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How to Catch a Cow

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  • #21
    Glad the cow taming paid off in easy cow catching of your herd! I really worked with our calf and heifer to keep them halter broke and leading well for JUST this kind of problem. They did come when called, we practiced daily, and they got alfalfa pellets for coming to get halters on.

    So MUCH easier if you keep your bovines tamed and friendly. Sounds like you have a good system.

    As for the smaller bovines, they are STILL cattle with the same kind of thinking and reactions. Our heifer was a Dexter, stood about 42" at the shoulder, but had her "cow moments" just like the bigger cows will. She was pretty attached to DD and me, didn't like men though. She got handled daily, would tie, go in the grooming chute, loaded better in the trailer than a lot of the 4-H horses! She did like to run though, had races with the horses along the divider fence. She and the feeder calf were great helps in getting horses over being shy of cattle.

    Don't have any bovines now, but they are fun to have around, interesting to work with. They WANT routine in their lives, live by the clock if you let them. Hate changes to that routine. Nothing dumb about them, though the females are more reactive than the steers or bottle calves. They just learn differently than horses. It was fun having them.

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    • Original Poster

      #22
      goodhors...I'd heard so many horror stories about cattle that I really was not sure how it would work out when I got the heifers in 2011. Now, I can't imagine not having them...except maybe when I'm being serenaded with demanding bellows to "get off my ass and bring them something better to eat NOW." Cattle and horses go together so well also. More horse people really ought to get a steer and raise their own...good for desensitizing horses too. At my farm the horses get used to not just cattle but hogs, ducks, chickens and turkeys.

      When I open gates and move the cattle the horses are onto it also and they come running as well eager for a new pasture. I just moved the mares and cows today. The mares ran through first all light footed and prancing and the stolid steady cows lumbered through once the horses got by...politely waiting their turn as they change fields. It's very orderly.

      The only horses that will bother the cows are the geldings. My gelding in particular (a blanket appaloosa Spanish Mustang) likes to scatter them running thru the middle of the herd with his ears pinned. I suspect he'd LOVE to herd them if I encouraged it or if I needed him to. I generally don't mix them much anymore but have run horses and cattle together just fine in the past..generally the mares or fillies leave them alone.

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      • #23
        Our cattle were just too small to put with the big horses, especially the goofy geldings. I am SURE they would have made life real difficult for the smaller, hornless cattle. They did play "at" each other thru the fence, each doing their dance, or running off up the fences. Horses LIKED racing the calves, who won depended on how long the cow would run. Calves were fast thru the gate, but horses had longer legs for distances.

        We have had lambs, which did well pastured with the cattle. These were mostly 4-H projects for DD. Summer visitors. I belled them all, kept the wary old gelding happy because he wasn't surprised when they jumped up out of the grass after naps. Bells also would be helpful if animals got loose. It is AMAZING to me how well you can totally MISS seeing a large cow in any color when they stand still in trees. I could follow bells and find them with the horse, standing or moving. These were good brass bells that just jingle almost all the time, with good sound that travels well.

        I like birds, but they would just be snacks to the local wildlife. And I sure hate cleaning bird pens, so they never were a project here.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by goodhors View Post

          . . . It is AMAZING to me how well you can totally MISS seeing a large cow in any color when they stand still in trees.
          . . ..
          As I recall the day all those cows got out the Hereford, you know, huge, sorrel with a big white head, was one of the ones that turned back and vanished into the trees. I expected it with the batch of brindle cows, Gelbvieh (sp?) I guess, they were all kind of camo from the beginning but to lose a giant red and white beast for two hours? Plus they are darned quiet when they want to be.
          Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
          Incredible Invisible

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          • #25
            One caveat to turning horses with cattle, especially young cattle.
            Those horses may end up with half or less tails.

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            • #26
              In our case, the young cattle get chased and pestered!
              “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

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              • #27
                Mine all come when I call them. Most of the cows and our bull will even march right into the chute when I point to it and speak to them.

                I just took the bull to the vet today for hoof trimming and he was the perfect gentleman. He evens loads himself into the trailer. It could have something to do with the fact that the last ride he got was to the AI facility. He was very cooperative and well-behaved. Hmm, maybe that's why he was eager to load this morning. Darn bull was bellowing at me and waiting by the gate while I was backing the trailer up into position. I hope he wasn't too disappointed that it was just a hoof trimming, LOL!
                “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                St. Padre Pio

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                • Original Poster

                  #28
                  That's funny micro bovine. What a GUY! I'd like to get mine that obedient!

                  Thanks for the warning on the tails Bluey. Not good...would not like to see tails gone.

                  I had been warned that colts and geldings would chase cows and on my farm, that seems to be the "froggy and playful" group. The mares and fillies ignore the cattle for the most part. I sure don't want the cow critters harassed so I mainly just keep them apart from the horses. I may have to mix groups when I wean the heifers here in a few months. I'll make sure no horses are in with them to have their tails chewed off...UGH...

