My new baby, Molly

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Hpacres440p

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Will your vet do a cosmetic dehorning, where they see the skin over the hole afterwards? Not sure about the cost on that…
 
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Lannie

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I haven't even spoken to the vet yet, so I don't know what the common practice there is. I guess if they sew the skin over, flies wouldn't be a problem, right? I always hear about cows having bloody open holes in their heads, and I really don't want that, so I was planning on leaving her horns intact, but not if I can't get her in the stanchion to milk her.

MM, I'll have to ask him if he can modify it at all. I don't see how, but maybe if we both sit and look at it for a while, we can think of something. The side supports go three feet down in the dirt, so those probably aren't moving. And hubby is getting old to the point of not being able to do a lot of work anymore... but maybe he can tell me what to do, if we come up with a plan, and I can do the actual work.

I should call the vet first, though. It might be easier to just de-horn her and be done with it. It would sure save ME a lot of work, that's for sure!
 

MurraysMutts

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I haven't even spoken to the vet yet, so I don't know what the common practice there is. I guess if they sew the skin over, flies wouldn't be a problem, right? I always hear about cows having bloody open holes in their heads, and I really don't want that, so I was planning on leaving her horns intact, but not if I can't get her in the stanchion to milk her.

MM, I'll have to ask him if he can modify it at all. I don't see how, but maybe if we both sit and look at it for a while, we can think of something. The side supports go three feet down in the dirt, so those probably aren't moving. And hubby is getting old to the point of not being able to do a lot of work anymore... but maybe he can tell me what to do, if we come up with a plan, and I can do the actual work.

I should call the vet first, though. It might be easier to just de-horn her and be done with it. It would sure save ME a lot of work, that's for sure!
Vet here will cut em.
Pack em with what I assume is cotton.
Uses a hot iron to cauterize. A bit bloody but it's over pretty quick.

Need a couple weeks of no Flys. But some folks just put a fly tag in each ear and run with it. Never hear of any problems. It is getting too late here for sure. Flies are here already. Yall got snow and flies????
 
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Lannie

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We had flies before the snow. Spring in South Dakota! LOL! Most of the flies died in the blizzard, but I'm seeing a few more now, so they'll be back in force before I know it. We *might* be over our freezing nights now, I don't know, but there's nothing below freezing in the forecast for the next 10 days, and our last frost is usually May 15th-ish. We'll have a lot less poop this year with only the one little heifer and the horse, so maybe they won't be so bad.

However! We were looking at the stanchion last night, and Rich (hubby) thinks if he moves the stationary board over a few inches, it might be wide enough for her. It's a 2x6, so he could even strip it to a 2x4 to get a little more room, although it would lose a little structural strength. Out of all the things he made with wood around here, that headlock is the only thing the cows have NOT been able to break, LOL! He really did a good job on it.

She could get in now with no problem if she'd go in a little higher (the moving board slants outward in the open position, so it's wider at the top), but she's still kinda short, and she seems to put her head lower to try to get in there, which is at the narrowest part. She can get one horn in but if (when!) the other one bumps, she backs up and tries the other horn first, but the other one always bumps the board. After a few bumps, she gives up and walks away. We'll unbolt that left-hand board and move it over a bit and see if that helps. I'd really like to just leave her horns alone if possible, but we'll have to see.

I don't want her to go through a lot of pain when she's still pretty new to us. I especially don't want her to associate the milking stanchion with pain. But if I have to dehorn her, the sooner the better, I guess, so she'll have plenty of time to recover (including mentally) before I have to have her coming in there every day. We'll see how moving the board goes and reassess from there. Thanks for the pics!
 
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Lannie

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Well, it took threats ("Show me where your tools are, dammit!"), but hubs finally went out with me yesterday to work on widening that head catch. :) It took some doing, and it's a long, hot, sweaty story, but suffice it to say, he built that thing to LAST! LOL! After going back for the circular saw and just CUTTING the offending board off at the bottom (I wish I had a video), he hammered it over against the long upright side board and there's several more inches of room there now.

