• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

starting as a teamster

 
                        
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi! I'm new to this forum and to the "world of the teamster" if you know what I mean. I'm thirteen and am in the begginging process of training two three month old, high-spirited, Holstein calves. This is my first team but I do have some knowledge from a very eductional book and some very educated people, but I have a few questions. My boys are twins and were born at a local barn that I work at, and I'm trying to train them using only voice commands (I DO NOT have a goad). We're still working on "walk on" and "whoa" but they seem to be gettig the concept. One of my boys, Simon, has been going kinda slow latley. His ears are a littel droopey, too. I tried to run him a little bit today, cause that normally helps him pick up the pace, but the most he would do was trot. Does this mean anything bad? His brother, Oliver, is having the same "slow" proplem, but only when he's working. Coincedince? He's in the habit of walking five steps and them stoping. I don't want to get into the habit of prodding him forward, cause then he'll learn that is the cue to go, forward, which it's not, the verbal command "walk on" is. What should I do? I hope that there are some expeience teamsters out there who can help me! Thanks!

Extra Questions:

Sholud I use a goad?

When we get to "Gee" and Haa", should I turn my boys only at right angls? How do you do that? Do they need to be able to adjust their angle when I give them one of those commands?

They are in the barn right now, on about a three foot chain on the wall with their water brought to them two times a day along with hay and grain. Should I try to get them off the wall and into a pasture ASAP?

I shouldn't dehorn them, right?

When should they be castrated? And when they are, should the vet leave the dangling skin there?
 
A Philipsen
Posts: 58
Location: OR - Willamette Valley
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
They are in the barn right now, on about a three foot chain on the wall with their water brought to them two times a day along with hay and grain. Should I try to get them off the wall and into a pasture ASAP?
  Yes.  Get them outside.  Is it possible that it's a health issue that makes your calf a little droopy?  Make sure he's pooping and eating well.  Castrate them as soon as their testicles have dropped.  The vet will know how to do it, don't worry.  If they are under the weather, get that taken care of first.  As for training, I have trained horses, and raised cattle, but not trained oxen.  Since no one else has answered you yet, though, I'm going to toss some advice out there.  Take it for what it's worth.

Sholud I use a goad?
  If you have to.  When training horses, you increase the pressure in increments until you get a response.  For instance: the cue you want is "Walk on".  You say that.  If you don't get a response, you add pressure, maybe a tug on the halter.  If you still don't get a response, you maybe add a bump on the hip, and etc.  The goal is that they learn to anticipate, so that eventually, they hear "Walk On" (because you ALWAYS say that before doing whatever makes them move) and know that it means "move".  If it takes a goad to get them to move in the beginning, it doesn't necessarily always have to. The other very important thing is that when you get the right response (even if it's a very little response in the beginning)  you let off the pressure and reward them.  Example: you pull the halter, they step up, you release the pressure.  If they don't get a release, they will not know it was the right thing that they did.

I would also suggest teaching them to pick up their feet for cleaning/ trimming if you are not already.  Anything else you can think of to teach them/desensitize them to, go for it.  I have never heard anyone say "I wish my animal knew less/was scared of more stuff.

I don't believe you dehorn them, but you might put something blunt over the tips as they grow.

I don't know the finer points of "gee" and "haw", but if you just give them the basic idea, seems like you can refine it later.

There you go, hope this helps.
 
                        
Posts: 508
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
here is a link which should put you in touch with people who are much more knowlegeable than we appear to be about this
http://www.draftanimalpower.com/forumdisplay.php?7-Oxen
The site is about all sorts of draft animals.  I have given you the link to the forums in regard to oxen specifically. Have fun!
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic