New here and have a question.

Help Support Steer Planet:

kanshow

Well-known member
Joined
May 24, 2007
Messages
2,660
Location
Kansas
Hi all!  I'm new here.  I've been lurking for awhile but decided to join in.  A little about myself.. We've been involved in the beef industry for many many years.  We've shown for a lot of those years.

My question/problem is this.  We are getting into a new breed and bought a couple nice fall heifers that we are trying to halter break using our usual method - a lot like  Red's way in the articles.  These heifers are not breaking out very good.  One heifer is very chargy, she acts like she'd like to take me when we are messing with her.  Any suggestions on her?  The other heifer isn't so bad but she is a little flighty and could be a kicker.  These heifers were supposed to be shown by our kids age 9 & 12 later this summer and thru the fall.  I've talked to the breeder we got them from and he just told me that they've never had any that haven't broke out in all the years he's done this.   

Thanks in advance!!
 

red

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
7,850
Location
LaRue, Ohio
1. don't get hurt yourself or anyone else! If the one is really bad, I'd see if the breeder would exchange her? I just don't think it's worth getting anyone hurt.
2. Sometimes it just takes a lot of patience. I've had animals that I can't handle but my hubby can work w/ no problem & also the opposite. Maybe try having a new person come in & see the reaction?
3. I 'd just keep calm & cool headed. Try to keep dogs & a lot of distractions from upsetting them.
4. (welcome) Kanshow!

Good luck, I know it is very discouraging to have an animal that you just can't seem to break. Like I said please be careful & don't get anyone hurt especially the kids!

Red
 

knabe

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2007
Messages
13,631
Location
Hollister, CA
i know this is going to sound silly, and agreeing with red's methods totally, and taking into considerations the warnings and that i think when someone says they always calm down, that's a little naive, but......

there are circles of awareness, tolerance etc and they are different for EVERY individual.  when one "invades" these circles without the animals acceptance, they get agitated.  and now for my always circular argument, i'm not saying don't go in there.  charging means get away on my terms and means i need a little more space or respect, if not survival motivated, which of course since they "always" calm down, you never know what they have experienced.  I think animals have a very good memory.  if i put a hat on when i come home, my dogs think it's the neighbor and come barking, and then slink away in embarrassment and circle back for a pat.

before i used to buy, suggest, i made the seller "prove" they always calm down, which you may have done..

that said, and if your committed to the heifers and your time is limited, trust is number one.  if you tie them up, find an approach angle which will not get them to express the behavior you don't like.  then stay there and ignore them instead of creeping closer and pretending they are not annoyed by you.  in horses, which will of course generate responses that cattle aren't horses, when they look at you and relax their mouth, they are relieving stress.  this indicates more tolerance for you.  when they tense up, use this as a guide to calm with what you have found works and enlarge that circle over their body to include the legs when you get to scratching.  i actually lift up their feet as well on my heifers and rub all over them, take clippers out, turn them on, but not clip at this point.  for the chargyness, i like to get a couple of people near them, just back from where they charge, and ignore them, getting closer on progressive days, finally scratching, ignoring, handfulls of feed etc till they look FORWARD to being near you.  if you allow them to move somewhat as a gauge to how you are doing, rather than clamping down on them by tying tighter etc, it just takes longer for some that are this way.  of course the easy ones don't need all this.

flightiness is the same thing if you have them on the halter.  just let them move, when they stop, let them relax, with halter having slack and use the slack of the halter as a reward.  these are usuallya little easier than the chargers, who seem to blow out their noses at everything, especially when you get to clipping on their face and stomping their feet.

an interesting thing about horses and movement.  if when you are being a jerk and subconsciously not letting the horse go forward, right, left or backward, sometimes this is the reason they buck.  also, interestingly, they will lay down, just like cattle do, when you are trying to halter break them and drag their face on the ground, kinda like a 4 year old going limp and saying stuff like i caaaaaaaaaaaan't.  i just wait for them to get up rather than asking them to get up, or just go scratching on them right there. 

for all this, i wouldn't let my kids do the above till you felt safe with them.  do the above with several repetitions a day rather than long sessions once a day.  and yes call the breeder and express reservations as a preinnoculation that you might want a further discussion.  they should be interested in their progress if they want repeat business, because they don't "all" calm down.
 

