Seriously Quiet Small Cattle
Extremely Quiet Cattle are Simply a Joy to Own
Galloways are a low maintenance hardy breed of cattle. So, as breeders we spend what may seem like an inordinate amount of time and energy ensuring that our miniature cattle are extremely quiet - the whole herd. We don't just have a few special cattle that are halter trained and prepared to lead, we train as many members of our herd as is possible. So it begs the question, "If they don't need it, why do we bother?"
The short answer is... Quiet cattle are easier to manage. Extremely quiet cattle are even easier to manage and more enjoyable to own. The quieter they are, the easier and more enjoyable it is to look after them and to own them, full stop.
Every task involved in the maintenance and movement of the cattle is so much easier if the cattle are quiet. Not needing to muster the whole herd for every routine task is a good thing. If you don't have to take the herd or the individual cattle into a different paddock to carry out every task you save time and energy. There are routine tasks and one-off tasks. If these jobs are easier, life is easier for you as a miniature cattle owner.
It is so much easier to lead your miniature cattle from the front then it is to herd them from behind. Calling your cattle and having them all follow you into the next paddock is 'a walk in the park', compared to trying to get them to go where you want them to go from behind.
We wanted the cattle to go from paddock A, through B and into paddock C. So we just opened both gates, stood in paddock C and called them. Cattle love a new paddock and they know our call - 2 mins.
Twelves months later... now we have halved the time it takes for them to raise their heads and move on to 'greener pastures'. The cows know exactly what we want them to do - gone in 60 seconds.
Getting one cow in the crush takes very little time if you can walk up to the one cow you need, put a halter on her and lead her to the crush (as opposed to moving the whole herd through several paddocks). Some tasks like injections, NLS tagging and vet examinations should always be done in the crush. Safety first - most vets won't examine cattle unless they are in the crush.
If you can walk up to the cow in the paddock, halter her and do what you need to do for her right there in the paddock, the task will take a little less time and is just that little bit easier. Things like putting drops in noses, applying ointment to an eye or cutting off a burr may require a halter.
If you can just walk up to the cow and do what needs to be done while she is standing in the paddock, that task will take less time again and is easier still. Things like checking for paralysis ticks, looking for cuts and scratches can be done while giving the cow a brush.
The long answer is... all about how much we love it. We could go on and on about it and bore you to tears, but suffice to say we do it because we enjoy being in the paddock with our cattle. There is a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction in walking among our herd, giving them a brush, checking how pregnancies are coming along and watching all the antics of the calves. We simply find it is a pleasurable experience and look forward to that part of our day.
All cattle are the product of how they have been treated. If cattle have been treated badly or seriously neglected then their docile nature will find it difficult to shine through. If cattle are trained and handled regularly then their true colours will positively beam at you.
How Quiet Are They? - What to Look For
Miniature Galloway cattle are all docile, so most breeders can tell you their cattle are quiet. But there is quiet and there is quiet. If you are talking to a breeder about particular cattle and you want to know exactly how quiet they are, you need to ask more than one question.
If you want to know if particular miniature cattle are already family pets or just wary little grass eaters, then you need to ask specific questions.
We encourage visitors to give the bull a brush first as an 'icebreaker'. If the bull is this sweet everyone relaxes. How scary can the rest of the herd be if the three-year-old bull is a lamb?
Questions you may want to ask include:
If the cattle come up to the fence for hay, will they move away if you come to the fence? Can you walk up to them in the paddock? Can you walk up to them in the paddock and stroke them?
If you go into the paddock and walk towards the cattle will they:
Walk away from you? Run away from you? Stay where they are? Walk towards you? Come right up to you?
Follow you around imploring you with their kind cow eyes to give them one more brush... please?
Several GOLD CREEK Galloways will come right up to you for a scratch. (A few will take their time.)
Where do you need to put the cattle to run your hands over them:
In the crush and only in the crush? In a small yard or confined space?
Haltered and tied up to something? Stand in the paddock and let you handle them?
All GOLD CREEK Galloways - usually in the paddock.
When you are handling the cattle will they:
Let you run your hands all over them? (only in the crush, yard or paddock?)
Let you apply pour on products? (only in the crush, yard or paddock?)
Let you lift their legs up and look at their hooves? (only in the crush, yard or paddock?)
Let you handle their udder or testicles? (only in the crush, yard or paddock?)
All GOLD CREEK Galloways let you do these tasks in the paddock.
If the cattle are halter trained how do you put the halter on:
Do you need to put them in a crush first? Do you need to put them in a small yard first?
Do you need to put a rope around their neck and then halter them?
Do you need to give them a treat and put the halter on when they are eating?
Can you walk up to them in the paddock and just put the halter on?
Most halter trained GOLD CREEK Galloways let you put a halter on in the paddock. (Some require bribery)
Brushing a 'baby bull'. Notice the little Miss marching over to us so she won't miss out on her brush.
Buying Seriously Quiet Cattle
When you find a breeder with quiet, easy to manage cattle, you may need to be prepared to pay a little extra (you may not either). When you consider the time and energy you will save on every routine task, the benefits will outweigh the initial cost. That little bit extra you may have to pay is worth every cent. You will reap the rewards of quiet cattle from day one and for years to come.
If you start your herd with quiet cattle, it will set the tone of your herd for the future. If you introduce a couple of quiet cattle to your herd, these cattle can help you quieten the others.
Galloway cattle are docile by nature, so if you would rather pay less and you feel confident to quieten and train the cattle yourself, this is also a viable option. Working through this process with your miniature Galloway cattle can be a very rewarding experience. It will take time and patience, but will be well worth the effort.