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Author Topic: Halter training  (Read 4948 times)

melodrama

  • Joined Jun 2011
  • Forfar
Halter training
« on: November 01, 2011, 06:42:43 pm »
I am having to have the patience of a saint!  I have watched the videos on here of Rosemary with Breeze and Blizzard and it looks so easy.  Not so much with Vaila.  She is obviously as stubborn as me!  We have had her now for 10 days so I'm maybe expecting too much.  She lets me into her pen no bother as long as I don't go anywhere near her so I just keep going in and she comes over for a scratch eventually.  I have started to take the halter in with me so she can get used to it and she sniffs around and then gives me the "aye right" look!  She is still very easily spooked by any noises or sudden movement so the cats and chickens are banned from the byre.  She is still throwing her head around a lot if she gets unhappy and as much as I'm trying to show no fear, it is a little scary cos her horns are pretty big.  I'll just keep plodding away with it but I'm hoping she comes round before the snow gets here so that she can perhaps spend a little time out of the byre before Winter lockdown.  I'll keep you all posted - wish me luck haha
Voss Electric Fence

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
  • Administrator
  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
    • The Accidental Smallholder
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Re: Halter training
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2011, 07:56:48 am »
Stick with it, she'll come around eventually and it''ll be worth it.  :thumbsup: :cow:

And the videos show the result of all the patience you're putting into it, not the entire process, so don't lose heart.  :)

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Halter training
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2011, 09:34:18 am »
Unless she's in danger of seriously hurting herself, I wouldn't stop cats, chooks and whatever else getting in. She has to get desensitised to these things. As a prey animal, she will - in the wild, if they didn't become desensitised to "scary" things, they would die because they'd be so busy spooking at everything, they wouldn't have time to eat, sleep or mate.

I think it may be a problem with having one cow - they are natural herd animals and I think they take confidence from each other.

If you are feeding her, stay by the feed until she comes to eat, then rub her shoulder. If you're not confident getting too close, get a short pole that can act as an extension of your arm, so you can keep out of harm's way. She might move away but she'll come back to the feed - at least ours always did - and rub again.

Can she see out? When ours were housed, EVERYONE was sent to talk to them over the gate; everytime we went past, we called out to them, we stopped to talk to them, we played the radio (Classic FM was good, but Radio 5 Live has more voices).

Good luck!

melodrama

  • Joined Jun 2011
  • Forfar
Re: Halter training
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2011, 12:19:27 pm »
We made quite a bit of progress this morning and she is starting to get used to the halter being around, if not yet on her.  I play her classical music, I had already done it for the goats and they love it but I'll try putting the radio on during the day as well.  I have to say my OH is better with her than I am, I'm still a little cautious and I think that the problem is me and not her.  I just need to keep plodding away and we'll get there x

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Halter training
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2011, 07:26:09 pm »
Of course you will  :thumbsup:

Sylvia

  • Joined Aug 2009
Re: Halter training
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2011, 09:28:28 am »
Does this sound cruel? :-\ This is something I was told as a child but have never had to resort to. If you have a difficult/nervous animal don't keep them short of feed but of water.A horse/cow/ whatever will go to a skeleton before taking food from a bucket you are holding but after 24 hours with no water will drink even if you are holding the bucket after which they will accept you.
My dad told me this and he would have soon cut off his arm as be unkind to a beast.
I look forward to responses :)

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Halter training
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2011, 09:42:10 am »
Does this sound cruel? :-\ This is something I was told as a child but have never had to resort to. If you have a difficult/nervous animal don't keep them short of feed but of water.A horse/cow/ whatever will go to a skeleton before taking food from a bucket you are holding but after 24 hours with no water will drink even if you are holding the bucket after which they will accept you.
My dad told me this and he would have soon cut off his arm as be unkind to a beast.
I look forward to responses :)

No, it doesn't sound cruel. I was going to suggest this but chickened out  ::) Animals in their natural habitat don't have constant access to water - although I suppose they can choose when they want to drink, but they may walk miles to a waterhole. You wouldn't be denying water for long periods - but you would certainly be seen as "a good thing".

The water trough in our cows field was empty the other day - it couldn't have been empty for long because it's checked twice a day - but when I filled it, I got closer to Henry than I've been able to any other time.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Halter training
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2011, 09:44:09 am »
A horse/cow/ whatever will go to a skeleton before taking food from a bucket you are holding

Not Shetlands, I don't think. Years of breeding in a harsh environment seems to have made them quite "food focussed"  ;D

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Halter training
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2011, 01:55:57 pm »
Hillie (and most of our cattle) will do pretty much anything for cake - but not once they've got upset.  Once they're upset they're in flight / fight mode and aren't interested in food.

