Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Training the heifers..

 Once we wean the heifer calves,
we like to spend some time teaching them to move for a collie.
This makes life so much easier down the road.

I do this in two ways;
I like to teach them to stay nice and bunched
 and, if one makes a break then the collie blocks it and turns it back.

The heifers soon learn that they are left in peace as long as they stay together.
It is a bit like the  pressure and release system of handling animals.
If the heifers make a break.. the pressure gets put on them,
if they stay calmly together, the pressure ( dog/person) leaves them alone.

Cows are clever, they  quickly learn where the sweet spot is.

The second thing I like to do is to move them in a certain direction, calmly.
No tails over the back and disappearing over  yonder hill...

When I start out, I always move them in the direction of a feed place.
 Once the heifers arrive there,
I feed them grain.
So, now I have the dog to guide them and the grain as a reward,
this makes for willing cattle.

All the while I call them,
 "come cows" is the key phrase here.
We use that phrase to get the cows to gather up and come to us and when we want to move pastures with them.
Even, the bulls respond to "Come Cows"...

While training the heifers I use my "go to" dog Lad,
I want things to be calm, predictable and controlled.
With Lad, I know I won't have heifers crashing into fences, hightailing it or evoking to much fight response.

He uses enough force to get them moving and knows when to lay off, if things are going well.

This dog is is awesome.
And, I hate that,
 I see him aging.

My feeding buddy:

Training the heifers:

The red heifer is the brave one, curious and testing.
She boldly walks up to Lad, he stands his ground and waits..

She moves up closer,
and Lad nips her 

She jumps out of the way in a hurry,
Lad backs off.

She calms down, Lad watches, she avoids confrontation and stands calmly.

Bunching them:
The goal is just to hold them in a spot
and, that the heifers do not keep trying to make a break.
The heifers want to move off,
so Lad heads them off.

If they do not stop, another application of some pressure reminds the heifers to stop.

Here, the heifers are being moved to the feeder,
I like to work them along the fence, to keep them plugging along,
Lad over on the one side.

And, then he tucks them in from behind  when needed.
Heifers are moving quietly and nicely.

Once they, reach the feeder, I feed some grain,
and they can relax, eat and let today's lesson sink in.

A job well done!

Not sure if I have said this before,
but man, I love this dog.

1 comment:

  1. I love
    border collies smartest dog in the world


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