Jill

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
3,551
Location
Gardner, KS
I don't know what breed you are talking about, but please note some breeds just have nasty temperments.  I am assuming these animals are already somewhat broke and worked with and are just not getting any better. 
On the charger, I would try a temperary nose ring in her, one that is spring loaded, that seemed to do the trick for us last year, she never stopped butting at my son (she was fine with everyone else) without the ring, but with the ring in she didn't do it.  
I have no advice on the kicker, I will not tolerate a kicker.  I paid 5000.00 for a heifer this year that wasn't mean, but when she was tired of being worked with she'd kick, at out 1st show in December she kicked me in the chest and she is now standing in the pasture, it is not worth getting hurt or killed!
 

kanshow

Well-known member
Joined
May 24, 2007
Messages
2,660
Location
Kansas
Thanks for the welcome and the  advice.  These are Charolais heifers.  Our other breeds are Simmental & Angus.      We've had them tied up and been doing so for a few weeks now.  The charger has just started doing so as she has gotten over some initial fears - she was the more flighty of the two.    So far we've not let the kids work with them because they are so unpredictable.    I have talked to the breeder and I don't think anything will come of that.    I'm pretty familiar with the horse methods that knabe mentioned and will try to pay more attention to the signs.  If something doesn't change soon, they'll be put to pasture.  These are nice heifers and I'd hate to just turn out but it isn't worth anyone getting hurt either.   
 

red

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
7,850
Location
LaRue, Ohio
I've had one heifer that we bought, she wasn't completely broke. They couldn't get a scotch comb even near her. It took me over a month just to get her so I could even use the comb. Very flighty. I never figured out what her problem was but she finally settled down & was to be shown. Now I'm the only one that she shakes her head at when I approach. Some are so unpredictable!
One note or comment; if you can't show them & the breeder won't be of any assistance, I'd look elsewhere next year.

Best of luck!
Red
 

Jill

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
3,551
Location
Gardner, KS
The one that we had that head butted so bad was puppy dog tame, she had been shown at Denver before we picked her up, but for some reason she didn't like Logan, and it never got any better, but with the nose ring he was able to show her without a problem.  Good luck, it is a really hard decision when they are nice and you have money invested in them, but I guess I would rather error on the side of caution. 
I don't know if we are just too nice or what, but we had never had these problems before, with the kicker we bought her out of the pasture and she was not broke, we didn't contact the breeder, just assumed that is a risk you take when you buy an animal, it's not really his fault either I guess, don't really have a good answer on that.
 

shorthorns r us

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
900
you need a good weapon.  i like a sturdy sorting pole.  not one of those flimsy ones that bend when you swing 'em.  you need a good hard one.  you will also need some wire.  now that you all are ready to give me am e-lynching, wire a stiff bristle brush to the end of the pole; a show stick will also work.  find the places that they like to have scratched.  this is a wonderful way to build trust.  before you know it, you will be holding the brush in your hand and they will be running at you for attention.
 

red

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
7,850
Location
LaRue, Ohio
This was one time I read the post very carefully! Actually if done right not a bad idea!
Good tip!

Red (clapping)
 

genes

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2007
Messages
392
Oh dear....my mind was definitely going  :eek:  Not to say people don't do it, but to give instructions......then you changed tracks  (clapping)
 

DL

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2007
Messages
3,622
shorthorns r us said:
you need a good weapon.  i like a sturdy sorting pole.  not one of those flimsy ones that bend when you swing 'em.  you need a good hard one.  you will also need some wire.  now that you all are ready to give me am e-lynching, wire a stiff bristle brush to the end of the pole; a show stick will also work.  find the places that they like to have scratched.  this is a wonderful way to build trust.  before you know it, you will be holding the brush in your hand and they will be running at you for attention.

