Halter Breaking

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teyes77
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Halter Breaking

Postby teyes77 » Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:30 pm

Hello everyone, I just purchased a steer for my 4-H project this year and I have a few questions. First of all he is about 690 lbs and he is hereford angus cross. I got him a week ago and we brought him to the barn where he will be living and he has not calmed down at all. The other two steers that my friend got at the same time are relatively calm and you can even walk right up and grab the halter and walk one of them.
My steer on the other hand wont let me within five feet of him otherwise he freaks out and runs away. We put a halter on him the day we got him so he has been dragging it around and I have tried to grab a hold of him and tie him a few times but all he does is buck and kick like crazy when I grab the halter.
Today we had an incident where we tried to put him through the chute and put a different halter on him and he spooked so much he went in between two fences and got himself stuck.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get him to calm down???
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby Fire Sweep Ranch » Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:08 am

You need to spend a bunch of time with him. Make a small pen, about a 10 x 10 or so, and stand in the middle. He will run in circles, because he is afraid of you. It is best if you have a show stick, and just keep touching him with it, trying to scratch him when he stops. Get him used to the fact that you are good, and pleasure comes from you. He will stop running eventually, and learn to trust you.
The biggest mistake you have made is trying to hold on to him. Each time you have the hater and he gets lose, he learns he can out power you. It only takes a time or two, and you will never be able to hold him. By having him in a small pen, you can grab the rope and give it a tug towards you, when he turns his head toward you release the pressure. Give and take. And he can not get away....
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Nesikep
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby Nesikep » Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:04 pm

They do learn they can out-power you very quickly.. A longer rope (so you can get the rope before he freaks) tied to a post can help him forget that, but first he needs to stop being afraid. I've found the key to their heart is usually through their stomach! Apples, carrots, grain, cubes, etc.. It may take a few days for them to get the taste for it, but it works pretty well for me.
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby dixiedrifter » Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:31 pm

Totally not the way to do it, but i'd be tempted to tie his halter to the back end of the tractor and take him for a spin around the pasture a couple times.
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby B&M Farms » Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:41 pm

dixiedrifter wrote:Totally not the way to do it, but i'd be tempted to tie his halter to the back end of the tractor and take him for a spin around the pasture a couple times.


It worked when I was in school. I also tied a tractor inner tube to a heavy post, tied their lead to the inner tube and let them fight it until they figured it out. I would spend a lot of time trying it a different way first though.. I even did my homework or would read in the pen with them when I first got them.
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby bigbull338 » Sat Nov 01, 2014 1:12 pm

to tie a calf to the tractor isnt wrong.ive had to tie a heifer between the hay forks to teach her how to lead.because she was wild and crazy.but when using the tractor you better watch and know what your doing and go very slow.
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby branguscowgirl » Sat Nov 01, 2014 2:08 pm

bigbull338 wrote:to tie a calf to the tractor isnt wrong.ive had to tie a heifer between the hay forks to teach her how to lead.because she was wild and crazy.but when using the tractor you better watch and know what your doing and go very slow.

There are a lot of things that you can do before you get to this point. bigbull is correct in that you have to "know what you are doing" to use a tractor for this!
I think that Nesi and Firesweep have given you some excellent starting points. You need a stout place to dally the end of that rope around and leave him tied up.
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby Nesikep » Sat Nov 01, 2014 2:51 pm

I'd only use the tractor as a last resort.. It is the most dangerous! Also, have a sharp knife around whenever you're doing this, if it all goes to H#LL in a handbasket, sometimes you can't undo a knot, and you're better off just cutting the rope.

B&M, I never bothered with the inner tube or stretchy ropes, I use a 7/16th braided nylon (about $30 per 100' at Home depot) and it has a little stretch to it, but I don't mind if they hit the end of the rope and go arse over teakettle because of it. I find using non-stretchy stuff it releases faster when they give in, which I find good for training.

I used a tractor with a cow ONCE. She was a MEAN girl, and at weaning time jumped a fence or two to get back with her calf.. I managed to halter her and tie her to a tractor.. it was a very interesting 1/4 mile drive to put her back with the other cows! Never did try to halter her again.

Start with the gentlest technique, Like Firesweep said, spend lots of time with them, ply them with goodies.. I have bells on some of my calves, once he's OK with you, try putting something clattery around his neck and let him get used to the noise for a week.. Remember you also have to condition him to strange sights and sounds if you're going to be showing!

Oh, and for getting him used to pettings, start with the top of his head if he'll come up to you, then go between the shoulderblades, and scratch real good up there.. it's one of the universal soft spots! After that he might let you get under his neck. From there, the tailhead and tail is always itchy, and when he's comfortable with you, go for the belly, first in the 'armpits' and back from there.
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby I luv herfrds » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:48 pm

If you have started this steer on feed pour the feed into a pan and stand right there at the pan. Daughter has stood by her steers feed pan for around 30 minutes then she walks away. Steer comes up and eats. After awhile the steer will start coming up wanting the feed while she still stands there.
We start scratching them on the top of their necks as they eat. They will move away at first but just keep it up. Pretty soon the steer will just stand there. Just steady work and patience.
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby hillsdown » Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:56 pm

teyes77 wrote:Hello everyone, I just purchased a steer for my 4-H project this year and I have a few questions. First of all he is about 690 lbs and he is hereford angus cross. I got him a week ago and we brought him to the barn where he will be living and he has not calmed down at all. The other two steers that my friend got at the same time are relatively calm and you can even walk right up and grab the halter and walk one of them.
My steer on the other hand wont let me within five feet of him otherwise he freaks out and runs away. We put a halter on him the day we got him so he has been dragging it around and I have tried to grab a hold of him and tie him a few times but all he does is buck and kick like crazy when I grab the halter.
Today we had an incident where we tried to put him through the chute and put a different halter on him and he spooked so much he went in between two fences and got himself stuck.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get him to calm down???


Is he by himself ?
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bigbull338
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby bigbull338 » Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:41 pm

the heifer that we used the tractor to halter break was crazy.i could bend over at her shoulder and if i wasnt watching her id get kicked in the head.she would also mule kick if some1 was walking behind her.the show judge wouldnt walk close behind her either.because he was told she would kick his brains out.
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby Nesikep » Sun Nov 02, 2014 6:11 pm

Animal like that, no matter how pretty doesn't belong in a show.. it's just asking for an accident to happen
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby Angus106 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:15 am

Fire Sweep Ranch wrote:You need to spend a bunch of time with him. Make a small pen, about a 10 x 10 or so, and stand in the middle. He will run in circles, because he is afraid of you. It is best if you have a show stick, and just keep touching him with it, trying to scratch him when he stops. Get him used to the fact that you are good, and pleasure comes from you. He will stop running eventually, and learn to trust you.


That's how I break calves also, we never drag halters. I find that once they realize they like being scratched with the stick, you've won them over. lol
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby bigbull338 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:59 am

nesi dealing with a calf that is like that teaches you respect for cattle.and what they can do to you in a split second.our show judges didnt get upset or panic if a calf got upset.because they expected the kids to handle the problem and keep showing.never once did i see a calf a kid couldnt handle.
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Re: Halter Breaking

Postby Nesikep » Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:34 am

I haven't seen too many kicks that came with warnings! I can see an animal that is skittish, perhaps people shy or something that needs to be reined in as a test of how someone can handle their animal when they aren't on their best behavior.
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