Calf Temperment

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Genetics plays a role. Whether the genes for good or bad is from the cow or bull is a toss of the dice.
A calf with bad genetic temperament can be trained to have good and the reverse is true.
Over here, it's been like this...whatever their mother is like is a lot what the calf starts out like. Spending time with them is one key, just gettin' them used to ya, and I agree, YOU must be calm...I've had lots of success with that, yep, even with the Limousin's! :)
Either one. Generally from the cow. I have one whose mother is a very calm, quiet cow but the daughter is a bit flighty. I hoped she'd grow out of it, but 5 years later she's still a bit high-headed. The other daughters from that calm cow, that I have retained are just as calm as the cow, but their sire was also a very calm and quiet bull.

Honestly, I've never been able to track it. One year a cow's calf will be one way, the next year another. I'm sure genetics must play some role, but just like in any family, there can be a heap of difference in attitudes and dispositions of kids from the exact same parents.
I start at an early age, a few days after birth out in the pasture. By the time they are weaned you will already know which ones are going to be the problem. During the weaning process I start with getting them good and hungry. I poor feed in a troff and the set in it. They will eventually come to eat and have to get real close to do it. Usually after a week of this they are settled down and I will feed normally. It is also a good idea to introduce a stranger upon occasion just to let them know they have to get used to it.
There are some that cannot seem to get the message you are not the enemy. Either halter break them ( a new subject) or get rid of them.
genetics do play a role, I can't deny that, but it's already been said that you must have a good temperament, and have PATIENCE!!, I find that if they're wildebeasts at 2 years old, they'll always be that way, if they're younger, they can learn to be pets...

Fleas are a blessing as a taming aide... I often try and snag a calf with a rope on a nice sunny day when they're all passed out enjoying the sun, and tie them up to something... then pet them, look them over for fleas, and start nit-picking... after a little bit of this, they usually start to think I'm a pretty good guy and worth keeping around... Treats like apples, carrots, grain, all help too, as well as a mother that doesn't get too alarmed that I have their calf tied up

I've seen calves go from wild (can't get within 50 feet) to being halterbroke and coming for a petting in as little as a week.. it takes a lot of work though.. if you can get ONE tame, it'll get the others curious.. which leads me to another thing...

different breeds have different curiosity levels, herefords, shorthorns, longhorns, and a bunch of others are really curious, which makes your life easier because they'll want to come up and figure out what you are when you go sit down in the field... the worst I've seen are the Salers... and well, if you live out in the sticks and they have to fend against wild animals, it's good, when you want to help them with a sore foot, it's not.

I like leaving a lead rope on the calves for a while, but evidently you can only do this in clear fields with no shrubs, etc to get hung up on... it is good however if cows step on it and it learns that it's no use pulling like a maniac

One last thing.. on calves up to about 5 months old.. pretend you're a calf, kneel in the field, they'll come around, they'll LOVE your boots (don't know why, just always happens), and they'll want to figure out where you are in the pecking order... You see what calves like doing... Headbutting.. I do it with them all the time, and neither you nor the calf will ever need or use all your/it's strength... I think they might think of you as one of them with this.. I don't know.. but will say it works.. then you can try and scratch the top of their head... always a soft spot, then the ears, and after they get used to that, they'll let you scratch their neck, and once you've got them to that, they'll be on halters before you know it

Maybe this is a little different that other people's methods, I'll just say it's mine and it works (see avatar picture) :D
markjuan1":ihde98rb said:
Does the calf usually take the mother or fathers temperment?

The calf could take either of the above. Then again, sometimes the calf takes neither and opts for the grandmother, great-grandmother, grandfather, or great-grandfather's temperament - or some combination of all of the above. The mother plays a rather large role in the calfs temperament simply by her actions, but even that is not a guarantee of how the calf will behave later on. As with most things related to cattle, the only certainty is that there are no certainties.
well, I think bottle fed calves are certain to be suckers, and if you have a really tame cow, and you spend a fair bit of time with the calf in it's first couple days, it will be pretty easy to get later on...
Well my temperament problems are the fault of......

As stated, all of the above. I say genetics are most of it. A genetically flighty animal can be tamed, but it takes more effort - and you may never get all the way there. Just not wired for it. In the human world, many psych things we used to blame on poor parenting are shown by statistics to be more genetic - not saying you can't try to influence things, but it can be harder. Usually if a kid turns out good, you claim it was your parenting skills.

I just have a couple cows. From the same bull, last year the most gentle cow had a wild calf and the less gentle cow had a totally gentle calf. This year the less gentle cow had a wild calf from the same bull. Some mixed breeding in there, so I imagine the docility hasn't been locked in as with good linebred animals - lots of variability as stated - don't know if some genes from grandparents, etc.

Interesting that I can tell within a few days whether they'll be gentle. Can rub them - if they tense up and try to move away - not good.
I see more of the dam's influence in temperment... but keep in mind I have Brahman cattle, which is a different can of worms! I've never owned a bull with a bad temperment, so the ones that are more "flighty" are from the more excitable cows. The Brahmans I keep are all gentle and can be readily handled in pasture, which gives me the upper hand when their calves are born! I'm able to handle them pretty quickly after birth, and that makes a BIG difference in how much they'll trust you as they grow.

The Simmentals are easy.. they are rarely excitable. Even the ones I don't handle until weaning are really quick to settle in. I've got one in the barn now that I've never handled until a week ago, and she'll stand quietly to be groomed, and will follow me with a show stick all over the barn. But then, her mother was a show heifer, so she has a good temperment from her.

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