Calf roping questions?
Please excuse my ignorance, I don't know much about the sport or what is 'normal.'
Yesterday I was out at a friend's ranch helping run calves down the chutes for him to practice roping, and I was just curious what age is considered 'normal' for using the calves to do this. These calves were all tiny little Jerseys, definitely not weaned (I helped bottle feed them later that day) and probably not even a month old, about the size of a big dog. They were being handled very roughly, especially for tiny babies, and they were being run through the chute 5-6 times each before they became exhausted and were allowed to lie down and stop running.
They were also using cattle prods on them, which doesn't necessarily bother me, but they were zapping them in the chute multiple times to get them 'excited' before letting them out to be roped in order to get them to run. Maybe thats completely normal, but I'm just not sure. Any information? I'm not screaming abuse or anything, but it just seemed a little cruel to use such young babies for roping, especially when you have to practically electrocute them to death to get them to keep running!
I have to say though, those were the cutest darned calves I've ever seen. I almost wanted to take the littlest one, that couldn't have been bigger than a large dog, home with me xD
The calves I watched at a practice were much older and ran automaticly when the gate opened. I guess you gotta teach them somehow? I don't know how early they are taught or how they learn the game.
Usually the ones I've seen are a bit older, but generally people want to buy them as young as possible, because once they get too big, you can't use them any more. I'm not used to seeing them shocked, but then again, I've never been around 'new' calves either.
Just seems like there ought to be a better way than repeatedly shocking them before you even open the chute. Not that I really have a better answer or anything, but ouch!
They did 'score' a few of the smallest calves after a time or two and just let their horses run after them but didn't rope them, but I don't know...maybe I'm a little to caring. I really didn't like seeing babies THAT small being tossed down. I do understand wanting to be able to keep them and use them for a while though.
I'd never heard of Jerseys being used either. I've always seen those big burly beef calves being used, not delicate, scrawny little dairy cows. They were all bull calves though, so I guess that explains to me where all of the dairy cow bull calves go! xD
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