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A lesson in halter breaking calves.

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Steve Herndon recently wrote: I have a herd of Miniature Zebu cattle in Cadiz, Kentucky. Recently the Trigg County FFA came to the farm to learn the skills of halter breaking. I'm attaching an article written by the FFA Secretary, along with a couple of photographs. There are a lot more pictures at the website www.zebucows.com.

As we loaded the bus for our first day, we all sat anxiously. We weren't sure if we should be nervous or not. Mr. P'Pool had told us all about these animals and the operation that Mr. Herndon had set up. We had an idea of what we were getting ourselves into, but no one had actually seen one of these animals before.

As we arrived at the farm, everyone was jumping up to see if they could catch a glimpse of a miniature Zebu cow. We wanted to know just how big they were, because we were about to put ourselves in the line of fire. We were about to step in the pen to begin halter breaking these animals.

I remember someone in the back of the bus standing up and saying "Oh my gosh, they are so cute! I can't believe how little they are!"

We were all very excited; we got off the bus and met Mr. Herndon. He explained all about the animals and how he began his career of raising miniature Zebu cows. We were listening but were anxious to get in the barn and begin our task. No one was expecting this to be a very hard task because they were so small.

The first group to go in was going to put the halters on for the first time. We were all jumping up and down trying to get Mr. P'Pool to pick us to go in first. He picked out 14 students and they went in. We could hear the cows moving around and the students in the barn getting louder, as they tried to get the halters on the cows. As they walked out for the first time, it was like a bull out the chute. But after being tied to the post for a few minutes they began to calm down.

The next group went in to lead them around and as the cows realized we were just going to walk them around, they began to walk calmly with minor outbursts. We lead them for about 20 minutes and decided to end the day on a good note. We released the cows back to the barn. We loaded the buses and felt like we had really accomplished something.

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Returning for the next round, no one was jumping up and down to be the one to put the halters on. However, we got picked and walked in the barn like muscle men, remembering our stepped-on toes and bruises on our legs from being kicked. We could handle this. They were calmer this time around after we got the halters on. They were much easier to lead, so we decided to take them out of the pen and act like we were showing them, by walking them in circles and lining them up. They did much better and there were only a few that showed that fury like the first day.

We returned several times and worked with the same seven Zebus each time. As a result Mr. Herndon now has seven halter broke cows. This experience was new to everyone. Some students have shown larger cattle, but no one had ever heard of a Zebu before this experience. This also gave our Animal Science class a chance to get out of the classroom and get in the community for a hands-on-learning experience. The people in the community do so much for our school; this was a chance to give back to someone in the community.

SUBMITTED BY CHAPTER FFA SECRETARY TIFFANY WALKER
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Author:Walker, Tiffany
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2008
Words:654
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