Cattle "tameness"

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JW IN VA

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FarmerJan's post about mineral reminded me of something else.
A few years ago,an old friend pointed out to me he had seen a change in the bulls he was grading for BCIA.He felt that with people feeding more from the tractor or truck seat that the cattle were not as calm around people as they once were.
I thought a lot about it and it makes sense.When we fed square hay and silage,you got out when cutting the strings and scattering the hay or walked along behind the truck forking silage out.Even in troughs,you were a while unloading by hand.The cattle were more accustomed to your being around.
I know that some folks who feed a lot of cattle don't have time to do much more than roll in the field,unroll the bale and count them.Been there.Doesn't work as well.
Now that I have had to downsize,I have more time,if I will take it(old habits die hard) and I have started feeding some grain supplement in the calving times.Gets the cows used to you and you see more.You just have to be careful and not get run over by some of the more friendly ones.
My Dad would hand salt his cows at least one, if not twice, a week in grazing time.Always kept a bucket of grain mix along and would give them a little around on the ground.Kept them in a small area where he could observe them and check for problems.When they heard his truck,they got interested.
 

Ky hills

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I think there is something to that. Seems like a lot more of the feeder calves ( we usually buy around 400-600lbs, but more in the 450-500 range.) are more flighty than in years past, and we have to cull some out as we don't want them going into the heifer program. Probably with most folks working off farm or farmers with quite a few cattle have to do their work as efficiently as possible.
The group of heifers that we put together last fall, are in a field 1/2 mile down the road. I have to hand feed them, and they are waiting at the gate for their feed. It's been so muddy that we can't drive into the field anymore till it dries up, and I have to pack the buckets. Have a several that are trying to eat from the buckets as I walk, and most of the rest are crowded pretty close by. We culled 2 early on one the same day she was brought in, the rest have settled in nicely, I feel like the interaction with them has helped even more.
 

Rafter S

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I know I train all mine to come to feed, and sometimes it really pays (like yesterday evening). I glanced at the place behind mine and spotted my 2-year olds where they weren't supposed to be (the neighbor had left a gate open). I got a sack of feed, put it out in the trough in the trap, and started walking toward the heifers carrying the empty sack. They were in the far back corner of about 100 acres. When I got close enough for them to hear me I hollered and waved the sack. All 7 heifers and 6 calves came toward me. I led every one of them back where they belonged and closed the gate behind them.
 

Nesikep

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Yep, I feed small squares, and it's now a requirement that replacement heifers don't act like freaks on a halter.. they don't have to lead great, but sometimes it's really handy if you have to doctor one and you can tie her to a post, or bring her to a corral without having to take the whole herd up...

Handy for the bulls too.. He knew he was going to see the girls!
[youtube]https://youtu.be/d43eQ39JudQ[/youtube]
 

Nesikep

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AdamsCreek":1s3d7anz said:
It makes for an easier catch but what do you do when they still act like idiots in the working pen?
they take the exit that leads to the trailer instead of the pasture!
 

Bigfoot

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That's as good an explanation as any, but cattle just seem more high strung now, than when I was a kid. My dad fooled with stockers all my life. Seldom saw a bad one. There seems to be an idiot in every group nowadays. Seems like more to the puzzle is still missing.
 

jkwilson

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I cull hard for flightiness and like to get my eyes on the cows as often as I can so I'll give them a little feed to make them come to me. Anything without a calf is generally at the neighbor's place in the spring and fall. I'll throw a bucket of feed and some mineral on the 4-wheeler and head down to water them. No matter where they are, if they see the 4-wheeler heading down the lane, they are at the water tank by the time I get there. Makes it easy to catch problems early and easy to get them in to treat. Things that make it easy on me are high on my priority list anymore, and calm cattle are way up there. My rodeo days are over!


When they are in the weaning pen, I'll throw feed in the bunk and then stay there. If they want feed, they have to get close to me. If they never get over their fear they won't stay around. They don't need to be my pals, just not heading for the next county when I cough.

Genetics are big on dispostion, but the cow teaches them too. I have a cow that raises the calmest calves I've ever seen. These things are practically born halter broke, even when they are from implanted embryos. Last year I put my hat on her 400lb bull calf's back and walked around him within a couple of feet and picked up his tail without the hat coming off just to prove how calm the thing was to a neighbor.
 

ALACOWMAN

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Bigfoot":6v0e78vl said:
That's as good an explanation as any, but cattle just seem more high strung now, than when I was a kid. My dad fooled with stockers all my life. Seldom saw a bad one. There seems to be an idiot in every group nowadays. Seems like more to the puzzle is still missing.
there is....a lot less ""hands on""than there use to be..pour on's,vet-guns, etc..its getter done as quick and easy as possible...then outa there...
 

skyhightree1

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I will say this I have gotten more than I really want to keep and maintain recently as they were cheap so I bought them. I do not keep them with my base herd. My base here stays on 2 places one at my house one not far from it I see them and walk with them and interact with them as most were born with me. However the ones that are further away and only see me drop rolls and grain some are naturally nice but most don't want any parts of my " friendship" :lol: However, I have a cow best one I have who does not want me anywhere near her but will follow me anywhere with my truck and trailer. Her heifer who's about 5 months old now is just like her. One reason why I am downsizing is because I can't keep up with them like I want too.
 

pdfangus

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I never have put up with idiots...So I culled for idiocy for years.
now that I only have a handful they are all pretty quiet.
A little feed goes a long ways....
I won't wean mine for another month or so...but I already have all of the calves coming into the barn and eating in the headlocks and I only give them a little maybe two times per week...most of these calves are quiet enough that I can put my hands on them now....My yearling heifer will let me walk up and scratch her butt now....seldom get there before they are near two....but I work at keeping them quiet and easy....
 

