The calves have proved too strong for this old city slicker to try to work with. I tried and got hurt quite badly, bad enough to be wary of trying again. A great young man, one of the nicest people I have met in this area, came to my assistance and offered to halter the calves and work with them on his way home from college on Fridays. He spent just under an hour patiently installing the halter and then allowing the calves to be comfortable wearing it. In order to do that, he ran after them rather than tie them up, explianing to me that tying them can cause them pain when they pull too hard. This way, he can control the tension and when the calves panic, slack off and allow them to run so they do not feel any threat from the experience. That makes sense.
Dustin was efficient and calm and provided exactly the environment the calves needed. The bull calf, Barclay, was haltered first. He is the calmest and I have been able to pet him on the head for a month now. He was no problem and did not fight the halter at all. Dustin remarked that for a first time, it was as though he had been used to the halter. Second was Kylie, the Highland, who was more difficult, but once she was haltered, because she, too, had been tamed through the winter as I watered her, she calmed down and relaxed and only fought and ran slightly. Then Shona, the baby who had to fend for herself was the last. She fought the most, but still nothing like a wild range calf would. Dustin felt she actually likeed to be stroked. I would imagine that she did too, since she did not have an opportunity to cuddle up to her mother as she grew and even animals need love and touch.
I must say, Dustin has restored my faith in human kind. He is a wonderful young man with a heart of gold. Most people cannot be bothered to help others they do not know. Dustin and his cousin came to buy some young bantam roosters from me last year and were equally courteous and pleasant then and I am pleased to know both of them. They want to farm together and I have encouraged them to look at organic farming as an option. In the meantime, I am so grateful for Dustin's willingness to help me with the calves. Thank you Dustin. Live green and prosper.