Stubborn prospect - ideas?

Help Support CattleToday:

INDad

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
NW Indiana
Hi - I'm a "newbie" and have been browsing this board - appreciate the wisdom and expertise displayed here! My question is as much a "kid" question as a calf question - we have a prospect steer (born the end of March) who will be showing in the cow-calf class as well as prospect class at our county fair in a week.

He's got an interesting personality - doesn't fight the halter while tied up in the barn but once we get him out in the lot he'll sometimes dig in those hooves and refuse to move. Occasionally he'll even "tip over" - and is real difficult to get back up (tail twists, smacks on the rear, etc., don't really get to him a whole lot).

When I'm leading him, I can get him moving while he's following his mama, he sets up reasonably well for his age; the problem comes in when my kids (age 11 and 8) enter the picture. Initially the thought was for cow-calf to have the 11 year old lead the cow and our 8 year old (almost 9) lead the calf - right now that's not a good idea.

He's gotten away from each of them a couple of times in the past two days so of course (not surprisingly) he's convinced he's in charge and can take off from them whenever he wants. Totally different story when I'm leading him - he hasn't ran off from me - if I was showing him next week I wouldn't be too concerned about him - but since I'm a little old for 4-H that's not really helpful!

My question - what suggestions do you all have to help get the calf and my kids working together well? My only "improvement thought" for tomorrow is to have two halters on him - one with a chain under his chin - and a kid will have one rope while I have the other as the "backup."

Another note - and this has me confused - I've been around calves that were mean, jumpy or stubborn before - but that was pretty much their personality. When we're just standing this one, all the kids can pet him, etc., and he gets along fine. Maybe he has a split personality...!

I'm working on the patience thing - we don't have access to a donkey and I'd rather not use a tractor if at all possible (but that's becoming more attractive as time goes on!)

I want this to be fun for the kids and not too stressful for the calf. Any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks -
 

milkmaid

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
5,295
Reaction score
0
Location
Idaho
If you're not using a halter with a chain under the jaw right now, then get one for him. Generally that makes a major attitude adjustment for my calves -- after they get over their temper tantrum the first time they get a good "pop". :p (That's your turn to be on the other end of the rope.)
 

bigdaddy

Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Location
NWIN
Keep working with him...he will learn to trust you and the kids... I don't know anymore than that...the more time you spend with him with a brush or comb or just scratching on him the better he will get. I agree with tying him up and taking him to water two or three times a day...Good luck.

Off subject: What part of NW Indiana I too live in that neck of the woods...NW of Lafayette.
 

farmwife

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Messages
771
Reaction score
0
Location
NE Texas
milkmaid":31o3d8zh said:
If you're not using a halter with a chain under the jaw right now, then get one for him. Generally that makes a major attitude adjustment for my calves -- after they get over their temper tantrum the first time they get a good "pop". :p (That's your turn to be on the other end of the rope.)

I agree completely. We rarely start our cattle on a rope. A chain is an attitude adjustment for the ones that think they're the boss. Ocassionly, and only ocassionaly, I have even added barbed wire to the chain for an added incentive for the most stubborn ones

You also might try a slightly longer rope and have your kids lead him with you on the end. When he takes off you can stop him, but the kids are still on the rope - calf thinks the kids stopped him (breaking is as much, if not more, a mental thing than a physical).
 

milkmaid

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
5,295
Reaction score
0
Location
Idaho
farmwife":1o54s5hr said:
I agree completely. We rarely start our cattle on a rope. A chain is an attitude adjustment for the ones that think they're the boss. Ocassionly, and only ocassionaly, I have even added barbed wire to the chain for an added incentive for the most stubborn ones

Interesting idea. I haven't tried that one but I have run a second chain through the mouth on extremely difficult cows -- like you'd use on a stallion.

(breaking is as much, if not more, a mental thing than a physical).