Brute 23

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Its all about interaction. My grandfather spent a lot of time with the cattle as did my dad and uncles growing up. When my grandfather passed and my dad and uncles took on every thing... plus having their own families... they did not spend the time in the pasture. The cattle went plum nuts. We finally cleaned out a good chunk of them when I was young. Now we make it a point to interact with them so we don't go back to that.
 

TexasBred

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AdamsCreek":2hagyhiv said:
It makes for an easier catch but what do you do when they still act like idiots in the working pen?
When it's time to work cattle I'll start feeding them inside the working pen off and on for a week-10 days. They'll get to where they hit the pen before you can get inside. Works for me anyway but sometimes you'll still have a couple get nervous and goofy. I've always walked in/out/through my cattle when they're eating just so they are use to me and I'm use to them. Amazing what you'll see.
 

TCRanch

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My cattle are extremely tame. But I'm around them every day, multiple times during calving. They're all hand feeders (even the bulls), love to be petted/brushed. It makes it easier for me to catch them, work them/their calves, move them to another pasture, load 'em on a trailer. And since I do the majority of the work myself I have no interest being around flighty cattle.
 
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JW IN VA

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Rafter S":3q4qmqfe said:
I know I train all mine to come to feed, and sometimes it really pays (like yesterday evening). I glanced at the place behind mine and spotted my 2-year olds where they weren't supposed to be (the neighbor had left a gate open). I got a sack of feed, put it out in the trough in the trap, and started walking toward the heifers carrying the empty sack. They were in the far back corner of about 100 acres. When I got close enough for them to hear me I hollered and waved the sack. All 7 heifers and 6 calves came toward me. I led every one of them back where they belonged and closed the gate behind them.
had a similar thing happen just last week.Bull and some heifers in with him found a low place in the wire and went across the river.Tried driving them back.The next day I picked up a feed trough with the loader and took a bag of feed over to them.As soon as some of them got a taste of the feed, I started picking up the trough and backing out of where they were.Only had to stop a time or two but they followed me all the way back home,across the road and into another field.
 

AdamsCreek

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TexasBred":3ap4sxe4 said:
AdamsCreek":3ap4sxe4 said:
It makes for an easier catch but what do you do when they still act like idiots in the working pen?
When it's time to work cattle I'll start feeding them inside the working pen off and on for a week-10 days. They'll get to where they hit the pen before you can get inside. Works for me anyway but sometimes you'll still have a couple get nervous and goofy. I've always walked in/out/through my cattle when they're eating just so they are use to me and I'm use to them. Amazing what you'll see.
I work mine in March every year and bucket feed on my feet every day thru April. When they hear the truck coming up the road they run to the trap and stand there bellering when I’m not moving fast enough. Being docile isn’t a problem until they go from the trap to the working pen. Then it’s one corner to another until I can get em behind the crowding gate and into the lane....then the rodeo is on with some that follow me around like dogs. It’s probably not as bad as I think it is but after watching the bayer ear tag commercials I wonder why mine don’t work that easy.
 

farmerjan

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I am not a believer in "creep feeding" per se. I mean, mine do not get unlimited feed that they can come in and eat. But I do get them to start to come into the pen through the creep gate and get a little grain when they are about 2-3 months old. I have found that they really like the alfalfa hay that I feed my nurse cows, so I started getting them to come in for that, all it takes is one to be curious and the rest start to follow to see what they are missing. Then I put a little grain in the feed troughs as I am walking around them. They may not be "pets", but they learn I am not the bad guy.
Also, it may take a little time, but I have been known to get the heifers to come in the catch pen, walk them down the chute and catch their head and give them a little grain in a flat pan. They stand, eat , and I open it up and let them out. Then, when we do want them to go down the chute, they are not milling around the pen, or trying to lunge through the head catch. They aren't all that good, but many have learned that the head catch isn't such a terrible place to be.
You also see the difference on many dairies. The cows don't come in to a stanchion or a tie stall like in the "old days". And the cows are often not as easy to work with.
 

Lucky

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I have been stretched out this year so only time the yearlings saw me was at feeding time. I got out of the truck opened the gate fed and counted them then drove off and shut the gate. This made them pretty wild, they are tame to feed truck but not too people. The last few weeks I've been feeding them hay and they have calmed down quite a bit. I think it all has to do with getting on the ground with them. My cows are all tame. I don't want them eat out of yor hand tame but they need to know the routine without going nuts.
 

pdfangus

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Nesikep":186bnddy said:
AdamsCreek":186bnddy said:
It makes for an easier catch but what do you do when they still act like idiots in the working pen?
they take the exit that leads to the trailer instead of the pasture!

if they are panicking when caught in the facilities then to me that is a clue that processing methods need to be addressed.
sounds like cowboying and yelling and sticks needed to deal with crazy cattle are making things worse.

when working cattle slow is always faster.

I feed mine a handful of cattle pellets every time I close the headgate on them....makes a world of difference...about half are looking for the alleyway to the chute cause they want their handout.
 

Nesikep

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there are some cows that just don't cooperate.. We have one that'll always come for a handout, until she's in the crowding pen, then she just loses her marbles and goes nuts
 

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