Jersey Calf behavior any tips?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Hannah11, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. Hannah11

    Hannah11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2012
    Bluff, New Zealand
    Hi Everyone,

    Recently a friend of mine suggested we get a bull calf together for beef so that was all great she is bottle feeding him on her property and when he is weened he will move to mine. So after seeing how beautiful he was I decided to purchase a female for a pet, maybe milking down the line. As you can properly tell I have NEVER owned a cow or had any experience I am somewhat wondering what I have got myself into..
    So anyways I am fairly worried about the way my girl (luna) is behaving she is very bossy, I can understand that is natural but I would like to encourage more gentle behavior in her. apparently the male is lovely and sweet, even with a two year old around. So has anyone got any specific techniques for raising a calf to a good pet with good temperament? preferably not the way a friend told me to do it..he said that the best way was to use a piece of cut off hose to smack her with when being bossy but I don't really think fear based training is a good way to raise pets.

    So once again any tips on training? also any other tips about raising calves would be welcome (handy tips)
    This is Luna..

    Thankyou all!
  2. res

    res Chillin' With My Peeps

    You have to consider what you are calling a "pet" will be huge when it grows up, possibly weighing 1000lbs. It is also a prey and herd animal, and requires different training methods than predator/pack animals like dogs. Lovey kissy huggy doesn't work with animals that size. If you watch their behavior in a herd, they ARE NOT gentle with one another - they push and shove each other around. If she is being pushy, you have to teach her it is not okay, or she could seriously injure you or another human. You don't need to beat her with a baseball bat or shovel, but you need to get her attention and make her understand YOU ARE BOSS COW and she needs to behave and obey you. Whacking her with a piece of cut off garden hose (or your hand) is not going to hurt her. AT ALL. It will surprise her, and maybe sting for a second or two, which will make her stop what she is doing and back off. Completely acceptable training method for a bovine. Ideally, she will get to the point that you only need to raise your voice to get her to behave - you don't have to whack her constantly her entire life.

    Also, if you are raising your bull calf for beef, you will want to castrate it ASAP. Mature bulls do have a "flavor" due to the testosterone, and if he is around your heifer, he WILL breed it, possibly earlier than she should be bred. Cows cycle roughly every month, much like humans, so there is oppurtunities to breed all year round - they don't cycle seasonally like some other species. Also, bulls can be quite dangerous, depending on their breed (dairy breeds especially!) and attitude. I've had some that were fine to work around, but you never want to drop your guard around a bull.
  3. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I fully agree with the previous poster.

    When you treat a cow like a pet, it often times grows up thinking it's ok to disrespect you because you've given all the signs that she/he is in charge. Some cows do ok as pets and are pretty handle-able, but some will test you and if you don't give the right signals and stand your ground, that animal can be very dangerous. Bulls are definitely dangerous animals, but I've seen some dominant heifers do more damage than a bull.

    Honestly, the safest cow is one that has some fear of humans. They respect your space, but are still manageable enough that you can move them in a space to be milked or for maintenance reasons.

    We just finished up a class working with cattle. The class was very enlightening and when I was working with the dairy heifers, I was a lot less intimidated by a cow that moved away from me when I went near than one who came towards ME. Despite some fear of humans, these cows were still really manageable.

    Also wanted to add that most cows won't lead very well, so the easiest way to get them to move somewhere is by "herding" them. Its really difficult to do this with a cow that doesn't respect boundaries!
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Believe me, that jersey bull calf your friend is raising... he is not going to stay sweet when the hormones kick in! Jersey bulls are just plain NASTY! Hopefully he has already been castrated. Either way I hope she will be extremely cautious with the small child around as this young bull/steer grows up.

    Your heifer calf also is going to be big handful if raised as a pet. Dairy cows in general are easy enough to handle but they are not raised as pets and while they are used to human handling they still retain a natural reserve around humans. Being part of a herd also makes a big difference. They know they are a cow, not a human! I have never raised a single cow alone so I don't have much advice on "training" this youngster but you do have to use some method to get her attention when she is behaving badly and a smack with the hose is a good way to do so. You really WANT and NEED this animal to have some healthy respect for your space or you are going to get mowed down when she's full grown!
  5. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 19, 2009
    The first thing you need to do with your heifer is to halter break her. Lead her around, groom her, get her used to being handled, and teach her what is and what is not acceptable behavior. I had a Holstein Angus cross cow that was a pet once. She was a lot of fun and a joy to have around. She loved beer and sweet potatoes. She would drink the beer right out of the can. She died of old age and I miss her.

    The bull calf needs to be castrated unless you are going to butcher him when he is fairly young, like well under a year. Jerseys mature earlier than Holsteins. Dairy bulls are unpredictable and downright dangerous. Jerseys bulls, for some reason, are among the worst.

    I have butchered a couple Holstein bulls for beef. I have never noticed any off flavor from the beef, but beef from bulls is denser and leaner than that from steers. Depends a lot on the age of the bull, though.
  6. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Jersey bulls bulls are way worse than nasty....... Deadly is more like it.

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