Cattle Behavior

 

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Here are some of my personal Brahman / cattle views and observations.

  1. Brahman (bos indicus) cattle are more intuitive and sensitive to interactions with people than the (bos taurus) European breeds.

  2. Not just anyone can raise Brahman cattle.  If you cannot afford to spend a few minutes with your cattle at least once or twice a week, you probably should not get a Brahman.  You will become a stranger to them and they will regard you with suspicion and return to their "fight or flight" instincts.

  3. If your philosophy is buying cattle to turn out into a pasture to live on their own with no human interaction except for when it is time to gather them to work them and wean a calf crop, you should definitely not buy a Brahman. 

Disposition makes the difference...
  
for the safety of animals and people,
   for producing cattle that produce quality beef products,
   all of which are factors that affect the profitability of your operation.

 On cattle disposition:

  1.  Cattle should be naturally gentle in disposition.

  2.  Quality of handling can tip the balance on disposition.  Handle them aggressively, and they will become aggressive (fight instinct) or scared (flight instinct).

  3.  Amount of handling also affects disposition.  Even naturally gentle cattle can be made aggressive or wild with improper or aggressive treatment. Cattle that are regularly handled and have frequent positive human interactions will be more relaxed and can be made more gentle.  Cattle that see their handlers only once or twice a year will become like wild animals that see hunters once or twice a year.

Here's my simple test:  When you go to someone's ranch to look at their cattle, do the cattle come to the people or do they run away?  This to me is a first indication of a lack of quality handling, improper handling, lack of frequent positive interaction, or a herd influenced by naturally wild cattle.

Here's an example of disposition being affected by frequent, positive, calm-assertive interaction with a cow that is normally a dominant herd female.

 

Please do not try this if you don't have many years of experience with cattle.

The cow in the picture above will paw, snort, and charge at strangers who approach her baby.  Because she sees me regularly, she has developed a trust with me and I can do what you are seeing.  Cattle (like all animals) can read the energy that you give off.  If you exhibit nervous or aggressive energy, they will respond in kind.  If you exhibit calm, assertive energy, cattle will be calm.

Here's an example of disposition being affected by frequent, positive, calm-assertive interaction with a cow that is normally a submissive herd female.

Taking a baby for a birth weight.

Please do not try this if you don't have many years of experience with cattle.

The cow in this picture let me pick up and carry her baby.  She was concerned, but did not get aggressive because I was around her and interacted with her daily before she delivered the calf.  Because she sees me regularly, she has developed a trust with me and I can do what you are seeing.  Very few people can do this with their cattle.  I don't even try this with the more dominant females in my herd.  You can tell fairly quickly how aggressive a cow will be protecting her baby.  Leave them alone or take the necessary precautions if they show any signs of aggressive protection for their baby. 

How many people can do this with their herd sires?
I have developed a trust with these bulls that allows this to occur.  It starts with a naturally gentle animal and then you must spend lots of time to develop the trust.

                                            

Please don't try this at home or with any other bull.
These are exceptional bulls and an experienced handler.
You can get hurt or killed if you don't know what you are doing.
 

Handling a Brahman bull is like handling a bear, mountain lion, killer whale, or other large animal.

    1.  If the animal is hungry, feed it before you try to interact with it.

        Never attempt to handle them when they are hungry or interested in a cow. Even the most gentle bull in the world will use his head to move you out of the way to get to a food source or cow.
Watch your feet if you stand by the feed trough.  Cattle will accidentally step on you just trying to get better positioning at the trough.

    2.  Always know where the animal is if you are in his pen or pasture.

        Always keep an eye on the bull and remember where you are.
        Constantly ask yourself, "what is this animal's next move, where should I be to be out of danger?"
        Gentle bulls have been known to hurt and kill people who do not keep an eye on them.
        If a 1700-2000 pound bull casually walks up to you and nudges you with his head to get your attention, how much force will he use? Large amounts of weight don't need a lot of effort or bad intention behind them to damage a human body.

    3.  Know how to read an animal's behavioral mannerisms before you attempt to handle them.

        Is the bull acting unusual?  What is causing it?  If you don't know the answers to those questions, leave the animal alone.

 Otherwise, it is like an old saying, "If you mess with the bull, you will get the horn".

 For more pictures and information, you can check out my original Fenn Brahmans - "Hugh The Killer Bull" web site at:

   Original Hugh - The Killer Bull Web Site

Link to Weaning and Halter Training calves page.

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This site was last updated 10/08/13