Taming a bull calf is important if you want to have a bull you can handle. For breeders, this is important, as a bull must often must be moved from one pasture to another, and must also have his fertility tested on a regular basis, so human handling is a must. Starting the process when the bull is a calf is the way to get it done.
Things You'll Need
- Sweet feed
- Calf halter
Begin by feeding the mother and her calf in a small pen. Use the sweet feed to lure the mother into the pen and feed her there on a daily basis until she is comfortable with going in and out of the pen with her calf.
Spend time inside the pen with mother and calf while they are eating. Approaching the mother and scratching her is the best way to win the calf's confidence. Talk soothingly to the calf while you are in the pen, and occasionally reach your fingers out to him to allow him to sniff or lick. If you place some of the sweet feed in your hand and hold it out to the calf, you can teach it to lick the feed from your hand.
Scratch the calf on his neck and shoulder once he allows you to touch him. Young calves are very itchy due to their baby coat falling out, so this is something you can use to your advantage. Scratch and rub the calf every day until the calf is looking for you and thoroughly enjoying your attentions. Rub your hands all over the calf while you are scratching him to get him used to your touch and voice.
Rub the halter all over the calf until he is comfortable with the halter and no longer pays attention to it. Slide the halter on and secure it and allow the calf to wear it for an entire day to learn that he cannot get it off and how to function normally while wearing it.
Introduce the calf to pressure on the halter and to being groomed with brushes. Once the calf has gotten to this stage, it will be easy to continue the taming process. When the calf has learned to associate humans with food, comfort and pleasure, it will seek you out for your attentions.
Tips & Warnings
- Take as much time as you need to have the calf become comfortable with you in the pen. This will be much easier if the mother is comfortable, so take your time with the cow as well as the calf.
- Take care when handling a calf around a wild mother cow. Cows are protective of their young, and an aggressive or wild cow can harm or even kill a human it fears will harm its calf.
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