Halter breaking cow/calf?

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Mar 10, 2016
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So lately I have been searching and searching for ways to halter break a calf to show a cow/calf pair in 4H this year and have had zero luck finding stuff! Do you halter break the calf right away or wait a month or so? The cow is already halter broke and was shown as a heifer. I am just wondering how to go about haltering the calf?

Also our fair is the last week in July? Do you think a calf born the other day will be mature enough by then? And we will be re-breeding the cow the first week of June. How long should I let her stay in the pasture after breeding before I start working with the cow again so she sticks?

Thanks :D
Yep, I don't feel like rewriting everything I usually do.. not to be a prick, but it has been covered quite thoroughly recently
Holm, since you have a halter broke mama, you have a good training tool right at hand! On top of what was posted in the other thread, when you are ready to take the pair out to the driveway/lawn for practice, put a halter on both. Slip knot the leads together toward the end of the leads. Move the pair by moving mama, with control maintained at her halter. This way, for the first couple of times at least, the calf learns to be out and about on the halter, but it he goes bouncing off, mom stops him. She can teach the calf a lot, and keep him calm. After the calf behaves tied to mama, get them both used to working while the other is tied in the barn (this will save time and energy down the road).

I have seen week old calves shown at their dam's sides. They are cute, but will get blown out of the water by a more mature pair.

You will not likely compromise the pregnancy by working with her at home. You may however, do so by making her stand for nearly a week at a fair. If you pay close attention at fair, you will see several bred heifers bleeding off. The heat and stress is a good way to make one slip an early pregnancy. We always had this problem since the county fair was in July and state fair was early Aug. It is just a risk you run when attempting to breed stock you plan to show during the hottest part of the year.
Thanks Boot jack! I used your advice and the calf is leading well when with mama now. Still have lots of work but I think it will be worth it!
holm25":f1bsrfbl said:
Thanks Boot jack! I used your advice and the calf is leading well when with mama now. Still have lots of work but I think it will be worth it!
Good to hear! Just keep at it. When the calf seems to be responding well to the halter and not bolting, leave mom in the barn when practicing. If the calf can't behave when alone, then try having someone lead mom in the general area you are working. Do it right, and you should have a dead broke calf to show. Best of luck!
I strongly advise to keep the calf & cow separated during the day. Calf in the barn, mom outdoors eating grass - or in separate barns if possible - or just in different pens. When I show c/c pairs, they don't get to visit during the day, but are turned out together at night. At the show, I don't even tie them next to each other during the day. The show string is tied by size, so generally they are on opposite ends. You want the calf sucking mom, but not dependent on her for "security". At the show, the calf can't suck any time of day as they want, so they might as well get used to it. Also, good for the cow. She also is very used to her calf sucking often if they get to stay together 24/7. Otherwise, you have a cow and a calf bawling all during the day. You also will have a cow very upset every time you take the calf out to wash, or take for a walk, or show in it's own age class. Separate them now and save lots of head aches later. Nothing worse than a cow ramming back & forth & bawling wanting her calf at a show.
Great info Boot Jack and Jeanne - thanks for those posts. We had never shown a pair, but last fall my daughters Chi show heifer had a nice heifer calf (matching blue roans - too cute) and we thought we might try taking them to Tulsa, but in the end we chickened out. We did show them at a couple of shows locally - it was fun but it was a pain, too. The heifer had accidentally gotten bred a little early but it was our low birth weight bull so we let it go. She calved (unassisted) at 20 months and was an exceptional mother, but the calf would've only been a month old at Tulsa, and she would've likely been the only pair in the breed, almost certainly the only one in that class. That coupled with just dealing with a baby convinced us not to take them. It's certainly good to have this kind of advice should it come up again, though.

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