                  Funny story. Back in April 2012 when the old cow had her surprise calf, the calf got under my fence tape gates which lacked a bottom/fourth strand and in with the broodmares who are all open/unbred. I found them watching the calf and inspecting him. They were not aggressive but mainly curious. I have little doubt they knew it was a baby and I could sense them worrying about him being away from his mother who was unconcerned. I managed to help him get back in and everyone went back to grazing...crisis over. I realize now that cows park their calves like that which is unlike how mares deal with their foals.

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                  • #29
                    I can't turn my horses and cows out together. Our AQHA gelding is far too cowy. In fact, I used him to move the cows until he developed mild navicular. I'm training my half blind Morgan mare to move the cows now.

                    My first mare, also an AQHA, was also extremely cowy. I got yelled the first day I boarded at a neighbor's Arabian farm because she was "running the weight off the cows". Their Arabian horses had lived peacefully with the cattle for a number of years. The Arabs would share their pasture but act as if the cattle were beneath them. My mare goes out the first day and beelines straight for the cattle. She just divided them again and again for no particular reason. She looked happier than a herding dog moving sheep. After that, she had to be penned up in a small pasture with a couple of steers. They were bottle babies and pests who tried to do the tail eating thing. She was a true cowhorse though, she snaked her head at them and drove them off but never kicked no matter how many times they came up behind her and pestered her.

                    If a horse kicks a cow, it is actually very dangerous to the cow. Cows have short stocky necks with little mobility and can't move fast enough to get out of the way of a kick. Horses in a field know that other horses can swing their heads away from a kick either in play or during disputes. Never turn a horse out with cattle unless you know they won't kick at them.

                    It's nice to see that others have cattle around here. I started with commercial cattle and sold them to buy my first registered ones. They are very different than horses.

                    For those contemplating getting cattle, if you remember the simple rule that running horses will go around you while running cattle will go over you, (hence the stampede fears) that will keep you safe around them.
                    “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                    St. Padre Pio

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #30
                      Yup, I've wondered several times if they'd pancake me so my instincts were right. I stand well off to the side when opening gates for them.

                      I'd also love to do some sort of registered stock at some time. We love the Highlanders but the affordability and availability issue is huge. The Black Baldies are easy to acquire as are Angus...so for now, that's what we've got. They are also good eating. I'm definitely oriented to preserve some of the more rare type of critters like our critically endangered Red Wattle Hogs and Spanish Mustang horses.

                      Speaking of which...If you want a new cowpony, let me know. I still have way too many Spanish mustang youngsters hanging around here and guess where the QH got it's cow sense? From the Spanish horses used in their creation. Cowpony used to literally mean that and while the Spanish Barb/mustangs are not big, there was many a longhorn herded by them.

                      We sent a young stud out to S. Dakota for a bloodline sharing deal. She had him in with her own young stallion. An Angus heifer made the mistake of jumping in with them. I didn't see it but my friend said that my colt worked that heifer until she was pinned in a corner and wouldn't let her move. I told her that she knows where his talents lie at least..he wants to be a cow pony!

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                      • #31
                        In the summer the cows (8 head) are out on pasture at the back of the farm. We take them grain from time to time to keep them used to being handled. The method of getting to the back of the farm is usually an old golf cart.

                        One day last summer the herd escaped and were heading for the highway. Mom grabs a bucket of grain and hops on the golf cart and heads down the road. About 5 minutes later, we look out mom and the golf cart are coming up the road with the herd following behind.

                        Someone had called the police about the cattle being out, so she even made the local news. :-)

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                        • #32
                          Glad you were able to get them back in their pasture. I always keep sweet feed on hand to train the girls up. They will run and moo to me, so now I ride the 4 wheeler to prevent myself from getting trampled by cows! I can curry and fly spray my girls, except for one who is a little shy. They are funny!!
                          Friend of bar.ka
                          My herd.
                          Darby, 4 year old Connemara mare
                          Hope, 25-30 years young Appy mare

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                          • #33
                            Originally posted by goodhors View Post
                            We have had lambs, which did well pastured with the cattle.

                            I like birds, but they would just be snacks to the local wildlife. And I sure hate cleaning bird pens, so they never were a project here.
                            Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                            Cattle and horses go together so well also. More horse people really ought to get a steer and raise their own...good for desensitizing horses too. At my farm the horses get used to not just cattle but hogs, ducks, chickens and turkeys.

                            The only horses that will bother the cows are the geldings. My gelding in particular (a blanket appaloosa Spanish Mustang) likes to scatter them running thru the middle of the herd with his ears pinned. I suspect he'd LOVE to herd them if I encouraged it or if I needed him to. I generally don't mix them much anymore but have run horses and cattle together just fine in the past..generally the mares or fillies leave them alone.
                            Originally posted by microbovine View Post
                            If a horse kicks a cow, it is actually very dangerous to the cow. Cows have short stocky necks with little mobility and can't move fast enough to get out of the way of a kick. Horses in a field know that other horses can swing their heads away from a kick either in play or during disputes. Never turn a horse out with cattle unless you know they won't kick at them.

