Worst mistake?

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dcara

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Thought I'd ask this one not only for the educational aspect of us beginners, but some may even be humerous. Anyway, what was the worst mistake you folks are willing to admit to with cattle and would advise us beginers against doing even though it may have seemed like a good idea at the time?

A couple of my most recent ones were placeing a young bull in with a cutting horse for a couple of days. Fortunately no real harm was done other than having to go get the bull from another pasture after he decided he didn't want to play with the horse anymore.

Another was trying to use a brabwire fence line as one side of a chute to herd some calves into the trailer. Needless to say I had to spend the rest of the day rounding the calves up from the other pasture and then repairing the fence.

Oh yeah. There was the time I asked my son to use our 2 horse trailer to load a 6 mo old calf for me to take to auction and I thought I might pick up a horse at auction also. The trailer has one of those flemsy doors in the front with a window. When I came out of the house my son was slowly driving up from the pasture with the trailer and the calf standing in the bed of my pickup. According to my son, the front door of the trailer was not latched and the wind blew it open during the loading. When the calf went into the trailer and saw daylight he just kept going, right thru the door and ended up in the bed of my F250.
 

sidney411

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Yeah, I tried the barbwire fence herding thing too, with the same results, except mine were on the hiway and had to be roped since she decided she would run to town.

Try to herd cows on foot- this does not work! One will always break free they there they all go!

Try to chase a calf on a 4-wheeler- this does not work! It will head for the nearest fence and break right through it then you have to spend 4 hours searching through the neighbors grown-up, not shredded in 10 years pasture.

There are a lot more stupid things I have done but I can't bring myself to tell you all because the more I think about some of the things I have done, they sounded good at the time and later I realize I must have had my head up in the clouds or something because I wonder where I come up with these ideas :oops:
 

Dee

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last year, hauling pairs to pasture almost 2 miles away, we put the calves in the trailer, thinking the mom's would follow. They did for the first mile, then someone thought her calf was still back at the farm and turned, taking half the herd with her. That was a whole day of rounding up and hauling.
 

Running Arrow Bill

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Temporarily putting a docile yearling Longhorn bull in pasture with an 8 year old TWH stallion. The stallion chased the bull into our chainlink fence in our yard. Needless to say, didn't do that again! Bull was scared S------s!

Another incident put same bull in our 40 x 60' dog pen to eat down the grass. Dog was put somewhere else. There had been some hay in the dog house for bedding. Bull with about 24" of horn then got his head stuck inside the dog house. He finally figured out how to get his head out. Of course, didn't have camera with us at the time.
 

dun

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My most common, and ongoing, mistake is summed up by "Don't start vast projects with half vast plans"

dun
 

hillbilly

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I once bought a large group [50 head] of short and solid 2nd period cows with borrowed money.
They were large framed Angus and looked great in the ring. Only $510 per head...Can't lose on that deal, right?
Only about 2/3 of them had calves, lost 25% of those due to birth weight.
The lightest calf that lived weighed 105#.
Cull cows were bringing .26 per pound.
After three years I was down to 5 of the original 50 and they were older than dirt.
That was an expendsive [$28,000 with interest] lesson.

Hillbilly
 

jt

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one of my mess ups.. i have a bad habit of going thru the gate and just pulling it to behind me because "i am only going to be in here for a minute" then i get sidetracked, which is easy for me, and forget to go back and latch it... and the wind or a goat pushes it open and... you can imagine... man do i get in trouble with the wife over this one LOL

jt
 
A

Anonymous

I am in the same boat as JT, not only do I forget to close the gate, I usually head to town before the cows get out, leaving the wife and a half worthless dog to get the herd back in usually in the worst weather! When I pull in the drive and see weeds, or snow stuck in the bumper of her jeep, I usually throw my hat in the house first, if it boomer rangs back at twice the speed I start apologizing fast!
 

TheBullLady

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The most recent one I can think of.. last fall we had borrowed a Maine bull to use until we found a replacement for our Simmental. When my husband got home with the new bull, we had to "swap" the bulls out. So we put the Maine in the corral that we have set up for the calves to come in (we put a creep feeder gate on one end for the calves to come through, and keep a bunk of feed for them) unloaded the new bull, and backed up to load the Maine. Who would have thought he'd be able to squeeze his big bull out the creep feeder gate?? We're not as young as we used to be, but we sure were running like teenages to get him rounded back up and into the pens before he could get to the Simmental. Scared the beezeejus out of me..
 