I agree completely. How else do you explain 1000lb+ animals that docily walk beside you -- when they're big enough to trample you, run away with you, and seriously hurt you? The only explanation is that they do not know how big they are -- and I try my best never to let them find out! :lol:
 

farmwife

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Messages
771
Reaction score
0
Location
NE Texas
milkmaid":31n5tsux said:
farmwife":31n5tsux said:
I agree completely. We rarely start our cattle on a rope. A chain is an attitude adjustment for the ones that think they're the boss. Ocassionly, and only ocassionaly, I have even added barbed wire to the chain for an added incentive for the most stubborn ones

Interesting idea. I haven't tried that one but I have run a second chain through the mouth on extremely difficult cows -- like you'd use on a stallion.

(breaking is as much, if not more, a mental thing than a physical).

I agree completely. How else do you explain 1000lb+ animals that docily walk beside you -- when they're big enough to trample you, run away with you, and seriously hurt you? The only explanation is that they do not know how big they are -- and I try my best never to let them find out! :lol:

Never tried the chain in the mouth, but I may on the next stubborn one. Thanks!
 
OP
I

INDad

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
NW Indiana
Thanks to all for the posts - plan for the day, while I'm at work the kids are to go out with the calf tied up at least twice each and pet on him, etc., but also try making him move with them while he's still tied up. We'll be using the chain tonight - thanks for that - and I'll be on the end! We're going to work that boy pretty hard over the weekend too - hopefully we'll see a change by Monday.

I had let him go last night to be with mama (after calming him down after our adventures - I led him around our little pen 3-4 times and he did fine for me) - and he tied up with no problem this morning. Still acts a little full of himself but he let me pet him, wasn't "testing" the halter at all. I didn't have time to lead him though.

By the way - we're NW of Lafayette approx 30 miles. We'll keep you posted - thanks again!
 

bigdaddy

Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Location
NWIN
By the way - we're NW of Lafayette approx 30 miles. We'll keep you posted - thanks again![/quote]

Hummm. We live just outside Fowler. If you need help let me know and we can come give you a hand. I have a 14 year old boy that has broke every calf using a rope halter, blood, sweat and tears for the past 3 years (sometimes more tears than anything else and rarely blood)...will be glad to send him to play rodeo...he helps a neighbor break calves that he is selling...

What county do you guys show in? Jasper Co. will have an open show coming up soon.
 

Jovid

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
1,787
Reaction score
0
Location
Oklahoma
cowboy13":fr3ing8p said:
Right now he is broke to tie. Just give him some time and be persistence. If he gets away, don't leave him. Get back on that halter, otherwise, hw will think he can do it everytime and try to.

I have to agree with Cowboy. This is a 3 month old calf why would you need to use a chain on such a young calf. I would never even consider barbwire. I guess you all must have some pretty rank 3 month old calves. After all how much can a 3 month old calf weigh. I think you just need to be persistent and patient.
 

farmwife

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Messages
771
Reaction score
0
Location
NE Texas
Jovid":vums5h0w said:
cowboy13":vums5h0w said:
Right now he is broke to tie. Just give him some time and be persistence. If he gets away, don't leave him. Get back on that halter, otherwise, hw will think he can do it everytime and try to.

I have to agree with Cowboy. This is a 3 month old calf why would you need to use a chain on such a young calf. I would never even consider barbwire. I guess you all must have some pretty rank 3 month old calves. After all how much can a 3 month old calf weigh. I think you just need to be persistent and patient.

It's not the rankness, but the stubbornness. Of course, when dealing with young kids, you have to factor in their potential fear of the animal. I know when my sons were younger they were scared for a time no matter how much I told them the calf wouldn't hurt them. As for the barbed wire, it's not like you make the entire halter out of barbed wire, but use a small piece attached to the chain under their chin.
 

AAOK

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2004
Messages
502
Reaction score
0
Location
Ada, Oklahoma
I have always found that slow and gentle, followed by reward is by far the best way to go. Hold him off Mama a little too long, have her tied within a few feet, and lead him to her as slowly as you can. Just increase the distance a little each time. Don't froget to just rub and scratch all over him and tell him how good he's doing. Don't use any chains or wires. A long rope with an adult on the far end is OK. Be gentle, but don't let him get away.
 
OP
I

INDad

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
NW Indiana
You all have been great thus far - at the moment I'm figuring he needs to get used to show halter anyway (with chain) so that's the approach I'm going to go with for tonight with me and a kid both together - trying to avoid the "rasslin" (and the bolting) but go easy and still make progress.

