Halter breaking a wild feild steer

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Re: Halter breaking a wild feild steer

Postby VCC » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:42 am

Even though you have sold the steer I can give you some advice for the next time, first you need more than one calf when doing this it makes it easier to break them when there are 2 calves, they not like to be alone. We started with commercial calves who really only were around people for vaccinations castration and then weaning, so all their past experience with people were not really positive.
We hauled them home (10 Hour Drive) put them in a small pen and just hand fed and hung out around the pen for the first week, let them figure out we were not there to hurt them, when we came around they got fed so it was a good thing. The whole point of getting them used to us and not pushing them right off was to get them to not resort to fight or flight mode, as long as they are in fight or flight mode you are in an uphill battle. Get them to where they trust you then you can start working them, we would slip a halter on them while they were eating and then just tie them up after they finished eating, we would tie them loose enough so if they went down the would not choke themselves out but tight enough they could not really go anywhere (about 18 to 24 inches of slack rope). Once they stopped fighting the halter and start standing then we would start tying them with their head up for a while.
Once they got used to being tied and stopped fighting the rope we would start scratching them with a rake or showstick, hurts a lot less when the kick the leaf rake then when they kick you. When you get them to where you can scratch them and they don’t blow up you can start trying to brush on them, once you can brush them you can think about rinsing and using the blower on them. We never really tried to start just walking them more like moving from one task to the next, as they get used to it we start doing more and more instead of pushing them out we start leading from pen to pen or tie out area to wash rack.
It is a very long project and making a little progress each day is a win, some days they might go backwards on you, but on those days you only try to get to a point you have already been, no new stuff on that day. Patience and time is all it takes in most cases, there are some that are more challenging than others and a few that never make it.
Good luck to your daughter on her project.
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