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Halter Training

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Bright Raven

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I often wonder how other folks separate calves for halter training.  I have 14 calves this fall and I have yet to get all 14 at one time.  Caught eleven of the 14 calves this morning.  Some of the calves have gotten ahead of me.  I built a new halter area but it was not strong enough so I am back in the sweep.

I round them up by getting them in the creep area.  Shut the gate behind them and run them into the handling facility and the sweep.

Nesikep mentioned a training halter that has a chain under the chin.  I am going to need that for a couple of these.


 

TN Cattle Man

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Are you trying to sell Club Calves? Why do you want to halter train that many calves? ... just curious
 
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Bright Raven

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TN Cattle Man":2yo3tixq said:
Are you trying to sell Club Calves? Why do you want to halter train that many calves? ... just curious

No. Not so far but I would. My bulls all need to be halter broke if Fire Sweep sells them for me. She will not take one not halter trained. There are 9 bulls and 5 heifers this year. So it is just as easy to tie them all up.

Plus, I want retained heifers to be halter trained. That makes them easier to handle especially since I am all AI.
 

J&D Cattle

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I sorted two heifers out for my son last year that were around 550lbs. You talk about a work out. I haltered them 6 or 7 times and ended up having to have knee surgery (unrelated injury) and the project was cut short. My nephew called the other day wanting to buy a 4H steer from me. I don't think he knows what he's in for either but I'll happily help when I can.
 

Nesikep

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I've never done that many at once..

Around here, I pick out a few I figure will make the grade come weaning time, and start them early.. They'll drag a halter with a length of rope for a week or two when they're about a month old, that gets them a little used to it... During the summer I don't ever really have the time to work them, but I do spend time with them and they're usually a bunch of pests.. Then, after they've settled down from weaning I'll start on them... Put the halter on them and go lead them to some green grass, walk around the yard, explore a bit, probably for a half hour at a time, then back into the corral.. Halter up another one and repeat. I've never tied them for extended times because I haven't needed to

I knew this one had the makings of a stubborn, headstrong girl, so I started early..


Here she is out for a walk, all happy happy, you can see the halter setup...


Getting them to have good habits early on is critical, so setting yourself up so they can't tow you around is key.. I always stand on their left side (where the halter chain works from) and give them a couple feet of rope.. you always have to be able to pull at a 90* angle to their body.. they're relatively weak pulling sideways.. if you're behind them it'll take 4 times the effort.

Lastly, for the first while, I always lead them where they want to go, so after being cooped up in the corral a while eating hay, they're happy for some grass, after they've had grass, they might go to the barn and get a treat, and then back home with their buddies

Yotta found the barrel of treats
 

Boot Jack Bulls

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When halter breaking, I start by putting them through the alley and into the working chute. I tie them up in the chute (and alley if I have several to break) for a day or 2, spending much of the time with the sides wide open and running a blower and fans on them, working hair. Then I lead them out of the chute to our tie rail, again time for blowers and brushes. Once they do that easily, they get used to trips to the fitting chutes and wash rack and several laps around the main barn area with set-up practice. When they can do all of that, then it is time for walks on the practice ring in the yard. If one wants to bolt when on the lawn, they get tied to an old show cow for a few trips to break the habit. When starting a group, I pick out the most docile couple to start first. This way, they are on the tie rail by the second day, and I can have others in the chute/alley getting more time (killing several birds with one stone this way). Also, if you start with a difficult one, it can make it more difficult to maintain your enthusiasm about the process. I have started everything from calves to mature cows and bulls this way with success.

If you have a calf that is testing your strength, look into a cruise control halter. I also like the Sullivan's slider halters, since they release pressure to reward positive behavior. Get them used to walking and standing with their heads up also helps you be able to maintain control. Also getting a calf to break at the poll and have some flex is helpful. This can be achieved by spinning the calf in tight circles, backing up, abrupt stops, etc. Horse people have this part down to a science IMO. Hope this helps and best of luck!
 

DLD

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Our method is closer to Boot Jack’s. We don’t even try to start them til they’re weaned. We hand feed them for a few days, try to spend an hour or so a couple times a day just being around them, getting them used to us - some will let you scratch them pretty soon. When they’re pretty calm, we’ll tie them in the chute and alley and just comb and scratch on them for a couple days, then move them out and tie them to the fence - not high until they’re done fighting it. Comb and brush and introduce the show stick. In the beginning we don’t do it for long - an hour is plenty in my opinion - they get tired and frustrated just like us, and in my experience longer at a time at this stage doesn’t really make the process go any faster. But, I do think that that it’s very important to do it at least once a day - twice a day does shorten the process. We do it just before feeding time, and after being tied for a couple of days, we start leading them to feed. When that’s going fairly well, we start leading them farther each day. Almost all of them will be leading well enough to move to the show barn in a week or ten days from the first time they were haltered.

Everyone has their own methods that work best for their situation, this is just what I’ve refined mine down to over the past 40 years.
 

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