This morning, I'll open the thing the way it should be opened, as in, so I can shut it on her pointy little head, and see if she can get in there. If not, we'll have to fiddle with it some more, or talk to the vet about dehorning. But at least SOMETHING finally got done.

Halfway through these endeavors, he stopped, wiped the sweat off his face (and glasses), and said, "This is just so her blankety-blank HORNS will fit in there?" I was trying so hard not to laugh, but I said yes. So he suggested we just take her in and dehorn her, to which I replied, "I have to get her IN the headlock to get a halter on her to load her in the trailer, so one way or another we have to get this to work." So he continued, but that's when the circular saw came out, LOL! We don't NEED a halter to load her, but he slid into the loading gate with the Bobcat several months ago and it's all broken into kindling wood (see? a metal gate might have held up), so he'd have to make a new gate to get her loaded without a halter. Right now there's a corral panel leaned up against the broken gate. Ah, living in Hillbilly Heaven... it's like a dream come true. (Heavy sarcasm)

Now to see if he'll help me fix the cross-fence and the OTHER broken gate... :rolleyes:
 
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Lannie

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Well, it was a fail. :( She barely TOUCHED a horn tip to one of the boards, and backed out. I just sat there and waited to see who would win - her horns or her stomach. She checked ALL AROUND the whole thing trying to see if there was another way in, and when she didn't find one, she walked away. Horns - 1. Stomach - 0.

I suppose it doesn't help that the pasture is coming in fast now, and there's nice green grass everywhere, so why does she need pellets, right? I finally gave up and moved the movable board over and called her back, THEN she went in and ate her treats. I guess we'll have to thin that one board, or just take it out completely. She won't be centered in the stanchion that way, but at least her head will go in, and I can adjust the block on the headcatch to hold her once she IS in.

The saga continues...
 
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Lannie

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And then this morning, she had no problem. Maybe it was all the banging, sawing, and cussin' the day before that had her spooked yesterday morning. I guess I'd be giving the whole barn a wide berth if I was a little cow and a couple of stoopid hoomans came in and started a ruckus...

Anyway, I opened the thing in the middle and sat down. She walked up, looked in, looked on either side (like yesterday), then just tilted her head and stuck it in and started eating. I was afraid to breathe! LOL! I didn't brush her or touch her or anything, just soft talking, so as not to spook her again, and she was just fine. She did back out once when Rich popped his head in the door to see if I was done yet, but she went right back in again and finished the rest of her treats.

There really is plenty of room if she'd just put her head in a few inches higher, but I guess she'll get higher as she grows, eh? ;) Or she'll learn to lift instead of duck down.

Silly cows...

So I'll give her a few days with no bothering, then I'll work on shutting it on her, and THEN, HAHA! The halter will go on! 😲

I was looking at her out in the corral this morning as I was walking out to feed her, and thinking she'll be old enough to breed in a month, but to me, she still looks like a calf! I mean, a LITTLE calf. There's no way I'd think of breeding her if I didn't know how old she was. I sure hope she grows up some in the next few months. My plan (such as it is) is to breed her in October or November, for a summer calf next year. I'm so used to BIG cows, though, and she's so petite... I had always thought people were joking, or fibbing, when they said they had full grown, mature cows that weighed 800 or 900 pounds. I guess maybe it could be true!
 
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Lannie

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Well, finally! Molly has a halter on. It was a very dramatic 3 minute ordeal involving lots of spinning in circles, rope-throwing by an inept moron (that would be me), stepping in poop 13 times (me again), and Molly standing on my left foot while calculating how high she would have to jump to get over my head and out of her stall. 😲 I used my elbow as a "horn" in her neck to back her off my foot (good thing she's not so big, no broken toes, yay!), and finally got the damblasted thing on her face and buckled up. That's the good news. The bad news is it's just a teeny bit too small, so I've ordered a larger size and when it gets here, I'll do the whole thing again to switch the halters out. The current one is fine except it's a little tight in the throat when her head is lifted up, and it's already on the last hole. She's not choking or anything, and it doesn't seem to bother her, but I like to see a little daylight between her jowl and the throat strap when she's standing normally. (And a few more holes for future growth...)