Another thing that works as a "SRU weapon" and you don't have to make it are those bamboo rakes - calves love to be scratched with them
 

cwfmr181

Member
Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
10
Location
west central illinois
we have gone so far as buying a few feeder pigs and putting them in the dry lots with some of the more flighty calves. when we would tie the calves up to feed we would feed the pigs right with them. it seemed to calm the calves down some and it also made for a great BBQ later.
 

Gypsy

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 21, 2007
Messages
171
SRU said:
you need a good weapon.  i like a sturdy sorting pole.  not one of those flimsy ones that bend when you swing 'em.  you need a good hard one.  you will also need some wire.  now that you all are ready to give me am e-lynching, wire a stiff bristle brush to the end of the pole; a show stick will also work.  find the places that they like to have scratched.  this is a wonderful way to build trust.  before you know it, you will be holding the brush in your hand and they will be running at you for attention.

I am just about to deliver two steers to two brothers that are going to show for the first time this fall.  These animals were yearling bulls until a couple of months ago and had never been touched or broke to anything.

I start by doing nothing but feeding the animals (just me no-one else) and talking to them in a very small pen (mine is about 10 x 20), let them move away from you, don't scare them.  After a couple of days of this I go into the very small pen with a show stick (very long reach and you can stay a little farther away from the animals so you aren't as scary to them) and move with the steers and just gently lay the show stick on the back and let them run or walk by you (just stay with them without cornering them) always let them have a way around you.  Eventually, (some the first day, some the third day) they will slow down enough to use the stick to scratch their back or tail head.  They will get so they like this really well.  Then comes a curry comb or rice root brush.    Just get them gentle and unafraid of you, don't scare them.  After they think you are their personal massuse start introducing other people.  (Broaden their horizons).  I also figure out what each animal likes for a treat.  One right now likes alfalfa and one likes cake.  In the past I had one that went crazy over peppermint candy and an apple freak.  After they are sure that you are there just to be nice to them, THEN put a halter on, I like the ones that just stay on them all the time and you put a lead rope on when you need it. I think that if you let an animal drag a rope it teaches them to jerk their head to try to free themselves from the tight rope when they are standing on it.  After I halter them for the first time I just let them wear it for 2-3 days with out putting a lead rope on.  Then I start putting the lead rope on while scratching or brushing them, tug very gently on it just to let them know that you have it.  DON"T tie them up.  (They hate this and it scares them).  After a week of this, they will probably be following you (and your comb or brush and treats) around without much fuss. I like to lead them to the feeder at breakfast and dinner time.  THEN tie them up.  But stay with them and comb or brush or scratch on them and don't leave them tied to long, just enough to let them get the idea that they can't get away.  After 2-3 days of twice a day tying you can do just about anything you want.  And they still think you are there just to feed them and make them feel good.  No pain and very little scary stuff.
 

cowz

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
1,492
Sounds like you have gotten some good advice here.  We raise Charolais, so don't think Im picking on breeds.  For some reason, I think that Charolais are ultra sensitive to changes in people and environments.  We had the same struggle when trying to get our small sons to show Char heifers.  We used to laugh about it when the dog gentle heifers would not have anything to do with "small persons".  (We just said they didn't like the way little boys smell!  ;D)

Just totally inundate these calves with human attention.  Do not tolerate the charging.  A quick rap across the bridge of the nose with a sorting stick and a verbal "Hey you" is a start.  When you can get to the point where you tie them up, brush, rinse and blow them while tied up, the battle is half won.  Lead them only to feed and water at first.  No lead, no water.  Dont let them get away from you.  Let the kids take some toys out in the corral when the calves are tied up....play and talk and hollar as usual.

