I is time to start Willow off on head collar training, she is coming up to 6 weeks old and has had her ears pierced so the next step is to allow us to walk up to her and put a head collar on when we need to.
This will also make it safe when it comes to handler her in the future, for when the vet come to take blood and a poo sample or being able to mover her around.
This is completely new to use, we have both had experience with horses and if you go on the internet there is a thousand and ways to do it listed, After reading all of them which is the correct way i have now idea, i am shore is was a lot easier when you didn’t have the internet as you would have read a book or got the information from a local farmer, so we are going to try it our way and see how it works out, updating this blog as i go with as much information as i can.
Ok, we probably should have started a few weeks earlier around 3-4 weeks maybe but with Christmas and New Year happening we where delayed.
Armed with a bucket of food not for Willow but for Hawthorn (Mummy) so that I could entice her into the stall so Willow would follow, and a pair of leather glovers plus the important rope which is about 3m long pre looped on one end so you can make a lasso out it, “the fun started”.
This went better than I hoped as Hawthorn love her food so the into the stall we went Willow in hot pursuit of her Mum, Willow very kindly went into the stall on her own and I stood in the entrance so she could not get out and put the bucket of food on the ground for Mum, “perfect”.
Willow as you might have read previously in other posts has been handled from birth a lot, so it was now just a matter of cornering her and slipping the loop over her head, which with a few backwards and forwards a few moo’s from mum went really well.
As soon as the loop is tight around Willow’s neck, but so tight so it chokes her, allow the rope to go slack as she moves around the stall until she gets used to the rope being around her neck, for Willow this did not take too long but you may find another calf will moving around the stall for a while so just be patient and just keep an eye on Mum just in case she decides to charge you to protect her baby.
I was lucky as i could moved on to the next stage that i had planed for Willow, this involved gently pulling the rope to mover her out in the field, it took some time this process, as she did not like the idea. I found that if i grabbed the rope by her neck so that the rope could not come off over her head and pulled her forceable stopping to stroke her until she calmed down worked the best.
Once she was in the field i just spent time using her name and the rope to stop her running away to walk up to her and stroke her then let the rope go and repeat, i did this for about 20 minutes and always keeping a third eye on Hawthorn just in case she decided to give me a head but.
I will do this now weather permitting every day or every other day until Willow gets used to me before moving on the the next stage.
So it has been a week-ish, things haven’t gone quite to plan as the weather has been dreadful, and I didn’t want to be sliding around a field in the mud hanging on the end of a rope. This being said I have managed to make some progress with Willow, she now knows my tricks in how to catch her, so i have had to come up with some more ways to do this and she when caught calms down so i can put my hands on her without too much pulling so progress even though just a little.