eric

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Mine just happened this past Sunday...after spending a couple of hrs on Saturday trying to get two calves seperated from the herd and into a weaning pen I had made from some panels, we finally got one of them in but the other calf just kept running away. So I had the great idea on Sunday morning after church to come home and just rope the son of a gun and drag her butt in the pen! So I get the wife and kid out there to help me, we drop some cubes down and when they come up, I throw a rope around her neck. BIG MISTAKE!!! I had the other end of the rope tied to the 4 wheeler with my wife on it, and I had planned on dragging her into the pen. She had other ideas! After getting the rope as tight as she could around her neck, (her doing, not ours!) when she ran out of slack, she then starting to pull the 4 wheeler, and when she got the rope on one side of the rack, she actually flipped the 4 wheeler over on its side! Its a big Kawasaki 400, and luckily my wife bailed out before it landed on top of her. But now this poor calf is, we are sure, about to choke herself to death, as the rope is super tight around her neck! So I do the best thing, or at least what I thought was the best thing, and I cut the rope off by the 4 wheeler, hoping it would loosen up around her neck.
No such luck!! So she is gagging like crazy, my wife is in tears because she thinks the calf is about to suffocate, so I then grab the rope and tie it to a tree, thinking I could just follow the rope down to her, like they do in the calf roping, throw her down and get the rope off from around her neck! Again, no such luck!! She is fighting like crazy because this rope around her neck is choking her, so as I cut the rope by the tree, my wife and kid both go into the garage crying cause they just knew she was gonna die, leaving me to handle the situation alone. Finally I tell my kid to get on the other 4 wheeler and lets try and force her into a corner, and then I will try and cut the rope off her neck. Well, FINALLY the poor thing must of worn herself out, as we got her into a corner, and I got her penned against the fence, got out my wire cutters, and cut the rope off from around her neck. She took off fast as lightening when I let her up, and she headed straight for the trees and I didnt see her again for a couple of hrs. Only when all of them came up for water did we finally get a good look at her, and she didnt leave mamas side the rest of the afternoon. She appears to be o k , she is back sucking on mama, she is drinking water normally and when I gave them all some cubes later on that evening, she seemed to have forgotten the incident ever happened! I know we wont be forgetting it very soon!!

Needless to say, I ordered 14 more corral panels and 3 more gates on Monday morning, and I am gonna make a real alleyway and a real holding pen this weekend before I try that again.

I know this was cruel and unnecessary, but believe me, I would of never thought a 7 1/2 month old calf would be that strong!! I am 6'2...250 lbs...and I didnt have a chance against her!! Hopefully someone reads this and can avoid ever doing this to a calf!
 

TXBobcat

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eric":2r65rt1i said:
she seemed to have forgotten the incident ever happened! I know we wont be forgetting it very soon!! !

The calf won't be forgetting it anytime soon either. It will probably avoid pens like the plague from now on. If you do get it in there, it will be bouncing off the walls!

I've had a few cows/calves like that, but after a day or 2 without water, they'll be ready to come into the pen for a drink.
 

sidney411

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Eric,

I know this will sound mean but you could have just let her wear herself out and choke down a little bit. We have had to do that to 1 cow and a heifer and wouldn't go into the pens. Granted we had horses. The heifer choked herself and I thought she was going to pass out but she never did. We let her wear herself out a bit and then drug her into the trailer. She only got out of the trailer at the sale barn, not in my pens again.

The cow had a calf stuck in her and we got her into the pens and called the vet out, Sunday night of all days. He didn't want to put her into the chute for fear she would go down and we wouldn't be able to get her out since our chute in solid pipe. We didn't have 2 gates to put her inbetween yet. She was really mad and not at all cooperative so he roped her and let her choke her self down until she fell. Then he put a halter on her and tied her really tight into the bottom corner of the pen so she couldn't get up. He ended up having to cut her to get the calf out and we had to cull her so she never left the pen until she was loaded onto the trailer. She didn't get up for 2 days though.

I don't think either of these cows would have gone back in the pens willingly. They are smart and they do remenber things like this. If you have trouble with your little heifer going back in the pens then the best thing to do may be to sell her so she is not a problem cow in the future.

And I would have never thought a 6 1/2 mth old calf would be able to pull a 4-wheeler over!!! I will remember that. I do know that a 1 month old calf can kick my rear though, I tried to bull dog one that got out and ended up with 2 broken bones and a lot of bruises, scratches! I have found out the hard way several times that any calf is WAY stronger then I am.

Thanks for your info!
 

eric

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I corrected the post, as the calf is actually 7 1/2 mos old, born in mid Dec.