But whew! I always put a baby foal halter on my calves when they're a day old, because I share milk with the calves, so I need one on them, and they get used to it right from day one and I never have any problems. Molly, on the other hand, is 14 (going on 15) months old and has never EVER had a halter on. So I think I did pretty good for an old lady, alone in a 12'x12' stall with a teenage (half) Jersey Drama Queen. ;)

Our weather has been ugly the past few days, but today looks like it will be sunny, so I'll see if I can get a couple of picture of her in her "new outfit." The hunter green and brass accents look really good against her red hair. Her new halter is the same, just a couple sizes larger.

Once we get the new halter on and she's calmed down a bit, we'll work on tying and leading. She still hasn't had a heat since she's been here, so I might need to take her in for a reproductive exam this summer, and having her halter broke will certainly make THAT easier.
 

damengineer

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Yeah, but a metal gate wouldn't split when they pushed on it with their big ol' hard heads! LOL!

I love your cows! So sweet and gentle. :) That full udder makes me want to milk it! Drives me nuts when they're so full and let down, and then the calf just sips while mom drips. Gah! I want that milk if he doesn't!

I just love cows. It's like a disease or an addiction or something. At least it's a healthy addiction, right? ;)
Teach your kids to love cows and they will never have money for drugs!!!
 
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Lannie

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Woohoo! Molly finally went into heat yesterday. I was starting to worry... but apparently, her condition was poor enough when we got her that all she needed was a couple months of good groceries to get everything back in working order.

But the SOUND she was making all day! Ever heard a peacock? That "Ba-WOOOOO!" sound they make? Well, she was doing the same thing, until she lost her voice (thank God), but then she sounded like someone was strangling a duck. I'm so glad it's over now! :)

Not having successfully secured a boyfriend from the neighbor's herd, she is once again back in the corral, quietly healing her vocal cords.
 

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If you ever have the situation again where one halter is almost to small but still big enough to buckle on, when you get the new halter,put it on over the old halter, buckle it and unbuckle the old one and slide it off over her nose. Works better than taking one off and wrestling a new one on. Because you can slide the new halter up the lead rope and snub her up and keep her snubbed while you put the new halter on her. And have a separate lead rope on the new halter, so you can tie her up with that while you take the old one off (hope that makes sense)
 
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Lannie

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That's exactly what I did to switch halters. I had to use the rope noose around her neck to get started, because she jerks away when I try to clip on or grab her halter, and I seriously don't need any sprained or broken fingers. But once she was caught, and had treats in front of her, it went easily. New halter on, loosely, old halter unbuckled and wiggled down her face and off her nose, new halter snugged up properly, neck rope removed, lead rope clipped on new halter and tied to stall railing. She was so busy eating, she hardly noticed. :)

What I learned: For now, until she becomes used to being "head-handled," I will put a dish of pellets in front of her before I clip on to tie her. ;) When she realizes that nothing bad is going to happen if I'm holding her halter (or she's tied up), she'll be fine. But right now, she's still a mostly-unhandled teenager, and I'm having to start from square one. Normally, I do all this stuff when they're babies, and much easier to catch and handle. But I didn't get that chance with her. She's a good girl, though, just still a bit suspicious, and new things scare her, so we're doing it nice and slow. Got plenty of time left, so I'm trying not to rush things and scare her any worse.

This isn't the greatest picture, but here she is in her new halter, which is the same as the old halter, just bigger. :)

06 13 22 Molly 02

And the rest of her, LOL!
06 13 22 Molly 01

In my day-to-day, I don't really notice that much, but wow, she has really improved, condition-wise, since she got here. And she's bigger. :) I can't wait to breed her and start the milking routine again when she calves. I miss that SO much! And I miss having a calf scampering around, as well.
 