Good luck!
 

kanshow

Well-known member
Joined
May 24, 2007
Messages
2,660
Location
Kansas
Thanks again for the advice, they are actually starting to get better - baby steps.. but we'll take what we can get! 
 

DL

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2007
Messages
3,622
Gypsy said:
SRU said:
you need a good weapon.  i like a sturdy sorting pole.  not one of those flimsy ones that bend when you swing 'em.  you need a good hard one.  you will also need some wire.  now that you all are ready to give me am e-lynching, wire a stiff bristle brush to the end of the pole; a show stick will also work.  find the places that they like to have scratched.  this is a wonderful way to build trust.  before you know it, you will be holding the brush in your hand and they will be running at you for attention.

I am just about to deliver two steers to two brothers that are going to show for the first time this fall.  These animals were yearling bulls until a couple of months ago and had never been touched or broke to anything.

I start by doing nothing but feeding the animals (just me no-one else) and talking to them in a very small pen (mine is about 10 x 20), let them move away from you, don't scare them.  After a couple of days of this I go into the very small pen with a show stick (very long reach and you can stay a little farther away from the animals so you aren't as scary to them) and move with the steers and just gently lay the show stick on the back and let them run or walk by you (just stay with them without cornering them) always let them have a way around you.  Eventually, (some the first day, some the third day) they will slow down enough to use the stick to scratch their back or tail head.  They will get so they like this really well.  Then comes a curry comb or rice root brush.    Just get them gentle and unafraid of you, don't scare them.  After they think you are their personal massuse start introducing other people.  (Broaden their horizons).  I also figure out what each animal likes for a treat.  One right now likes alfalfa and one likes cake.  In the past I had one that went crazy over peppermint candy and an apple freak.  After they are sure that you are there just to be nice to them, THEN put a halter on, I like the ones that just stay on them all the time and you put a lead rope on when you need it. I think that if you let an animal drag a rope it teaches them to jerk their head to try to free themselves from the tight rope when they are standing on it.  After I halter them for the first time I just let them wear it for 2-3 days with out putting a lead rope on.  Then I start putting the lead rope on while scratching or brushing them, tug very gently on it just to let them know that you have it.  DON"T tie them up.  (They hate this and it scares them).  After a week of this, they will probably be following you (and your comb or brush and treats) around without much fuss. I like to lead them to the feeder at breakfast and dinner time.  THEN tie them up.  But stay with them and comb or brush or scratch on them and don't leave them tied to long, just enough to let them get the idea that they can't get away.  After 2-3 days of twice a day tying you can do just about anything you want.  And they still think you are there just to feed them and make them feel good.  No pain and very little scary stuff.

I always believed a good food reward is a great way to work with calves - had a couple trained to set up with alfalfa cubes - people thought I was nuts - glad to see I am not alone! Thanks Gypsy - you made my day!
 

Gypsy

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 21, 2007
Messages
171
Shoot, scratch my back and feed me chocolate and I'll follow ya anywhere  ;D, why would critters be that different than us? I've only failed with this method once and that was a Full Throttle calf (remember those?  :eek:) that kicked a pipe fence and broke his leg.  Better his than mine and he tasted fine.
 

Thornberry

Member
Joined
May 14, 2007
Messages
23
Location
Westby , Wisconsin
Hi everyone,  I too am just about at wits end with 2 of our angus hfrs. these 2 hfrs.have been shown numerous times.  everything is ok as long as Dad (me) handles them. My ten year old daughter has been showing for 3 yrs. and when she shows these hfrs. they will charge her.  The hfrs. have intimidated her and know it!  It gets very hard to keep encouraging her.  As long as they are tied or in the chute she can do anything wash blow brush.  Up to this point I have always tranquilized them for her to show.  Our 3rd. hfr. is a maine and is just a dream for both of my daughters the younger one is 8.  We keep working with them and just hope this will pass.  ???  Any suggestions?  Thanks- Jim
 
Top