I naively started my herd a couple of months ago without knowing much about about Dexters or the finer points of raising cattle. I bought a threesome, mother, young bull, son and unborn calf from someone nearby who was advertising on Craiglist. We castrated the young bull and and now the mother and son are happily living in their new quarters with more than enough grass and some grain at night to keep them happy along with clean well water and a nice barn if they want to get out of the weather. The problem is I can't very close to them. I read about bucket training, and the mother will come right up to get get some grain at night. If I reach out to her while she is munching out of the bucket she pulls back and shakes her horns at me. She simply won't tolerate any human contact. I've learned to accept this as I did not raise her and I believe that she was raised with out any training by her owners. Unfortunately her bull calf (young steer) is exactly like her, but even more fearful of humans. I don't mind this too much because he will be butchered for meant in a couple of years. What is bothering me is the arrival of the new calf.I don't want it to be like it's mother, I would like to halter train it and make it easy to manage and friendly. I don't know how to separate it from its mother who is very protective, and I want it to get all the milk it needs from her to grow healthy. How can I get the new calf (due in November) on a different track from its mother and brother?
you will have to separate the calf from his mother. i have 2 stalls that are connected and i put them in together and then put a divider up when i catch them in separate areas. i have a friend who is a cattle man from wayback and he told me to only wean when the farmers almanac says to. i have taken his advice and things have gone well. i wean at about 6 mos. pen the calf up and just start handling every day. feed hay at least twice daily, a small amount of sweet feed, and fresh water. at first he will be frightened but after petting him everyday he will settle down. put the halter on and start leading him. i would do it in a pen at first in case he pulls loose from you so he doesnt get away. when you are handling him pay attention to his "sweet spots" they like to be scratched under the chin and jaw bone. youll know what he likes. after a few weeks you can put him back with the other cows and he should be approachable esp when he is eating. i also have a cow i bought from someone else who is not approachable. im okay with that because she is really a good mother.
Welcome to the Dexter world. When I purchased my Dexter girls they were a year old and had never been handled and were very afraid of humans. I use the bucket with horse/cow cookies and at first did not work. So I placed them in a smaller corral and place a chair in there and sat in the pen readings a book with the bucket of cookies a distance away. Over time the bucket was moved closer to me in the chair until it was at my feet. Then I slowly added petting and now they eat out of my hand. You have to sort of launch the cookie into their mouth. Now the girls come running when I have the bucket of cookies or really when they see me coming. Very easy to lead places this way. When I have cookies I can pet their heads and shoulders but when I move forward they back up. I now have a one year old calf and two - two month old calves I hope to halter break. I purchased several halters that were supposed to be for Dexter’s but I think they are goat halters and just do not fit. My best wishes for your success in taming your Dexter’s. Judy