Sidney, that was gonna be my plan of last resort, that was why I stayed with her after the wife /kid bailed out on me. I told my wife that eventually she would collapse and then I could run in there really quickly and cut the rope off. We put water in front of her several times, as she was salivating quite a bit, and she did stop to drink once during all of this.

Maybe the only good thing is that the mama was in the other pasture and never saw what was going on. And, because the pen was in the other pasture also, the calf never got close to the pen I was gonna put her in.
I took down the portable corral panels and moved them onto the big pasture, where the cows are most of the time, and when I pick up the new panels, I am gonna make the new pen in the big pasture. My plan is to construct the pen, leave the gates open for awhile, and hopefully they will go through there a few times and realize that they can get in and get out without being trapped. I will probably put the water trough in there to get them in there, but make sure they can get out also, therefore hopefully they wont be as paranoid when I need them to go inthere next time.
These calves are 7 1/2 mos old, I have another one 5 mos old now, and the cows aren't due again till next spring, so hopefully by the time the 3rd one needs weaning, everything will be alright!
 

TXBobcat

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eric":2vw7xj0q said:
I will probably put the water trough in there to get them in there, but make sure they can get out also, therefore hopefully they wont be as paranoid when I need them to go inthere next time.

Putting water troughs in the pen is a good idea to me, especially if there are no natural sources of water on the place (i.e creeks, tanks, etc.)

By doing this, you are forcing the cattle to come in the pen to drink. I would put the water trough on one end of the pen and make the gate on the other end.
 

bwranch

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I'm always getting caught up in those "half vast" plans. Biggest mistake I've made over and over is increasing animal numbers before having the proper facilities in place. By facilities I'm referring to fence, water, working pens, etc. We've done it and so far have gotten by but the trade off is that we've spent a lot of time chasing cows down the road, through the pastures, lost a calf because mama got out of our half vast working facilities and hid in the woods at night (found her the next morning with the calf halfway out and dead) among other things. I think that by falling prey to the temptation to build that herd quickly, we wound up creating one heck of a lot more work for ourselves. IMHO these times of high prices are a great time to cull HARD and put the money into facilities. That way, when replacements do become available at a reasonable cost, you're ready.
 

Cattle Rack Rancher

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I'm always getting caught up in those "half vast" plans. Biggest mistake I've made over and over is increasing animal numbers before having the proper facilities in place. By facilities I'm referring to fence, water, working pens, etc. We've done it and so far have gotten by but the trade off is that we've spent a lot of time chasing cows down the road, through the pastures, lost a calf because mama got out of our half vast working facilities and hid in the woods at night (found her the next morning with the calf halfway out and dead) among other things. I think that by falling prey to the temptation to build that herd quickly, we wound up creating one heck of a lot more work for ourselves. IMHO these times of high prices are a great time to cull HARD and put the money into facilities. That way, when replacements do become available at a reasonable cost, you're ready.

I always thought it was "Don't take on a vast project with a half vast attitude". I know many people around here that have a half vast way of doing things. My biggest mistake was believing an old wive's tale that says as long as you keep the calf between yourself and the cow, the cow will not attack you. The cow came right over top of the calf. As I was running through the bush away from the cow, I thought there's another cattle myth dispelled.

Also, using your truck to tie off the end of your lariat is hard on quarter panels and mirrors. Bulls with big horns are not as intimidated by you as you would think. 'Bargain' cows are not always good bargains. Finally, the best fence will not hold a determined cow.
 
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D

dcara

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My experience with cows and fences has convinced me that fences are nothing more than a suggestion to the cows of where you would like them to be. The more excited the cows get the less attention they pay to your suggestion.

BTW, lots of great posts here. I've certainly learned some new and important stuff. It takes fortitude and character to be able to admit ones mistakes for the benefit of others, especially in a such a public forum, and I for one appreciate it.
 

dun

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The only people not making mistakes are those that aren't doing anything! But of course, that is a mistake in itself

dun
 

plbcattle

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walking to close to feeding cattle. I can show you one heck of a black and blue knot on my leg from a swift painful kick to my shin.
 
A

Anonymous

what is a cull?

sorry to hear about the monitary loss!!

and what do you recomend I do as a newby to not get myself into that same situation?

hillbilly":3kqrwnx2 said:
I once bought a large group [50 head] of short and solid 2nd period cows with borrowed money.
They were large framed Angus and looked great in the ring. Only $510 per head...Can't lose on that deal, right?
Only about 2/3 of them had calves, lost 25% of those due to birth weight.
The lightest calf that lived weighed 105#.
Cull cows were bringing .26 per pound.
After three years I was down to 5 of the original 50 and they were older than dirt.
That was an expendsive [$28,000 with interest] lesson.

Hillbilly
 

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