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Lannie

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Ha! You would think so by now, wouldn't you? But no. I don't know what the heck the problem is, but I can NOT touch her head.

I finally got her in the headlock, and thought, OK, now I can do stuff like loosen her halter and hook on a lead and stuff, but she's a direct descendant of Houdini, and managed to pull her head out of THAT narrow slot, horns and all, when I reached in to touch her face. I was just going to scritch her a little, nothing horrible, but "OMG, DON'T TOUCH MY FACE!!!" and she put it in reverse and did a panic back-up you wouldn't believe. I didn't.

07 05 22 Molly 01

Have to replace the "extension" block board with a longer one, and the vertical boards are going to have to be actually touching her neck on either side to keep her in there. All my other girls were blockheads, and there was NO WAY they could get out of that headlock, even as yearlings. Molly just keeps surprising me, LOL! And here's her cute little face, just before she transformed into a raving lunatic:

07 05 22 Molly 02


I'm having much better luck with the puppy! LOL! He LOVES when I touch his face. Or any other part of him. He's such a fuzzy bundle of joy. At least Molly finally figured out what he was, so she's not chasing him anymore. That was weird...
 

MurraysMutts

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Ha! You would think so by now, wouldn't you? But no. I don't know what the heck the problem is, but I can NOT touch her head.

I finally got her in the headlock, and thought, OK, now I can do stuff like loosen her halter and hook on a lead and stuff, but she's a direct descendant of Houdini, and managed to pull her head out of THAT narrow slot, horns and all, when I reached in to touch her face. I was just going to scritch her a little, nothing horrible, but "OMG, DON'T TOUCH MY FACE!!!" and she put it in reverse and did a panic back-up you wouldn't believe. I didn't.

View attachment 18851

Have to replace the "extension" block board with a longer one, and the vertical boards are going to have to be actually touching her neck on either side to keep her in there. All my other girls were blockheads, and there was NO WAY they could get out of that headlock, even as yearlings. Molly just keeps surprising me, LOL! And here's her cute little face, just before she transformed into a raving lunatic:

View attachment 18852


I'm having much better luck with the puppy! LOL! He LOVES when I touch his face. Or any other part of him. He's such a fuzzy bundle of joy. At least Molly finally figured out what he was, so she's not chasing him anymore. That was weird...
She sure looks nice n smooth now!
Horns are looking good.

My Opal is same way. HATES having her head/face messed with.
I have found a weakness tho. She loves having behind her poll scratched!
She don't mind pretty much anywhere else but she just can't get over having her head or face messed with.
Wish I new a secret to fix that.....
 
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Lannie

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I wish I knew the secret, too. Molly is just like Opal, she loves having right behind her poll scratched, and actually she likes having her cheek and jowl scratched as well, but hands off the halter! Go figure.

This morning when I went out to feed her, I noticed she'd rubbed on something and pulled the strap halfway out of the halter buckle, and I wanted to readjust it anyway (she's growing like a weed), but again, she started spinning in circles when I tried to touch the halter. I can touch her ANYWHERE else, I can't figure it. So I ran her into the stall, shut the door behind us and got my lasso rope out again. She stood with her head in the corner, because as we all know, if I can't see you, you can't see me, either. ;)

I dropped the loop over her horns and pulled it up snug, realizing that (YAY!) now her horns are big enough for that, and after that it was a piece of cake. I pulled her head around so I could get to the halter buckle and had my husband just hold the lasso rope for a few seconds while I unbuckled the halter and re-set it to the proper looseness. Then I just lifted the rope off her horns, which is a LOT easier than getting it back off over her whole head. As soon as I opened the stall, she went right back to her breakfast, so either this method was less traumatic to her, or she's finally figuring out I'm not ACTUALLY going to kill her. She's definitely a drama queen, that's for certain.
 

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