PF No Foolin’ April

Miss April was born 4-01-2012 and arrived at our place on October 4th, 2012 – along with her mother ( PF Patriot ) and another Cow/Calf Pair ( PF Patriot’s Cora and PF Cora’s Killian ).  Her Daddy ( Sire ) is PF Little Big Man !

As of 10-09-2012 –

April’s going through quite a bit of training. We are learning our halter and leading! And thank God for Alfalfa cubes! She’s gone from ” Let me gut you! ” – all the way to looking like that Mule trying to chase the carrot.

She still has her moments when she wants to kick. It’ll take some time to help her understand that she is NOT more Diva than Mariah Carey. But she’s coming along. The trust issues are subsiding fast and furious – one at a time – a day at a time.

I measured her today. She is now 36″ tall – 51″ from horns to tail – 40″ from withers to tail.

She has a lot of spirit! Since her arrival – April was mirroring quite a few negative behaviors seen happening with her mom and the other cow we purchased. She was extremely flighty. She’s very well talented with kicking. She loves to blow snot. And I think her mom read to her about the cow jumping over the moon way too many times.

Of course – these are all behaviors directly related to trust – Many of these behaviors are just normal expectations from a herd that is not handled daily. Her mom happens to be – a rarely handled Brood Cow.  So – it only makes sense that these traits would become something she considered normal.

My consistent working with her on a daily basis – after only 5 days – has brought such a huge difference in her behavior.

She has become much more calm when anyone walks into her stall. She’s very calm when tied to her stall door in the alley of the barn. She now approaches me at the stall door. She gives kisses! She stands beside me in her halter and lead rope with no sweat – as if it gives her a security blanket. She tends to lean towards me – very gently – while in that position. She lets me wrap my arm around her while standing beside her – hug her a little and give her a little pat on her other side.

She still kicks at first – when the show stick touches her hind leg and low rear. Continuing in a gentle way – she adjusts and melts. No longer has any problem across her back, belly, front legs or brisket.

We’ve gone from a few minutes to almost instantly – when it comes to how quickly she walks up to me when I squat against a wall inside her stall. She just sniffs – gives kisses every once in a while. And there have been a couple times when it looked like she actually considered laying down beside me! I’m able to go in and clean up piles without her freaking out over the hay fork.

She’s just very calm now – as long as she’s not being forced and/or expected to do something without a treat.

She loves to learn. But she demands fairness. If she’s gonna perform – I have to be willing to hand over the alfalfa cubes. ( And in truth – the ‘ cubes ‘ are more like mini hay flakes! ) She’s up to doing a full circle around the alley of the barn for 1 treat.

And she’s also learning – if she’s good throughout the entire session – she gets a Cow Cookie. And she LOVES those!

The weaning is progressing much better than I anticipated. The hollering between Mom and April is diminishing quite a bit. Mom gets her daily dose of cubes – lots of hay – and a small ration of grain on a daily basis with mineral, as well.

And then there are a few other things I do to help. Mom is allowed to come to the other paddock with the herd when the storms show up – to stay in the shelter there, which is right beside April’s stall. And she’s able to walk up to the door on the other side of the barn from the other paddock.

We will be installing a 6′ gate to close off the small area between our barn and RV pad that is connected to the paddock where April’s Mom primarily resides. That will give me a place for working outside with April and get further in her training!

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