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Old 12-05-2009, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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As the story goes, my grandmother (God rest her soul) was gored by a "tame" bull as a little girl. After not returning home at the expected time, her father found her out in the pasture severely injured. This was a bull who had been loving and friendly prior to the incident. I've heard similar stories through the years about the aggression that develops as a bull reaches maturity. Luckily, my grandmother survived, otherwise I would not be sitting here typing this entry.


Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
SCGranny------pet that bull all you want, but I remember what my dad told me as a kid------" the only tame bull is the one hanging in the locker plant"

Years back, the farmers who got mauled to death by a bull, got always killed by a " tame" bull that they trusted.

There is no thing as a tame bull and there is a reason why despite having every classification for cattle that are being showed and judged at county fairs, there is none ( and never will be one ) for---mature bulls.
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Old 12-05-2009, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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Fiesty Bugger, huh?? Interesting story!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
When I was a kid, perhaps 2 my dad had me in the sheep stalls as he cleaned them out. Well our ram saw his chance and rammed me. Dad scooped me up and put me outside the sheep pen but as he did, the ram got him. So dad swung a shovel at him and cold-cocked him right in the skull. It dazed him I guess, but did not stop him. Twice more he rammed my dad before he could get out of the pen.

So he goes into the house and calls the cattle dealer up to take the ram to the slaughterhouse. Well this is dairy cow country and not sheep, so dad knew if he said Ram it would be days before the cattle guy showed up. So instead he just said, "I got one for you bunk, come on over and pick it up."

Well the next morning Bunk came over and was shocked to see it was a sheep. "I can't take him, I have half a load of cattle on." Dad said he did not care and that he wanted the ram gone. So Bunk said he would take it but would not be responsibly for its demise in the trailer. Dad said fair is fair and into the trailer it went...with some work apparently.

Halfway to the slaughterhouse Bunk hears this terrible commotion in the trailer and knows the ram got squished. But when he opened the trailer door at the slaughterhouse, that Ram had all the cows pinned up against the headboard in near suffocation state. They let him in the slaughterhouse and could not get the gate opened fast enough. It slammed its head against the gate over and over, so much that the butcher came out at hearing the loud ringing. Reaching into he pocket he pulled out his captive bolt gun and did the ram in right there. "That will stop you", he said and that was it.

In all the years we have raised sheep on this farm, there has only been two nasty rams on the farm...neither had long lives. :-)
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Old 12-05-2009, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
We have too many cows, so they aren't brought in to service the cows, bulls are always present in the herd servicing the cows. After awhile the bulls know their roles, and the farmhands know their roles...cows are creatures of habit, once the routine is broken, there can be all of hades to pay. Keep to a routine and its not much of a problem.
This reminds me of a famous horse trainer I know who prefers stallions. He says, "Once you accept that stallions were put here by God for a purpose, and what that purpose is, they are predictable." He says geldings are not as predictable, and mares are the least predictable of the lot.

I, personally, have learned to pin my ears (don't ask me how, I just know the horses can see it and respect it), so between heeding his admonition and being lead mare and paying attention to equine body language, I have no problem handling any of them.

Your mention of routine brings up the question, can you tell a story of a break in the routine and what happened? Sounds interesting and informative.

Love the ram story!
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Old 12-05-2009, 09:40 AM
 
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---routine--

Day after day my neighbor had the same routine.

Let the cows out of their tie stalls for an hour in winter, swing open the sturdy metal bull pen gate by the back door, and let that " tame " Holstein bull slowly plod out of the barn to join them.

Day in,day out

One day that bull slowly plodded to the back door and " spun around on a dime" and charging smashed my friend against the gate breaking his ribs and other bones.

Luckily his excellent cattle dog was in his usual spot sleeping in the fromt of the barn, heard the smashing sound, and was there in seconds to attack the bull and save the farmer.

Thankfully, in dairy, we don't hear as much about bull attacks due to AI use.

The genetic improvement one can make by using AI vs farm bulls is simply amazing.

Also, due to superioriority of tested, proven, AI bulls, the increased market value $$$$$ of offspring of AI sired cattle in both dairy and beef is another reason for fewer bulls.

Simple------ AI requires better management , but the payoff is offspring that produce more milk and are worth more if selling.

Last edited by marmac; 12-05-2009 at 09:49 AM..
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
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AI is, indeed, wonderful, and has its place, but it does have its downside in that it can lead to a lack of genetic diversity that can come back to bite you in the derriere on down the road.

We see it in the equine community when a stallion becomes popular and, because of some little pieces of colored ribbon, ends up having too great an impact on the genetics of his particular breed. The QH world saw it, to their eternal sorrow, in Impressive, who was so popular that he sired over 2,000 foals and had a major impact on the breed - and then, on down the road, was discovered to be the source of Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP).

Other, similar things have happened in other breeds. So AI, while it is a valuable tool, is one that should be used judiciously.
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Canada
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There's something about a bull that brings out the tease in people. Or maybe that's just in my family. Our milk house, growing up, overlooked the bull pen. He was a fully mature and very angry bull who when anything moved at all would start that low rumbling and shaking his head and pawing the ground.

