How To Efficiently Halter Break A Calf?

If you have grown up managing show cattle in Texas, you would know halter breaking is one of the most essential parts of training cattle. The most important thing to understand is that halter breaking a calf is more about communication than brute force. You have to be able to understand what your calf is trying to tell you before you can apply any sort of physical pressure.


How To Make Your Calf Feel Safe And Sound Around You?

Halter breaking is no less than any art. You would need to create a bond with the animal, and the animal should feel comfortable around you. The way you approach your cattle for a halter break would decide how they would behave. Because if you are planning to take your show cattle for the championship then judges would consider these minor key points during the program.  


Introduction To Handling And Touching

The process can seem intimidating but by breaking it down into smaller steps you can see how manageable the process is. By spending some quality time the animal would start building trust in you. 


Understand Their Body Language 

The first step in halter breaking is to understand your calf’s body language. Body language is the key to knowing their discomfort and needs. When a calf is approaching a stall or pen, it will often move away from you and back again. It means they are trying to escape, but they are just as likely to be worried about what you might do once they have escaped. You need to reassure them that there will be no harm done if they come back into their pen or stall once they have escaped from the gate. If this doesn’t work, try walking towards them slowly and calling them over repeatedly until they approach you again. Cows are social animals and have a natural tendency to follow other cows, so when you approach them, they will often look at you with their heads cocked as if they are trying to figure out what you are doing. It is called “head-cocking”, and it is an excellent sign that your horse should be able to follow. 


Working With The Calf

Halter breaking in the calf involves making sure your calves are comfortable first, and then a gentle approach towards putting halters on them. Pick out a calf that is calm and docile. It is best done when they are not yet weaned because it will make them more comfortable. Take your time, do not rush the halter breaking in the calf. Let them chase you as long as possible until they are tired. Once you both are tired, it is time to put the halter on the calf. Approach the calf with the halter in your left hand and the lead strap in your right hand. Hold the halter in a position where it’s easy for the calf to take off from the feed bucket. Place the halter over the calf’s nose and under its jaw, with the crown piece resting behind its ears. Use a treat to encourage good behavior during training sessions. Be patient, working in short sessions at least twice a day. Reward your calf’s good behavior.


Check The Halter

Haltering a calf for the first time can be difficult, but you can train your calf to accept it. Ensure that the halter is not causing any rash or skin cuts because it can lead to infections as well if untreated. In any case, if the halter has caused a wound to the animal, let the wound heal and then get back to the process again.


An important query usually addressed by cattle owners – 


What is the right age to halter your calf?

You can start once your calf has turned a few months old. 


Can you leave the calf with a halter?

If your calf is comfortable enough to handle the halter, then you consider having the halter. Otherwise, take a brief break in between. 


Can you halter break all the calves?

No. If you have been dealing with calves for ages, then you would understand this  better. It is not possible to halter break certain calves. Just like not all fingers are alike, even they differ from others.


Haltering a calf does not have to be painful or stressful for either the calf or the trainer. You get better at halter breaking, and your calf gets used to being with people. If you need any assistance in halter breaking cattle near Texas, then don’t forget to stop by Kocurek Cattle. You can also reach out to us through our contact no (979) 200-8475 or our website –