Heifer kicks blower...anyone got any tips?

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shortyjock89

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We have a spring born heifer that is completely broke other than she kicks like no tomorrow when you go to blow her legs out.  She kicks HARD.  You can touch all over her without her moving an inch, but as soon as that air moves across her legs, she freaks out.  There's no show she has to be at or anything, not until Feb, but we like to rinse/blow our heifers a fews times a week during the winter, so if anyone has any ideas, they would be much appreciated.

Here's what I plan to do: Put her in the old steel chute, and wire up short gates inside it.  then, while im on the outside of the gates, blow her legs and let her kick the gates/chute until she gets tired of it...how does that sound?
 

knabe

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get one of those anti kicker thingy's that goes in front of their hooks.  i'll look for the pic, also dl posted another version in a catalog once.
 

shortyjock89

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Ok, I gotcha, I know what those are.  I know this might sound funny, but I kind of want to get the problem soved in the heifer's psyche, I want her to not be afraid of the blower anymore, that has to be what the problem is.  She's a real sweetie except for this little problem.

I'm gonna look into getting one of those Can't Kick things..that's what they're called right?
 

knabe

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here's one version that seems stout

http://www.jefferslivestock.com/ssc/product.asp?CID=2&pf_id=0027548

agree on the behavior, work down, quit before she kicks, move more each session, but always quit before she starts to unweight her foot, pet, do something else.  basically desensitization.
 

SWMO

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Had a steer that kicked at everything that touched his legs.  When he kicked I would repeat doing what ever had made him kick until he had kicked himself out.  I wouldn't want to put the heifer in a grooming chute to do this because if she repeatedly kicks the chute she could hurt herself.  Just stand back out of reach and and blow on her until she is understands that the air is not hurting her.  Anyway this worked for us.
 

ROAD WARRIOR

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I wouldn't put her in a chute or behind gates either, nothing is worse than seeing one with a broken leg. Take your time and spend HOURS with the blower not just on the legs but all over her body. In time she will learn that it is not going to hurt her. Be very careful though, habitual kickers are very dangerous.
 

shortyjock89

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Well, shes's pretty well broke of it now...i tied her with her head up (just a little up, not jacked to the sky), and i blew on her with it for about 30 minutes...she kicked like crazy for about 5 minutes, but after that she was decent about me putting it on her legs...before i blew her out, i clipped all over her (including legs) and she was just fine for it.  she never has cared about what you do to the rest of her body, she just never liked getting her back legs blown.  Now, IDK about how she'll do with the blower tomorrow, but I bet it's gonna keep getting better.
 

DL

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shortyjock89 said:
Ok, I gotcha, I know what those are.  I know this might sound funny, but I kind of want to get the problem soved in the heifer's psyche, I want her to not be afraid of the blower anymore, that has to be what the problem is.  She's a real sweetie except for this little problem.

I'm gonna look into getting one of those Can't Kick things..that's what they're called right?

While I applaud the motivation to look at the heifers psyche in order to solve the problem if you are going to do  that you have to understand the motivation for her behavior - is it fear? is it annoyance? is she just a little snotty? does she really want to kill you and you have misread her behavior totally wrong?? Is she kicking with malice?

If she is afraid of the blower why does she only kick when you blow her legs? That says to me she doesn't like the air blowing on her legs not that she is afraid of the blower. Maybe by the time you get to her legs she has had the whole grooming thing and just wants you to go away and leave her along - I would review my routine and figure out what is the sequence of things I do and watch her behavior during the "event" - what you see may be the culmination of everything that you are interpreting as when you blow on my legs I want to kick you. She may be warning you that next time she is going to nail you.

I would not but her in a chute and blow on her - she could freak out so bad she breaks a leg as RW said or flips over (physically and or mentally). The slow approach he described could work. I have ZERO tolerance for kickers (no matter how great, no matter what pregnancy they are carrying - kick me once with malice and you are OTD)

A wise person once said - Sometimes it is easier to pick up the garbage and spend your time teaching your dog fun things than spending your time teaching the dog to stay out of the garbage ...

good luck and BE CAREFUL

 

ROAD WARRIOR

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Don't be surprised if she "uncorks" the next time you get her in - take it easy and watch those feet!
 

