Friday, December 16, 2011

Training cattle

Last night, the heifers walked to the woods and spent the night there.

This morning, half of the heifers walked back to the barn to eat from the feeder.  The other, not-as-good-at-directions-group didn't come back.  They were standing at the fence.  They could see the other ones, but they couldn't figure out where the fence ended so that they could get to where they wanted to go.  So they stood there and mooed their displeasure. 

Kris walked into the pasture to lead them to the barn.  It doesn't take a lot - he just walks out there, they see him, and they follow him.  He'll continue doing this until they all learn their way around the field.

This is similar to how I've seen him train the calves.  When the calves move into the barn, they lie down in freestalls.  When Kris would feed them, some of the calves wouldn't come out of the freestalls to eat.  Why?  Because they didn't know how to walk backward out of them.  So every day, Kris would go and chase out the ones that were, essentially, stuck in there.  They understood it eventually - but for some it took weeks.

It's no circus performance.  But for cattle, these are pretty good tricks. 

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