4-H Project


While I have yet to get an actual living, breathing 4-H’er over here, I’m pretending that I’m in 4-H! Who knows better how to get control of a calf than those kids?

I found directions for halter-breaking designed for 4-H’ers. Which read suspiciously exactly like the instructions you all have been giving me. Except in handy step by step manual-style as if you are 12.

Step 1: Start tying them to a post (or tree) to halter-break them to the idea that they can’t get away. Tie ’em short and tie ’em high.

Step 2: Brush them frequently to gentle them to your handling.

Step 3: After they have stopped trying to pull and tug when they are tied, start working with them in a small pen. Pull them to one side and to the other, tightening the lead as you pull then releasing it slightly when they come your way to reward them. More petting and brushing for further reward.

Step 4: Begin practicing in a larger enclosed area, starting, stopping, training the calf to be led. GET READY FOR THE SHOW!

Okay, I’m skipping the show.

I’m on Step 3. I’m practicing with Glory Bee when she is in the goat pen. I’m still tying her for periods during the day. I’m brushing her and scratching her. For the first time yesterday, I felt as if I saw real progress with her. She no longer tries to pull when she’s tied. She knows she can’t get away. She works well with me in the pen when I lead her one way then another. She likes to be brushed. (We got her halter adjusted yesterday, by the way, so it’s not so tight now.)

I’m still not ready to practice with her in a larger area (the goat yard) by myself, for fear she will yank away from me–and that’s a lesson I don’t want her to learn, that she is stronger than me. But, with Thanksgiving week upon me, I’ll have more people around here all day, so I’m planning to work with her again today in the pen, and starting tomorrow, use this week to practice in the goat yard with a second person holding on to a second lead on her collar for backup if I need it. I’m already taking her back and forth from the tree with backup.

She CAN be trained! She’s gonna be a good little giant cow someday. Or she’s gonna be HAMBURGER! WHICH DO YOU WANT TO BE, GLORY BEE?! That’s what I whisper to her. (Just kidding. Maybe. No, really, I love her.)


  1. texwisgirl says:

    Hurray! Baby (calf) steps!!! There’s hope for GB yet that the GB won’t stand for “Ground Beef!” 🙂

  2. Cindy says:

    I’m curious. What will you do with 2 milk cows?

  3. claudia w says:

    That is great progress Suzanne! You are such an inspiration to us all. I think I might be able to tame the wild beast that is my rescued Malinois…maybe…he’s lighter than your GB, but he can still pull me down the road!!

  4. Sheila Z says:

    She’s gonna be a good little giant cow someday. Or she’s gonna be HAMBURGER! That is how a real farmer thinks. You have arrived!

  5. BuckeyeGirl says:

    Doesn’t matter what you say, just the voice you say it in. If a horse is acting up. as long as it’s a soothing voice it doesn’t matter what you say… in fact, muttering things like “Alpo, Gravy Train, Kibbles and Bits” in a semi-stern but still calm and soothing tone always helped me keep a ‘light’ frame of mind while still calming the horse.

  6. Miss Becky says:

    That face. That beautiful, gorgeous face of Glory Bee’s is so worth all this aggravation, don’t you think? :sun:

  7. Jersey Lady says:

    Good practice for Jerseys is to breed heifers so they will calve when they are 2 years old, so that means Jan. 2012.That will put GB being a mother just past her 2nd birthday.

  8. Lisabeth Olson says:

    Suzanne, My husband would agree with Jersey Girl about the breeding because if you breed her at that age you are doing it when the bones will form better for the future calving. I have seen our cows have a pretty easy time delivering their calves and as he said he has never had to pull a calf yet. And I NEVER want to either. Now that comes from a man that is 61 and has raised cows all his life. He was raising cattle when we were all out partying in our teens. Knowledgable man!!!!!
    These are still wonderful and worth the visit to your blog. Thank you again for all the wonderful entertainment. :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy:

  9. Miss Judy says:

    Suzanne, it won’t take years for Glory B to become the momma cow. It will be here before you know it! How do you even utter “hamburger” to a calf with eyes that beautiful! Sounds like you are making progress…oops…Glory B is making progress!

  10. MMT says:

    Hang in there Suzanne. We don’t have cattle, but we do have horses, and it is basically the same process. When you handle large animals you have to convince them you are the boss, and the earlier you start the better. I thought my husband was so mean the first time I saw him tie a colt (high and short) and leave it stand for several hours. Have also left them with a halter on and a lead rope dragging in a stall so they teach themselves to give to pressure. Lots of brushing and rubbing teaches them to enjoy your company. Consistancy and handling them as often as possible are so important. We do alot of horsecamping and our horses stand on a picket line for long periods of time. They can eat, drink, and even lay down when they want to, but it all starts by teaching them to stand tied and to lead when they are young.

  11. Darlene in North Ga says:

    My friend, who has had kept a milk cow for years also suggested that you start now stroking her all over, but especially her flanks, udders, and underneath her belly. You’ll have an easier time milking her if she’s already used to being touched there.

  12. Robin S says:

    I love the look of the fur on her beautiful face, between her eyes -how it goes in different directions. I wonder if that’s the origin of the term “cow lick”?

  13. cricketjett says:

    Good for you and good for GB!!!! I knew you could do it!! Glory Bee will make you a wonderful milk cow.

  14. Diane says:

    That is wonderful. Just keep working at it a little everyday. Remember 4H kids has several months to work with their calfs before the fair. Give it time. GB is a pretty cow. Hard to look into those soft eyes and think she can be so wild. lol.

  15. Leah says:

    Poor innocent Glory Bee doesn’t even know what a hamburger is. She
    s probably thinking, “Nice lady, what’s a hamburger?” :moo:
    I’m glad you are becoming sucessful in handling GB.

  16. Jeanne says:

    That’s the threat we used to use on our cows, you are just one (insert inappropriate behavior here) away from becoming a Happy Meal if you don’t straighten up. :devil2:

  17. Ramona says:

    Noooo…she’ll taste bad!

    What a georgeous bad baby.

  18. Vonnie says:

    Suzanne, You are doing it right! I am an old 4-Her and have 4 children who also showed cattle. My brother still does! It takes time and some are more stubborn than others but with patience, you will get results. Hang it there! Enjoy reading your blog. Country life is a blessing!

  19. Sonia says:

    Yay!!!! Congrat’s on the progress!

  20. SuzzyQ says:

    She will be saved from being hamburger if you follow your son’s girlfriend’s diet!
    Glory Bee: “Try vegetarian; just TRY it, PLEASE! You’ll like it!”

  21. Jan says:

    Reminds me of when I was a teenager & had a horse, when she would act up (frequently) I would sing Roses are red, violets are blue, if you don’t behave I’m gonna turn you into glue. Made me feel better anyway :whip:

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