when to start halter training a calf

new2cows

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Hi everyone, my wife and I were just blessed with a new miniature zebu calf last week, we're very excited and want to raise a very people friendly calf to get him ready to sell in the next year or so. It's a bouncy baby bull who is being taught by momma to stay away from those pesky two legged things, (people). Does anyone know of a good video or site that teaches how to train and at what age to start halter training a calf? Any help would be appreciated. :D
By the way, we're very new to cattle and need to learn everything!
 

woodsie

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Halter that calf ASAP!!! I left my giant holstein bull calf too long now he's huge and skiddish...he'll come close but there is no way he's gonna let me get that halter on him without a fight.

My husband thought he was going to play cowboy yesterday and thought he could just pin him in the corner and wrangle him...hahaha! The swift kick to the shins and the calf was running free and clear...no halter. :( It was kind of funny though, I told him that he was crazy strong and full of spunk and that he needed a better plan but I think he now understands where I am coming from. The buggar is growing so fast because he is drinking ALL of my jersey's milk! I need to get them seperated and lead him into the adjoining pasture but he's not gonna go in there unless I can lead him in.

I would love to find out any tricks to get the haulter on them...I may need to rent a real cowboy as I don't think anyone here is qualified to rope a calf. My husband thought if we choked him with a rope till he was almost passed out we could maybe get the halter on him....thanks for the helpful advice hubby. :smack
 

violetsky888

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I'm new to training calves but got two young calves that I decided to halter train. I'm doing it slowly. First couple of days just got them used to me standing near them while eating. Next I started brushing them. (they took to that real quick). Next put a halter in their food and let them eat around it. Next brush them with the halter, especially around their heads. Slipping the halter on is a little tricky since they start backing so you have to be quick with the snap. (maybe pre-velcro the halter to hold it so you get it on the first try, then you can worry with the buckle when they settle again). In your case I would get momma cow used to you brushing her during feeding and train her as well. My cows especially like a good scratching around the knobby top of the head. A day or so after your calf has had the halter on I would tie a hay bale string so he can get used to walking on it and dragging it around. It will break. That's ok, just tie another one on each day. Do for 3 days. Preferably in a round pen when the halter can't snag on anything. Next put a strong lead on at feeding time. When they pull back let them but keep steady pressure on the lead, the second they step towards you/food release the pressure. Just keep each lesson short and sweet ending on a positive note. My calves are training themselves to think its a good idea follow that lead. My back is destroyed and I simply cannot get into a wrestling match with my critters and never strong arm anything. If they want to eat, (I use sweet feed during training) they have to put up with a little training.) I did something similar with my horses. If you want to eat you might have to walk on a tarp or have a cell phone making funny noises. Always a little something going on. Actually I think my horses learned to enjoy small challenges but I'm not getting that impression with cattle, but they do learn. An example. I noticed my black heifer calf would always stand on the other side of my bull calf when I worked with them. So I made a point to move to her side when she was eating and she tried maybe 3 times to position herself on the other side of the bull. She gave up and let me stand right next to her. I brushed her just for a few strokes and left her alone. The next day she didn't move. I did a quick brush and left her be reinforcing the idea its ok to stand next to me. The bull makes things easy for me because he just eats and ignores my antics. You need to convince your cow to stand and calmly eat. Both my calves quickly learned to ignore me brushing them, and surprisingly they prefer heavy hands over a light touch. Oh, I also frequently scratch around the halter which they appreciate because you will need to adjust for growth fairly often so you want him happy with you messing with the halter and haltering. If you want a less hands on approach check out the donkey halter training technique on youtube.
 

MDres

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I would love to find out any tricks to get the haulter on them...I may need to rent a real cowboy as I don't think anyone here is qualified to rope a calf. My husband thought if we choked him with a rope till he was almost passed out we could maybe get the halter on him....thanks for the helpful advice hubby. :smack
It's definitely easier to halter them when they are little, but it can be done when they are bigger. Lucky for the OP, their calf is a Zebu, so it should be small enough to pin in a corner and possibly even pick up. Our Dexter calves were tiny enough we carried them around...

For bigger calves, if you don't own a squeeze chute or stocks, you can pin them in a corner with a panel or gate. If you have a gate that you can swing around to make a triangle with 2 other surfaces, that works great. If not, you can take a tube gate off it's hinges - you should only have to loosen one bolt to do so, and then use that to make your triangle. You don't want to squish them parallel (make a rectangle) unless you have NO gaps - the calf will surge forward and backward and WILL find any gap to bust thru.

On our current property, we used a 12x12 horse stall, and pinned our calf with an 8' pipe gate into a corner of the stall. Gave him a few seconds to think about the situation, and then he stood like a rock while I put on a rope halter, adjusted it, and tied it in place so it can't slip loose. Not all calves will stand that quietly, so you need to make sure you NEVER place an arm or finger into a position where it can get trapped and broken. Keep all your appendages as close to your body as possible - do not reach your entire arm thru to work on the calf.

Commercial stocks and chutes are wicked expensive. You can actually make a pretty sturdy and effective system at home with a home-made head gate and a heavy gate to swing around to squish the bovine against a sturdy wall. I don't have any pictures, but if you need a better explanation I may be able to draw one or look one up online. It is the same system my family has used for generations, before commercial metal manufactured systems were available. Been in the barn for going on 100 years now and still functional (barn is in KS and I am in MD, otherwise I'd go take a picture...).

You could have someone come rope him, but they will have to have a horse, or a tree/post immediately available to snub the roped calf to. Your calf will likely take off like he was shot once that rope settles on his neck, and the "cowboy" will not be able to hold him, nor will he really be able to put the halter on while the calf is fighting at the end of the rope, unless the calf is small enough to throw. If he has a horse, he could possibly drag the calf to a better area for you to work on - we've actually had to drag maverick Hereford cows onto stock trailers with horses before. It's not fun.
 

WildRoseBeef

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Are you going to castrate this calf? He'll be a lot easier to handle in the future when he's done.
 

WyndSyrin

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I have a 6 week old calf that I have halter broke and I can provide you with the steps that I did to get him to accept it. Also I should preface this with a note that I have been bottle feeding this calf since he was 11 days old. I started the training at about 3.5weeks of age, but at a month old would be the ideal

Day one: Put the halter on him and let him stand there with it on for 5-10 min. when he stopped shaking his head to get it off I praised him and then took it off. End of lesson for that day.

Day 2: put it on him and fed him his bottle. He threw a bit of a tantrum when it was on, but I did not let him get away with it(That is the key!! if you let them know they can get away with thrashing around and what not they will never like the halter at all) praised him for doing what I asked and then took off halter.

Day 3-10: Same as above, but at about day 7 I started walking him around the enclosure that he has been in. worked on getting him to come to me. The trick to doing this is hold the lead rope tight and then let the calf figure out that to get rid of the pressure he needs to walk forward. once he does that praise him and end lesson.

Day 11-14: Repeating walking him around the enclosure after feeding him his morning bottle.

Day 15: I started walking him with out giving him his bottle with much success.

Currently I can now walk him on halter around the yard and have little issues with him being stubborn about it. He grazed and waits for me to go back out to put his halter on so he can walk with me.
 

greybeard

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I have a 6 week old calf that I have halter broke and I can provide you with the steps that I did to get him to accept it.
Good info, but the last post in this thread was from 2013, and the person asking hasn't been seen for some time now..

new2cows was last seen:
Sep 27, 2014
 
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