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Cowing for the first time. Questions!

 
Charles Laferriere
Posts: 93
Location: Quebec, Canada - 4b/5a
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Hello dear permaculturists,

Well, here it is. My first calf got to my small plot of land. I've built her a nice fence, covering roughly 2 acres. At first, I wouldn't accept to make the fence electrical.
Then, after having to chase her throughout the town about 10 times, there is now 3 solid electrified wires.

My only concern is her. She's alone. And I cannot get close to her. She seems happy though.

I tried playing guitar to her.
I tried playing soccer.
I tried gentle snow fighting (that seems to have brought the most enjoyment and me closest to her.. within arm reach)
I put soothing music in her shed (not all the time).

I don't really care, as I'm in it for the poop for now, but regarding future insemination, it could be an issue. I was thinking of giving her a strong herbal tea to make her more approachable for insemination...?

I would also be interested in harvesting her urine if she was more approachable.

She's only 8 months.

Breed is brahman, and I'm located in Quebec, Canada.
 
Leora Laforge
Posts: 37
Location: Saskatchewan
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Congratulations on getting your first calf.

It looks like you have step one figured out now, a fence that will hold her.

I am currently working on a ranch and I have found that the beef cattle do not like to be in groups smaller than five animals, however there are also a few dairy cross cows here that do not get upset when split off from the herd. This makes me think that if you can get your calf accustomed to being around people she will be happy enough without other cows.

To get close to her I would suggest treats, such as oats, alfalfa hay, or fresh greens. Stand as close as she will allow while she eats these treats. If you do this you should be able to pet her before long. If you do decide you want to pet her be sure to pet her in the neck or side, but not the face as cattle fight by head butting each other.

Most people who have cattle have equipment like head gates and squeeze chutes to hold cattle still for any vaccinations, artificial insemination, etc. I do not think it would be a good investment for you to get this for one cow, what would be easiest for you to do is get her trained to hold still while eating treats.

I am surprised you could get a brahman in Quebec, the breed is a hot weather specialist
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Charles;  Congrats on your first cow !  After many tries at single animal raising (and chasing down escapees)  I have come to the conclusion that all farm animals need a buddy ! Another animal that hangs with them all the time. It does not have to be another cow (but would be best) a goat, a sheep ,a lama , anything , even a herd dog, if it will live in the barn will work.  Your cow is lonely she needs a friend.  Your electric fence is keeping her in for now but she will hear  other cows or want too (no matter how far) and something will bow down your fence and you will be chasing her again.  After your cow is happy she will start to think of you as part of her herd and come around for pets. I have had happy dairy  cows licking my face (yuck) !  rocket mass heaters, cows , congratulations ! your really becoming a permaculture person !
 
Charles Laferriere
Posts: 93
Location: Quebec, Canada - 4b/5a
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Thanks Thomas!

Yeah I thought about that too. I was thinking the lowest maintenance animal! How would a small cow work? Do smaller breeds try to "hump" much larger ones? (Jersey on a Brahman?)

Can't wait for all the buildings to be done in the forest in cow dung. I tried 50/50 clay/dung bricks and so far so good. Curing time is long.

 
Anne Miller
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Leora Laforge wrote:To get close to her I would suggest treats, such as oats, alfalfa hay, or fresh greens. Stand as close as she will allow while she eats these treats. If you do this you should be able to pet her before long. If you do decide you want to pet her be sure to pet her in the neck or side, but not the face as cattle fight by head butting each other.... what would be easiest for you to do is get her trained to hold still while eating treats.


This is great advise, my suggestion was to feed her regularly every day.  She will then get used to meeting you at the feeding place when she sees you.
 
thomas rubino
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LOL Charles;  All animals (especially humans) will try to breed.  Would a jersey try to mount your brahman ... yup... will your brahman try to mount your jersey ... yup ... will they succeed ? ... no , will they hurt each other ? probably not . If they don't like it they will let the other know !  Ever had a woman tell you NO ! You learn really quickly that no means no ! your cows will head butt (fight) and one will  eventually be lead cow but they will quickly learn to live in harmony. And both will learn that you bring them treats... making you an honorary  (although funny looking ) member of the herd !
 
C. Hunter
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Well, or you could just get a steer to raise for beef, so any humping that occurred would not result in a crossbred calf. (I think getting a bull is potentially dangerous, honestly.)
 
Anne Miller
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Charles Laferriere wrote:My only concern is her. She's alone. And I cannot get close to her. She seems happy though.

I tried playing guitar to her.
I tried playing soccer.
I tried gentle snow fighting (that seems to have brought the most enjoyment and me closest to her.. within arm reach)
I put soothing music in her shed (not all the time).


I happened on this thread that I thought might be of interest:

https://permies.com/t/52636/critters/happy-cows
 
Charles Laferriere
Posts: 93
Location: Quebec, Canada - 4b/5a
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AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW     
 
Derek Atkinson
Posts: 1
Location: Southern Illinois
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Charles Laferriere wrote:AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW     



I have (2) 7 month old black baldy heifers. They won't let you near them when they're in the pasture, but once they're in the barn stall you wouldn't know if they were cows or large dogs. You bout get licked to death lol. My aunt told me she used to buy alfalfa cubes as treats for the horses. Well the cows love em too. I have a 5 month old heifer calf that isn't quite as tame as the other two. Well she saw the older ones eating from my hand and slowly let me get closer. So I tossed a cube on the ground and she ate it. After an hour of trying to get close to her she finally let me stand next to her and rub her all over. (Providing I kept her mouth full of alfalfa cubes that is) Once I turned her back out with momma she was back to being little miss wild thing though. Having them around other cows that are tame helps ALOT in getting one to trust you. That being said. Please buy your little pasture buddy another friend.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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