He was absolutely terrifying. Looked like a mountain of muscle. Anyway, one of my jobs was to clean the milk house and in the summer there was a screen over the window so the bull could see me and I could see the bull when I did my job. And he would rumble at me, and after a while, I would rumble right back at him, in a sickeningly terrified, hilarious sort of way. It wouldn't take too long before he was rolling his massive head on the ground, absolutely furious.

And all of a sudden the walls of the milk house didn't seem thick enough, nor the fence he was in strong enough, even with electric fencing, and I'd start to get nervous that he'd come barrelling right in the window. And I'd keep one eye on the bull and one eye on the door, plotting my escape route, in case he ever did come through the barn.

It was an odd window to have in the milk house - it was quite low and quite big.

Anyway, years later I found out that my sisters and my mom had all done the same thing to that bull. I think it was our fear of him that brought out the tease - we were so scared, we teased.

He was the angriest bull we ever had and he was soon shipped. He was just too dangerous.

I used to have nightmares about him chasing me and in my dreams, I would fly, somehow miraculously landing just in the nick of time on a fence post, before he would get to me.

I don't like roosters either. Or maybe roosters just don't like me. I was chased by roosters growing up and they really scared me. Then as a grown up when we had laying chickens for ourselves, I thought well, the rooster wouldn't chase a grown woman and it was just a kid fear that I'd had.

Roosters chase grown women. When my husband had his heart surgery, I got rid of the rooster. It was just plain undignified to be running out of the chicken house with a rooster flapping after me.
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Old 12-06-2009, 04:17 AM
 
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AI has its place with first calf heifers but after that you can better results through natural breeding with a bull. AI in Maine is all but dead really as the local farmers figured out you can influence the sex of the off-spring through feed rather then through AI. It is a lot less expensive, and the genetics are better off overall. This was actually something they learned through the sheep industry as AI in sheep is nearly impossible and costs are enormous.

I can see where you got that idea from Marmac as AI was indeed all the rage 5-10 years ago, but that farming fad has pretty much ended in recent years.

I love my Holsteins for sure, but genetically they are a mess.
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Old 12-06-2009, 04:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasHorseLady View Post
Your mention of routine brings up the question, can you tell a story of a break in the routine and what happened? Sounds interesting and informative.
Actually I can give you a too-fer on this story, so yes I do have an example. Last year when I first got into sheep I had the state of maine livestock expert show up and we chatted about sheep. One thing she mentioned was making the sheep shed where I kept my sheep "a bit warmer" by stopping the wind. She recommended putting up plastic to ward off the wind. I took her advice and put it up.

BIG MISTAKE!

I live on a big hill so the wind always blows. It made the sheep very nervous as it flapped and "snapped" in the wind...you know making that loud cracking noise when a gust of wind caught it. Well my sheep are Montadales and are range sheep...content to be on pasture, but skittish because they are always vulnerable.

Anyway, on one such windy day, the sheep were very nervous because of the constant racket. Then I opened up the plastic sheet and entered the building. Between being on edge, and my sudden entrance as the sheep could not see me coming, one sheep bolted out of the back of the sheep shed and tried to lunge over a gate. It caught her hard in the stomach and caught her leg. I got her unhooked, but the thrashing and hard hit to her gut aborted the two lambs she was carrying. I suspected that injury would and removed the tarp. They were fine after that, even when it hit -45.2 below (f) with lambs born that night no less.

So here is the lesson:

1. Know your animals. Cold dry sheep are happy sheep and they don't need much shelter. In fact they prefer to be in the cold.

2. Beware of taking advice from "experts". Animals can always find a place to get out of the wind. We (as humans) need to realize that and not feel driven to provide them shelter as tight as ours. It is actually more healthy for them to be in fresh air (sheep especially)
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Old 12-06-2009, 07:53 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,679,656 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
AI has its place with first calf heifers but after that you can better results through natural breeding with a bull. AI in Maine is all but dead really as the local farmers figured out you can influence the sex of the off-spring through feed rather then through AI. It is a lot less expensive, and the genetics are better off overall. This was actually something they learned through the sheep industry as AI in sheep is nearly impossible and costs are enormous.

I can see where you got that idea from Marmac as AI was indeed all the rage 5-10 years ago, but that farming fad has pretty much ended in recent years.

I love my Holsteins for sure, but genetically they are a mess.
----"I can see where you got that idea from Marmac as AI was indeed all the rage 5-10 years ago, but that farming fad has pretty much ended in recent years "--

Says who ?

Maybe some guy who raises sheep and whose family dairy farm is in a state that has so little dairy farming that Maine hardly ever gets mentioned in reputable national dairy magazines like Hoard's Dairyman.

In a real dairy state like mine ( Minnesota) the AI technicians do a great deal of their business on big dairy farms similar to the size of Broken Tap's family.

Broken Tap-------you may be knowledgeable about sheep, I enjoy reading your posts, but some of the things you post about dairy farming cause me to shake my head in amazement.

----"you can influence the sex through feed"

That statement in particular.
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,480 posts, read 38,390,611 times
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"you can influence the sex through feed"

Okay, so explain this. Are you talking about what's fed to the dam, to influence the PH factor in the uterus? (I know that that's been shown to be a factor in hospitability of the womb to male sperm.) Or are you talking about something that's fed to the sire (who determines the sex) to influence what he produces and adds to the mix? Cites would be lovely, one breeder to another.
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