As I said previously, I have never halter broke a cow and aside from the advice of a few friends and family and the bit of reading I’ve done, I really don’t know what I’m doing. That being said I do think I am making some good progress.
Both the girls are fine with me scratching them, nose to tail and their front legs while they eat their treat of grains. Since the beginning I have brought one of the rope halters with me when I go into the pasture to work with them. This way they are used to seeing it, when they are eating it swings by them and they can smell it if they like. My thought is that it will lessen the chances that they get spooked by it. Even little cows can jump high.
Last week I started putting the rope on them, just laying it behind their ears, letting the end hang much closer to their face while they eat and just kinda pestering them with it. This week I’ve been going one step further; while the rope is behind their ears and in their face I have begun to rub their nose, under their chin and their cheeks, pretty much where that actual halter will go. The thought again is that they will get used to me handling their face and the rope at the same time.
Surprisingly, it’s going very well. If we keep progressing like this, I plan to put the halter on them this Sunday. They will be tied to a gate post; it should work well. I am assuming they are going to be rather unhappy at first having them tied there will mean they aren’t running loose about the pasture with the halter rope dragging, possibly sending them through the fence. They are also going to be in a spot without electric or barbed wire to prevent those injuries.
Last night it felt like a cool fall night with spring rain/mist not the greatest weather. I decided the cows needed more pasture and last night was the night to do it. Our beautiful wood post fence line isn’t quite done with. We had such an amazing crop of alfalfa that we decided to get a couple hayings off it before we put the barbed wire up. They had eaten pretty much everything in the space they had and were belloring at me when I would do the chicken chores.
I moved the girls into the corral and we removed a good portion of the old fence. The neighbor was out on his tractor with his brush mower and offered to mow a path for the new fence line. After that was done it was pound a few posts restring the wire and add some.Then release the cows. This is how I know even little cows can jump high.
The girls really haven’t had me worried until last night. Usually when I have a bucket of grain for them they coming running, literally. Last night I had no grain for them and when I opened the gate out they came, running, bucking and all out jumping after me. I know cows have a great view range but their sight really isn’t that great. I made sure we removed the old posts so they didn’t think the fence was still up but there was still a definite line of tall grass the used to be on the other side. So in all my helpfulness I calmly lead them out to the new pasture, jumping and bucking the whole way and yet staying behind me. That was the kinds scary part, they were making all this ruckus and making sure they didn’t go ahead of me.
It all worked out. They chowed down on the new salad bar. Mike brought the extra posts to the barn, the boy and I brought the rest of the fencing pieces. By the time we got in it was time for a warm bath for the little boy and the usual late supper for us. I can’t wait for the day that we have family supper at 6 regularly again.
It was a good day working with the cows and they went to bed happy too.