He's probably only 350 - 400 pounds but I have to say, I have to work real hard to move him along when he gets his feet set. Way harder than I ever had to with our 1200-plus pound steer!

Kids' "fear factor" is also a significant issue. But realistically, helping them work through things like this, build confidence and have some fun together is exactly why I think showing beef calves can be such a great thing for kids! :D

Thanks again - we'll keep you posted.

sc
 

Jovid

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
1,787
Reaction score
0
Location
Oklahoma
INDad":2ppyoo69 said:
You all have been great thus far - at the moment I'm figuring he needs to get used to show halter anyway (with chain) so that's the approach I'm going to go with for tonight with me and a kid both together - trying to avoid the "rasslin" (and the bolting) but go easy and still make progress.

He's probably only 350 - 400 pounds but I have to say, I have to work real hard to move him along when he gets his feet set. Way harder than I ever had to with our 1200-plus pound steer!

Kids' "fear factor" is also a significant issue. But realistically, helping them work through things like this, build confidence and have some fun together is exactly why I think showing beef calves can be such a great thing for kids! :D

Thanks again - we'll keep you posted.

sc

I would leave the kid out of the picture until you can lead the calf yourself. If you can't work with the calf then no wonder your kid is scared. Another adult behind the calf should also help.

As AAOK has said you just need to slow down and work on things a little at a time but after re-reading your post I see that you don't have time. Not much you can do in less than a week. Good Luck
 
OP
I

INDad

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
NW Indiana
Thanks Jovid - I can lead him okay and if it was me in the ring I wouldn't be concerned. I think I mentioned something to that effect initially; if not I should have. My son did okay tonight (short distance) - my daughter needs some work to build her confidence back up. Thanks again to all - we're working on kids and calves both!!
 

milkmaid

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
5,295
Reaction score
0
Location
Idaho
A 400lb calf, regardless of age, is plenty big enough to learn his manners. Shucks, I've had little 3 week old holstein bull calves that are gentle as puppy dogs and dead broke as the grandkids' horse. I recall one day walking a certain calf down the road and one of my neighbors rolled down his car window as he went past, and hollered "that is one heck of an ugly dog!" :lol:

I wouldn't hesitate to use a chain under the jaw, through the mouth, or a whip if I felt it would solve the problem of a contrary cow or calf. A lot of the time when I'm weaning calves I move them out to a pen that's easiest accessed by leading them to it, and a rope halter and 6' whip will have 90% of them broke to lead by the time I get them there.
 
OP
I

INDad

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
NW Indiana
We made progress tonight - had two halters, a chain halter held by my daughter and I was "backup." I had to take charge a few times but he didn't "win" so I was pleased with that.

Chain seems to be convincing him that stubbornness isn't a trait that will lead to good things for him. Still have quite a ways to go, especially in building up my daughter's confidence, but not a bad day's work. I'm hopeful that with lots of work and hands on in the next week, he can be relatively under control by fair time. Good thing is, once we clear this hurdle (and we will) by next year's fair he'll be a piece of cake to handle - at least if past experience holds up.

Thanks again!!
 

farmwife

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Messages
771
Reaction score
0
Location
NE Texas
INDad":24i2w9m1 said:
We made progress tonight - had two halters, a chain halter held by my daughter and I was "backup." I had to take charge a few times but he didn't "win" so I was pleased with that.

Chain seems to be convincing him that stubbornness isn't a trait that will lead to good things for him. Still have quite a ways to go, especially in building up my daughter's confidence, but not a bad day's work. I'm hopeful that with lots of work and hands on in the next week, he can be relatively under control by fair time. Good thing is, once we clear this hurdle (and we will) by next year's fair he'll be a piece of cake to handle - at least if past experience holds up.

Thanks again!!

It's been my experience that "once broke always broke". We bought a Starlake bull at the Shafer dispersal. Later we found out he had shown with the Starlake truckload at Denver in 96 or so. We sold him at a registered sale in 2003. I lead him in the auction ring with just a rope halter at 2400+lbs. without a hitch.
 

Latest posts

Top