How To Make a Cow Halter

When working with dairy cattle, it is important to have good cow halters on hand to keep things organized and under control. Cow halters can be made from set lengths of rope using some simple knotting techniques.

Simple cow halters can be made for any size bovine and in any quantity.

Prepare rope for halter shape

Cut a simple three-strand rope to a length of 12 to 15 inches, depending on whether the halter will be used for a calf or full-sized heifer. The 12-inch measurement is usually suitable for calves.

Seal one end of each rope by dipping the end in the oil-based paint or varnish. While some fraying in the rope is desirable for fashioning the halter, this will help prevent the ropes from unravelling.

Allow the rope ends to dry for at least 24 hours before beginning construction of the rope halter.

Create the cow halter

Measure 12 inches from one end of the longer rope and spin that portion of the rope to open up the strands and create an opening.

Thread the shorter rope through one of the strands to create a large loop. Open up the strands of the shorter rope near the loop and pull the long end of the rope through the strands to secure the loop.

Grasp the portion of the rope with the sealed end, spacing hands about 3 inches apart. Twist the rope and push hands together to create a fray of three loops.

Lining up the loops, push the long end of the rope through these loops, then run it through the eye loop to complete the formation of the halter.


When fraying the rope to create the loops, place a ruler inside the loops to ensure they do not tangle as the rope passes through.

Use a strong knotting technique to secure one end of each rope if varnish or oil-based paint is not available.


Securing the end of each rope is crucial to ensuring a strong halter that will not break while on the animal. Unsecured rope ends run the risk of breaking and allowing animals to run free or uncontrolled.