AAOK

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Get 3 or 4 empty aluminum cans, and some twine.  Poke some holes in the cans, and tie them to the twine about 24 -30 inches long.  Tie them together, and hook them to her tail with a zip-tie.  Have the cans hanging about hock high.  Turn her loose, and watch the rodeo.  She will eventually learn the cans won't hurt her, and she will then ignore them.  This will usually cure one from kicking at anything.
 

ROAD WARRIOR

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AAOK said:

Get 3 or 4 empty aluminum cans, and some twine.  Poke some holes in the cans, and tie them to the twine about 24 -30 inches long.  Tie them together, and hook them to her tail with a zip-tie.  Have the cans hanging about hock high.  Turn her loose, and watch the rodeo.  She will eventually learn the cans won't hurt her, and she will then ignore them.  This will usually cure one from kicking at anything.

You must have really good fences to "tin can the tom cat"!
 

knabe

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i've seen dew claws get ripped off doing that, poles go flying and hit someone in the head, fall forward and hit the calf in the head, and a grooming chute topple.  kind of a pain if it falls to the side with the release on it. :'(
 

Jill

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I have to agree with DL on this one, we had one last year that did that.  She was tame and it wasn't the blower, when she was tired of being messed with she would start kicking, not hard just enough so you knew she was done.  You are way more patient than I am, we babied her for about 2 weeks and she landed a blow to my chest that knocked me down and that was the end of her.  Most kickers do not improve, be careful!
 

DL

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BEWARE OF GADGETS AND GIZMOS (sorry ELBEE, not the bull) AND WIDGETS that promise you things - I have been kicked by a Holstein wearing an anti kick device (called Kick Stop or Kow Kan't Kick - you can see them in the NASCO catalog) - they were basically designed so cows don't kick when milking or when the milkers were on - I have also been kicked by a properly "tailed" cow (you know that is suppose to keep them from kicking) - you generally cannot modify behavior with a gimmick - particularly when the motivation for the behavior is unclear......like I said before the policy on my farm is you kick (with malice) you are gone - bye bye - life is way too short  ;)
 

shortyjock89

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Well, she was taken up the road tonight for a Judging Practice class...she did just fine..the only negative thing was, she was in a hurry to get back in her pen when we got her home (we hadn't fed yet)...we'll see how she does tomorrow..but I think the last couple days have been big for her.
 

DL

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ROAD WARRIOR said:
AAOK said:

Get 3 or 4 empty aluminum cans, and some twine.  Poke some holes in the cans, and tie them to the twine about 24 -30 inches long.  Tie them together, and hook them to her tail with a zip-tie.  Have the cans hanging about hock high.  Turn her loose, and watch the rodeo.  She will eventually learn the cans won't hurt her, and she will then ignore them.  This will usually cure one from kicking at anything.

You must have really good fences to "tin can the tom cat"!
OK maybe I am over reacting here (hard to believe eh?) but this approach seems to be punishment for a behavior that we don't understand the motivation of (my old English teacher would gag on that sentence) - if we want to influence behavior we have to understand why the behavior occurs - if we misinterpret the motivation what we do might make the problem worse or create other issues or create the potential for heifer explosion - what we do to horses to get the perfect western pleasure horse often borders on cruel and the horses end up "defeated" and either in a learned helplessness situation or just waiting to escape.

How many times have you heard (or maybe done) a person tell how the dog pooped in the house or chewed up a slipper and the human say he did it on purpose (no not really - dogs don't think like humans) and we fix them by beating them with the slipper of rubbing their nose in dog poop (and what exactly does that teach them???)

What I am trying to say (poorly perhaps :)) is that I am not sure this is an offense deserving of punishment when you don't understnad the motivation - punishing a frightened animal doesn't teach them anything (ie we don't learn when we are scared) but it does increase their fear which could escalate into really bad behavior -

sounds like SJ89 is on the right track...
 
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