Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cy Starts School

Halter training a calf is one of those things that 4H kids and my cow buddy Bonnie do.  I have done exactly 2 in 9 years.  Cy is #3.  Bonnie is right that it is an important part of owning a bull, having him trained to the halter.  That also tends to make him a whole lot more manageable around people as well.  Throw in our breeds natural docility and then add daddy Roar's outstanding temperament that he passes along quite well, and halter training a young bull calf is a bonus for everyone involved.
Cy had a halter on when he was about 3 weeks old.  It didn't go all that well, but it also didn't last long enough to totally freak him out.  Now, at 9 weeks, it was time to revisit the halter.  The weather was perfect after a day of rainshowers and he was already in the alley.  Took a few minutes to get it on him, but then, he was pretty darn good about it.  He pulled once, and as soon as he stopped I released my hold on the lead rope and gave him slack.  That's all it took, I swear.  I could then guide his head whichever direction I wanted to and reward him every time with slack, so that by the end of the 10 minute session, if he even saw the rope start to move, he was already moving his head that way.  I brushed him for a bit, picked up his front feet, scratched him behind his tiny Roar ears, then gently took the halter off.  He never once tried to jump or throw himself down in the alley.  When I went around to open the gate of the sweep tub, he simply stood there quietly.  I then positioned myself at the exit to the tub to take some more pictures (below), and just as you want to see, he calmly and quietly walked out, pausing to nibble a little grass in the sweep.  No stress, no panic.
 Right after the halter went on.  Rope is loosely tied to alley panel so if he gets in a bad way, it'll release quickly
 30 seconds later, slack rope
 Standing calmly with a slack rope

 Walking quietly and calmly out of the sweep

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