple of dairy bulls. The jerseys are supposed to be the worst, yet I have had some decent interactions. I have always had them to come to me so that they do not think I am invading their space. The ones we bottle raised were a little different, but again, I respect their space. Some will want more attention than others.

    You did not say if you raised him from a calf or got him as an older animal. That will make a difference as to his attitude and reactions to you.
    I think that if he is accepting of a halter, and some leading then you are in the plus side. He may never "like " to be handled.
    Some cattle like to be brushed. Use a SOFT bristle brush. The brahma/zebu breed is bos indicus as opposed to the more familiar/ common breeds like angus hereford that are bos taurus. I have been told that although the indicus are more insect and heat tolerant they have more sensitive skin so you would want to use a soft brush. That may be the ticket to get him to be more friendly. But, grain/treats are your best bet to get him more accepting of being in his space.
    As @greybeard has said, don't ever trust him. You made the comment that "tell you something you don't know". But I wonder after 50 years of cattle dealings and experience, if many people just tend to forget it. And dealing with a "smaller breed" many people tend to think of them as pets and not as "animals". You have got to realize that they all have their own personalities, and he just may not want to be bothered.
    We had a Red Poll bull that was the sweetest dispositioned bull there ever was. I could walk up to him in the field anywhere. Take a bucket, and load him into an empty trailer in the middle of a field. He loved to have his ears scratched. He was one of the best for settling cows, yet I NEVER saw him breed a cow. He got arthritis and we finally had to dispose of him when it became painful for him to get up and down and we decided that it wasn't fair to make him suffer through another winter in that much pain. But he was 1 in a million. Still I never turned my back on him.
     
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  5. Mar 21, 2019
    BlueMoonFarms

    BlueMoonFarms True BYH Addict

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    Ok, so its best to have him interested in coming up to me instead of invading his space per say. Good idea. I like that.
    He's 27 inches tall at a year and a half old so he's going to be tiny, that is why we got him. We want a small pair of miniature cattle for our little homestead, don't really care that they don't produce much, we just love the breed and so does our daughter.
    Our daughter is the primary reason why I want to tame him as much as physically possible.
    Obviously, we will teach her to never, ever, no matter what, go into the boy pens without an adult. We have rams, bucks, and now the bull, but sometimes **** just happens no matter how prepared or diligent you are and I am aware of that. So I'd like him to be as friendly as possible to hopefully avoid any injuries.

    There is nothing wrong with stating or restating the obvious. Never trust a bull, never trust a ram...
    I just hope he can grow or will grow and keep this mild and gentle temperament that he seems to have.
    I have a rubber curry brush that i've been using, but we also have a soft brush to. I didn't know that they had a softer skin so that is very good info thank you. We will be gentler and switch brushes every now and then to see what he likes vrs doesn't.
     
  6. Mar 23, 2019
    farmerjan

    farmerjan Herd Master

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    I am glad to read that you seem to understand the basics of animals. One thing, not only do you never trust a bull, but a female with a newborn is more dangerous than a bull . I have been run through and over fences and such by a cow that you never would have suspected was going to get upset. Hormones can go crazy through the birthing process. Be aware of it. Normally most are fine if they are used to people. But they don't give warnings like a bull often will.
    One question, if you are not concerned about making money with these cattle and have them for yours and your daughters enjoyment, why a bull?? Having a couple of females is one thing. Even wanting a calf, but there is artificial insemination that would be cheaper in the long run with none of the bull issues.
     
  7. Mar 25, 2019
    BlueMoonFarms

    BlueMoonFarms True BYH Addict

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    Ah yes, i've read that frequently and watched many bad videos. Momma cows can be crazy. The heifer's we're getting were both bottle raised and are super friendly as well as tiny like him, so hopefully as long were diligent we shouldn't have too many problems. Fingers crossed there.

    My husband wants to know if we should look into a cattle prod just in case?

    The reason why we have the bull is a long story. The short version of it is- we arrived at a farm to look at some heifers, saw the conditions and said screw it only to notice him, alone and so emaciated that he was hunched and down on his back dewclaws, barely moving, up to his belly in poop and muck in a stall, missing hunks of hair and COVERED in scabs and an actual divot in his back from a pour on gone wrong, and knew that if we left him he'd be dead. The heifers were in OK condition comparatively, so we got the bull. They still charged us an arm and a leg for a half-dead cow, but he was registered and we were able to get in touch with the original breeder who is actually apart of a Zebu registration board of directors. He comes from good stock which is good and he only keeps well-tempered bulls for breeding which is reassuring.
    But now we have a bull. And yes once we had our vet confirmed everything wrong, do tests and what not, we reported the people immediately. How anyone could let an animal get in THAT kind of shape in only a few months of having it is beyond me.
    Not a good experience...
     
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  8. Mar 25, 2019
    farmerjan

    farmerjan Herd Master

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    Fully understand the humanitarian side of getting the bull. You are working with an animal that had a very bad life and you may only wind up with him being tolerant. I think you are on the right track and are probably doing most everything right. I tried to be a little cautious in my original response, because so many are CLUELESS and want things to be all "sweet and happy like ferdinand" and just don't get the whole animal mentality thing. I think you do. Good for you being willing to take this abused animal and trying to make his life better.
    Since you have gone the route of being in touch with the original breeder, and it seems like you have a good amount of common sense, I think that you will be fine. Give him some time, give him good interaction with you. Let him believe you are "the good guys" and he will come around with whatever he is willing to give.
    NO I do not suggest a cattle prod. We run 175 brood cows, have 10 mature bulls at any one time. We still don't own one. There are a few times that one would have been handy to get a cow up, but do not ever use one against an animal that is aggressive. You will only ever make them madder. We have used one on occasion when we can't get one to move up into the chute when we are working cattle... but that is seldom at most. A good stout cane, and a cattle sorting stick is the most you should ever have to use. If an animal gets overly aggressive, hitting it across the nose is a good "last resort". The nose is sensitive, that is why full grown bulls have rings in their noses.... you can literally lead them around by the ring in their nose.
    If the animal is that aggressive, then it needs to have a "Big Mac Attack" (sold for slaughter) or be in the freezer anyway.
     
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  9. Mar 25, 2019
    BlueMoonFarms

    BlueMoonFarms True BYH Addict

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    Yeah, it wasn't good.
    We'll see how he does, and as long as he doesn't turn into a terror, which I don't think he will, then he can stay. Otherwise its the freezer. I wrote this before I read the last bit of your reply. Yes, we do not believe in keeping an aggressive animal around and definitely do not agree with letting one breed to pass on that streek.
    And no worries, many folks are clueless when it comes to animals so I completely get it. I'm good with the knowledge that it's not all rainbows and unicorns in Ferdinand land lol

    I am however very new to cows. Sheep and goats I can probably tell you anything you could ever need or want to know. Cows not so much, which is why i'm asking a lot of questions and trying to be sure i'm doing the right thing. This guy had a ****ty start so I want to be sure I don't screw up his chances to stick around.

    Gotcha, no to the cattle prod!
    We use a wooden sheep crook every time we go into the ram pen so we can easily incorporate the same rules for going into his.
     
  10. Mar 26, 2019
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    How do you use the sheep crook? I have sheep and I think I need one.

    I would have bought the bull too. We bought a jack donkey like that once. He was covered with rain rot, no hair on his legs and hadn't seen a hoof trim in years-his hooves were curled up, I don't know how he even stood up, much less walked. I totally get where you are coming from.
     
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