I agree that water is a good tempter but am uncomfortable at withholding for 24 hours - particularly if you are talking about a lactating animal, of course.  However, a tactic BH uses which achieves similar is to withhold water and feed for 9-10 hours, then feed good hay.  They'll drink after eating the dry hay.

The other thing that works, if you have time, is the cattle's natural inquisitiveness.  If you can sit on an upturned bucket or bale of straw and read a book for an hour or two, they'll come and investigate

I've just read back to mel's original post and she was not having problems getting Vaila to approach, but Vaila was headshaking (with her big horns  :o) when the halter was shown.  Personally I would deal with any clear intention or threat to use the horns very promptly and firmly - a smart smack across the side of the nose with blue (alkathene) pipe.  She needs to know that is completely unacceptable.  It won't set the taming back more than a day or two, unless she is really very aggressive and needs telling more than once or twice.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Halter training
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2011, 02:25:54 pm »
melodrama i think it you that is making her nervous  all animals can sense the fear in humans
have you tried putting rubber tips on her horns  that is you want her to have horns     that is why the majority of cattle are dehorned  to protect the owners or workers         vivid is the memory of getting jabbed in the side by horned cows when tied up in byres  worse if they got you in the rectum   and that was them just being playfull
true story  a local farmer was at the market the bull broke his chain and was running amok in the byre his sons could do nothing with the bull just jamb the door till there father came home when he arrived back home he opened the door and roared at the bull the bull straight back to his stall trembling      animals get to know if you are a soft touch
once you get the halter on her tie the halter to something immovable that will prevent you getting dragged about like a rag doll   but you have to overcome your nervousness :farmer:

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Halter training
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2011, 02:49:26 pm »
you have to overcome your nervousness :farmer:

and your post will help her do that, will it, robert?   ::)  I should think she'll have nightmares! 

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

melodrama

  • Joined Jun 2011
  • Forfar
Re: Halter training
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2011, 04:05:30 pm »
you have to overcome your nervousness :farmer:

and your post will help her do that, will it, robert?   ::)  I should think she'll have nightmares! 



haha I'm not having nightmares Sally, but thanks anyway.  Robert is quite right, I knew the problem was me and not her and its something I have been working on - A LOT - She will now put her head into the halter but I have yet to tie it up to something and leave her - I think that is tomorrows job.  My nerves are slowly going although I am still wary of the horns.  The vet has suggested I have them removed if she is simply to be a house cow but I'm not sure about that.  Whilst it would make my life easier, I can't help but feel that once I work with her more it'll get better.  I have been quite strong with her and she no longer does the head shaking.  I'll keep plodding away and see how we get on.
Mel

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Halter training
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2011, 05:12:26 pm »
Sounds like you are getting on just fine, mel.

It was probably just a figure of speech (tying her up tomorrow) - but could I suggest getting her to walk on the halter before tying her up to something?  If you use the 'pressure and release' approach, she'll learn to move into a pull, so when she's tied up she (hopefully!) won't pull back.  If you tie her first, before she learns to come towards the pull, she could end up having quite a fight and possibly hurting herself. 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Halter training
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2011, 06:11:22 pm »
sally no use telling melodrama it will be a doddle the she ends up on the horns of a dilemma :o
unaltered cattle must be different to what i was used to        once you put the halter on them there natural instinct is to leg it not prance about like a  poodle    nervous handler  cow not used to halter not a good combination        that is why you tie them up to something that will not move rather than be dragged about a shed like a rag  :farmer:

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Halter training
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2011, 07:48:51 pm »
I tied mine up the first few times I haltered them - head in the trough, halter slipped on, tied up, finished feed oh, oh, can't move, strop, strop, oh here's mum with hay, I'll just stand here then. It's important to tie them short though, so they can't hurt themselves. Blizzard broke the tip off her horn because I gave her too much rope.

Once they respected the halter and decided they couldn't get away from it, and that actually nice things happened (food, brush, scratch), then I started leading them about the byre. Then in from the field to be fed - cause your idea to be their idea  ;D If I had tried leading them first, I'd never have held them if they had decided to leave, then they would know I ama puny human.

Now they don't really try to leave - when the vet came to check their TB tests, we just did it in the field. I haltered Breeze, then Alistair checked the test site. Believe me, they were running in circles - that's the bloke that sticks his hand up our ar*es, but they didn't really try to get away and soon settled down and gave into the halter.

 

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