De-Horning our steer.

Discussion in 'Behavior and Heard Management' started by GrumpyFarms, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. GrumpyFarms

    GrumpyFarms New Member

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    I hate the thought of what is to come tomorrow, but our little steer is getting De-Horned. As some of you know. LD "Little Dude" is a Miniature Scottish Highlander. We saved him from becoming steak in someone's freezer. I've had a rough go of things here lately. June 30, 2013 & July 6, 2013 I had heart attaches. Since them I've had 6 mini strokes & go temporally blind on my right eye. March 3, 2014 I was told I have congestive Heart failure. I still raise chickens and ducks for eggs, but love seeing LD out running around. Anytime I walk out to the coop or barn, LD wants to play. Since he was bottle feed and a petting zoo steer, he acts like he's a dog. Enjoys being petted, brushed, etc. I do what I can, but lately he runs up to me, sticks his horns either in my back or tips his head do his horns go under my butt and picks me up. He's full grown at a wapping 500 pounds. With my blood thinners, I bruise very easy. So tomorrow around 2:30 LD's getting his horn removed. I hope he dies well and this helps him do better with us. If not I'll be posting to find him a good home. Grumpy.....
     
  2. Fairfarmhand

    Fairfarmhand New Member

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    We usually de horn when they are very small with a horn burner.

    Good luck!
     

  3. Fairfarmhand

    Fairfarmhand New Member

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    *said very gently*

    With or without horns, his behavior sounds kind of dangerous. Would you be open to some suggestions on how to teach him a little respect and restraint? As he is now, many people would hesitate to take him for anything other than beef because of behavior issues.
     
  4. Fairfarmhand

    Fairfarmhand New Member

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  5. RanchWife

    RanchWife New Member

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  6. GrumpyFarms

    GrumpyFarms New Member

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    Yes I will take your advise. What do we need to do?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  7. Fairfarmhand

    Fairfarmhand New Member

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    Hey, I am planning on answering this, but I want to give you a well-thought out answer and I've got a busy day. I haven't forgotten and I will get back to this soon.
     
  8. GrumpyFarms

    GrumpyFarms New Member

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    Whatever. Your just leading me on. I thought you were going to try and help us out. Now I see how you really are. I'm only getting older waiting for help. Lol
     
  9. rene

    rene New Member

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    Here is a way I have had to train my bottle yearlings. Use a short stick and tap him on horns lightly, they don't seen to like it. Eventually he will respect that stick. But it's training
     
  10. Fairfarmhand

    Fairfarmhand New Member

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    all, right...I was halfway through a really long posting and IE killed it. AURGH!!!

    He's been handled a lot and sounds like he's developed some bad habits, so you have an uphill treck. Keep in mind that you are changing the rules of his world, so he'll be confused for awhile.

    First, keep in mind that you can get his respect without teaching him to fear people. Watch a herd of cows and you'll see that they are very physical with one another, especially when they are establishing their pecking orders. When you physically discipline a cow/steer, you're speaking a language that they understand. You're not being mean, you're teaching them manners. While you will still give many positive interactions (feeding, grooming, watering) there will be some negative ones too (disciplining for bad manners) Usually, the positives will outweigh the negatives and he will learn that all is good when he follows the rules. The only time he get's disciplined is when he breaks them. It's not much different than raising a toddler. Abused animals, ones that are beaten for no provocation, don't get the positives so they are AFRAID of people. They may turn mean or be overwhelmingly fearful of people. You are not abusing him by teaching him manners. You are training him to behave.

    Second, you physically cannot push around an animal that outweighs you several times over. So you have to use the sensitive spots on his head. Twist his ear or smack him on the nose if he violates "the rules." You may want to use a riding crop or a stout switch to get his attention while yelling in a big mean voice , "NO!" Eventually he will stop at the verbal cue.

    So behavior rules:

    1. Create a 4 foot "bubble" around you and all other humans (You are in the center of the bubble). He should not ever invade that space. If he does, smack him on the nose. Now you're thinking, "But he's a pet. Can't I pet him and brush him, etc." YES you can. We have a couple cows that we pet and brush and groom. However, they never approach us, we approach them! Occasionally, one of our more affectionate cows will enter the bubble. However, they always do it very tenatively, since we've trained them that humans are the dominant animal in the herd. If I were to make a startled move or something, they'd immediately back off, and that 's how I want it.

    2. Don't feed him out of your hands. That confuses the bovine mind. In a herd, the dominant cow always keeps the best feed for herself. She doesn't share at all. If you are handing over the treats, then you are kind of teaching him that he's dominant over you. Put out the food, keeping some space around you. I stand on one side of the trough, while the animal is on the other side of the trough. Now, some people might take issue with this. Honestly, in our herd there are some cows that we feed from our hands. However, again, they take their treats tenatively, without crowding us. In your shoes, with the over-familiarity that LD has for you, this may be one way for you to re-wire his brain to respect you as the dominant animal.

    3. Never allow him to run at you and crowd you. Smack his nose and make him back off.

    4. Learn the signs of cattle aggression and dominance. Him running toward you, shaking his head, pushing on you are all ways that cattle show dominance. He may not be playing when he does this stuff.

    5. Don't play with him, chase him or let him chase you. I don't like my 16 yo daughter to play wrestle with my 6 yo son. She's much bigger than him and even accidentally could hurt him badly. Playing with a cow/steer not only erodes the natural respect that they have for people, but they don't even have the sense to understand when things are getting out of hand.

    6. Don't reinforce his bad habits. If he's used to rubbing up on you for treats or scratches, don't allow him to do so. Remember, YOU are to approach HIM for these things. If he rubs on you, he's violating the bubble and should be smacked for that.

    Some people may think these measures harsh. And, for a calf raised on our farm, I seldom have to use these extreme measures. However, your steer has gotten way out of hand and he's going to hurt you or someone else someday. On our farm, from the time an animal is born, they are taught respect of people. It usually only takes a handful of times before they understand the rules.

    You need to be 100% consistent with implementing these rules, as does anyone else handling him. And, keep your eyes open. He will probably reform for awhile, and then a few weeks down the road, he will "test the waters" and see if you really meant it. Some animals begin slightly pushing boundaries, while others will do it in a big way all of a sudden. Either way, you have to respond in a big way.

    Anyway, that's what I would do if I were dealing with that steer. You can do what you want, but please be careful.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  11. Fairfarmhand

    Fairfarmhand New Member

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    oh...one more thing. Many animals will pout and sulk when you first begin to change things. Expect that and ignore it. Don't go over and try to make amends when you have to discipline him, just proceed as normal, feeding, watering etc. Treat him like you would a sulky toddler.
     
  12. RanchWife

    RanchWife New Member

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  13. GrumpyFarms

    GrumpyFarms New Member

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    Yes. He's doing good.
     
  14. Dion

    Dion New Member

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    I just ran on to this old thread. Neat thread. Seems like a good plan. I read some of these questions and have to switch gears. He is a pet not a production animal. But he reminds me of some of the rules for behavior around our bulls. You want them docile but not to be pets and getting close to you where they can slam you inadvertently. I hope you folks are doing well with your health.:)