                            For those contemplating getting cattle, if you remember the simple rule that running horses will go around you while running cattle will go over you, (hence the stampede fears) that will keep you safe around them.
                            I developed a love of cows in sixth grade when I would go every afternoon to watch the guy bring the dairy cows in. I was a shy kid and never spoke to the guy, which is a shame; because I would have loved to help out there and spend time w/ the cows. We just lived there a year, and the cows were the highlight of that time. I still love cows, but I must confess that their poop grosses me out - don't laugh!

                            We currently have Gulf Coast Sheep, and they do share the pasture and barn with our 2 horses; but we do have areas that only the sheep can access -- important for lambing. I originally kept them together because we only had a few young and small sheep, and our livestock guardian dogs were still puppies and too young to protect the sheep from predators. My gelding is actually a pretty good protector of his pasture and will protect the sheep - not because he particularly cares about the sheep, though. The gelding has been known to pick up a sheep- grabbing the wool with his teeth and lifting them up like they weigh nothing. I learned this when feeding - a young horned wether finished his feed and ran between the geldings legs to shove his head into the geldings feed. I was standing right there and before I could even move, the gelding had lifted up the wether and tossed him aside. Thankfully the wether was completely unharmed, but after that, horses were penned to eat in peace. Apparently, sheep tossing horses are not unheard of -- as after that I started asking around and looking online. Then there was the brown lamb, CocoPuff; the gelding had always been fine with the lambs. I keep the mama and lamb penned for a few days to make sure they are bonded and healthy and then let them rejoin the flock. The gelding suddenly looks over by the gate where the brown lamb is curled up sleeping and decides there is an intruder in the field! The gelding & I both race each other over there. I had visions of tossed baby lamb, but once he saw and sniffed it with me there; he was fine - just hadn't occurred to him that sheep could be brown. The only other sheep / horse incident is that my ram suddenly had a broken front leg, and we assumed he stepped in a hole. However, I later noticed that he was very enamoured with our constantly in season mare; so I suspect she probably kicked him. That ram healed up with veterinary supervision; but he moves a lot slower now. He still loves the mare and actually comes in and eats with them, since he needs more TLC. They each have there own eating area, and I am there to supervise. It is fascinating to watch animals interact.

                            But, sheep are definitely slower to catch onto the body language of horses, and I suspect cows are maybe the same. My horses are also older and lazy and calm. I wouldn't put young &/or playful horses in with the sheep. Plus, we have the livestock guardian dogs to referee things; and they will let the gelding know if he gets out of line.

                            We sold my beloved birds to a co-worker of my DH last summer in anticipation of a move to New England. That move got cancelled, and boy, do I miss my geese and turkeys. We also had ducks and chickens that were fun to watch, but they were always a little fearful and skittish compared to the geese and turkeys. Once the livestock guardian dogs were 2 years old and were very effective guardians, the birds could all free range and they would all come back to the barn at night. I loved the birds, but there is no way I would have them if they had to be penned - way too messy. By the time I finished brooding babies and spending all of my time cleaning up after them, I was thrilled when the day would come to transition them to the great outdoors!

                            But, there isn't much better than looking out to pasture with an array of critters all doing their own things and coexisting peacefully . Those birds also did a great job breaking up horse manure, eating bugs, and deterring snakes. I am definitely missing those bird benefits this year.
                            Disclaimer: Just a beginner who knows nothing about nothing

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Like most rural things, I don't know jack about cattle, and they scare the bejeezers out of me, although I quite like them conceptually. Before I got my fence fixed last year there was always a crazy parade of half-wild beef cattle through here, refugees from at least 6 separate herds -- longhorns, angus, Herefords, you name it, all accessing my place through the dry creek bed that traverses our respective ranches. They've held me hostage, busted my well pump, broken into my hay barn, and covered the countryside in foul-smelling pies. I had to keep bags of cattle cubes around to toss from the back of a truck to lure them a mile up to the the front gate. Behold.
                              Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

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                              • Original Poster

                                #35
                                Crone...I love that "Focus Ladies!" command. They listened too! Well done!

                                My neighbor used to have cattle in a big field behind my property. The suckers would get out ALL the time and they wandered all over the place. This was before I had my own cattle. One bull got rather threatening one day and I debated getting my rifle out but instead called the owner a 5th time and told him I was thinking of making steaks out of his ornery bull if he did not take care of the matter. That is the last I saw of the cattle. He moved them from that field a few days later. Nothing like proper motivation.

                                Sport, I can just picture that one! Too funny! Cows are SO food motivated!

                                ldaziens...thanks for sharing your sheep experience. I have very little experience with sheep...just enough to know I don't want any most likely. I got butted in the backside and sent flying onto my face years ago at a boarding barn where my horses were at. I was trying to help with chores and that ram put me face down in the dirt. My back hurt for weeks.

                                My pigs are pretty nice to handle except when they are hungry, especially mornings, i get dirty pig snout marks on my legs as they push me along to their feeder. They never have bitten...just nudge. Red Wattles are known for being pleasant natured. I suspect catching them would be pretty easy also...some corn or food and they do almost anything except load into the trailer on the day they are scheduled to go to slaughter. Ask me how I know that....

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                                • #36
                                  "Focus Ladies!"
                                  “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

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