June 2008
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Daniel Peters' Brahmans Seem More Like Pets Than Livestock

By Kellie Henderson

  Daniel Peters of Pike County found the sure-fire method for stress relief was the "Brahman rub." His bull, Yo-yo, is only too happy to oblige.
Daniel Peters of Pike County said he’s found the sure-fire method for stress relief. He calls it the "Brahman rub."

"I come out here and pet them everyday, and I can just feel the day’s stress come out of me," said Daniel.

Peters bought his Brahman bull Yo-yo and seven Brahman heifers in 2000, when they were all yearlings.

"Yo-yo took second place in the state fair that year," said Peters.

And while these animals may be bigger than the average pet, anyone who visits the Peters’ farm can get the Brahman rub from cattle that seem more like pets than livestock.

"We have about 20 now, and they all have names," said Daniel’s wife, Karen, who readily admits the cattle belong to her husband.

"My brother-in-law, Dennis Park, and I are partners, and our wives barely knew which end of a cow did what when we bought the original bull and heifers," Peters said.

"We know a little bit now, though, don’t we," Karen said as she petted her Chihuahua, Taco, who has his own job as a kind of alarm system for a bull named Barney.

"I feed Barney apples off the porch, so he comes up on the porch when he wants one and Taco barks to let me know he’s out there," Peters said.

On one particular occasion though, Peters said Barney didn’t stop at the porch.

Daniel Peters feeds his mature cattle Co-op Range Pellets that he gets at his local Quality Co-op store.  
"I had gone out onto the porch and Barney was waiting for his apple. He tried to turn the doorknob with his mouth, and apparently I didn’t push the door to behind me when I went to the kitchen for his apple, because when I walked back into the living room, there was Barney," Peters said. "I knew I couldn’t get him to back out the doorway, so I just walked him on through the house and out the backdoor. I waited a few days before I mentioned anything about it to Karen, though."

Peters said he knew he wanted to have cows long before starting his Brahman herd.

"I used to love the Gene Ragan Farm Show and I guess you could say Gene was a hero of mine. I wanted to buy some cows and, of course, every breeder thinks his breed is the best, so I started like Noah. I gathered two of several different breeds and the first thing I noticed was the flies didn’t seem to cover-up the Brahman pair as bad," he said.

And from the lack of flies, Peters developed a fascination for Brahmans.

"When Dennis and I had a little extra money, we looked for some cows to start our heard. Dennis told me to handle the buying and I think he was green the whole way home after I wrote out that first check," joked Peters.

  With their heads bobbing and their giant ears flopping, it’s easy to see why people stop their cars to take a closer look at these animals.
While Peters is as proud as any cattle breeder, he said Brahmans really make a difference when they are crossed with cattle of other breeds.

"Putting a Brahman bull on other breeds of cattle is like putting ammonium nitrate on grass. It’s an unbelievable improvement," he said.

Peters also said his local Quality Co-op helps keep his herd happy and healthy.

"Yeah, we all get pretty upset if we run out of pellets and the Co-op is sold out. These cows will keep us up all night if they don’t get their bag of pellets," said Peters.

And like so many other co-op stores, Peters has even sold cows to other farmers he met at the Co-op.

"I was getting pellets and talking to another guy doing the same thing. I’ll tell people about my cows anytime they’ll listen and the fellow said his Daddy had always wanted Brahmans. I had two heifers I wanted to sell. When the fellow and his Daddy came out to our place, those are the two cows that walked right up to them," Peters said.

In addition to their stress relieving benefits, Peters said his Brahmans make quite an attraction for guests as well as passers-by.

"It’s not unusual for us to see somebody parked on the side of the road looking at them or taking pictures," said Karen.

"I’m originally from Boston and still have family up there, so anytime they visit us they get a Brahman rub. It’s a great story for people to go back home and tell," said Peters.

Daniel and Karen have two children, Abby, 24, and Jace, 19, and Karen said Abby hasn’t exactly taken to her Dad’s pets.

"She used to scream like she was crazy for her Daddy to come get those cows away so she could get in her car," said Karen.

And while Karen said she grew up in town and had never been around cows, it’s obvious she’s developed a genuine affection for the herd calling her yard home.

"Are you coming to see me today? You’re usually a little skittish," she said to one of the youngest calves, cooing to it like a great-aunt would a newborn baby.

While Peters poured out a bag of Co-op Range Pellets for the mature cattle, calves only a few months old teetered over to Karen for her to pet them. With their heads bobbing and their giant ears flopping, it’s easy to see why people stop their cars to take a closer look at these animals.

"They all have their own personality," said Karen.

And Peters added, "I know people think I’m crazy, but I’ll even give one of them a kiss every now and then. I know anytime I can’t take the heat and need to get out of the kitchen, I can count on them to help me relax my troubles away."

Kellie Henderson is a freelance writer from Troy.