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Cows and calves

WaysideWayside Posts: 845
edited July 2018 in Problem solving
Walked past a field of cows yesterday with their young.  Luckily I was separated by fencing.  The mothers were still very protective.  I tried to tempt the little ones over for a stroke, and being the curious beasts that they are, they did approach me.  But their mums were not impressed at all, and were quick to move them away from me.

I'm never that comfortable crossing a field with livestock.  When I was younger it didn't really bother me, but after hearing a couple of bad tales, I now try to avoid if at all possible.  I did try and research some stats via http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/og/og-00058.htm .  There are many killed by cows - mainly farmers by all accounts.  But I couldn't really find any info on as to how to calm cows or what to do if attacked.

I'm not sure if cries of "I'm a vegetarian!" will be that great a deterrent.  Any advice?
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  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,586
    Don't go in a field with livestock in it. Safer for you and safer for the livestock.
  • WaysideWayside Posts: 845
    edited July 2018
    Sometimes when cycling, there isn't really an alternative than heading through land that has animals on it.  When walking one year behind Devil's dyke on the flats, some very lively horses made me take a half-hour detour!
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,331
    What would you do if a cow approached your baby?
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,331
    I don't think the: "Greetings Earthlings. I come in peace" scenario would work in this case - even if you are a vegetarian.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
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  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190
    People trying to attract cows to them for a stroke is just a stupid think to do, they are large, strong animals keep away if you have children or else just walk through the public right of way if you must and don't make eye contact. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,080
    scroggin said:
     if you're uncomfortable entering a field of livestock then it's best for both parties to find an alternative route.
    It's not always that straightforward. It's vanishingly rare for me to be walking anywhere without at least one dog. We have done a couple of long (several days) route walks. If there are cows in a field that the footpath crosses, it's not always feasible to find a way around when you're way outside your familiar territory. And in those circumstances, just going back isn't an option, either. Also it's happened that we've been crossing a field and only realised there were cattle in it when we were already part way across.

    I wish farmers would not put cows with calves into fields that have public footpaths crossing them. Store cattle are bad enough, but at least they usually stop when you face them. Still a very risky situation though. Letting the dog run - which is the standard advice - is often not a safe option for us. A couple of very close run things has left me rather reluctant to tackle long cross country walks, which is a shame, but it's just not safe except in winter when it's just not fun.
    Gardening on the edge of Exmoor, in Devon

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
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  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,080
    edited July 2018
    I know it's impossible for farmers to avoid putting cattle into footpath fields altogether, I just mean when the calves are very young and the cows particularly protective. I used to walk regularly on common land in the Cotswolds where cows are grazed, and it was never an issue. The cattle were used to people and dogs walking by, people were used to the fact of the cows. As you say, provided people are responsible about controlling their dogs, closing gates and not deliberately provoking the cattle, there's no reason for it to be a problem. (There were injuries to cows, but usually from cars driving much too fast  :( )
    I have no time for the sort of people who drive into the countryside, open a gate and let their dog out of the car to run amok (and it happens around here). I'm not defending people who scream 'not fair' at the suggestion they may have to share the countryside with people trying to make a living here. I just think it can cut both ways, and a little consideration for the people who are trying to behave responsibly and not be put in a position where they have to let their dogs off lead in open country in order to avoid being trampled would be helpful in the overall scheme of things.
    At the very least, a notice on a stile/gate saying there are cattle in this field so here's a suggested alternative route, would be useful.
    Gardening on the edge of Exmoor, in Devon

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,961
    Most mothers, animal or human, will act to protect their offspring if they think they are in danger.  If a prey animal (cow) sees a predator (dog) they are going to at least go into a defensive mode and try to put themselves between the predator and their calf.  If a human attempts to approach a calf they will be viewed in the same way and it's entirely understandable that the cow will attack.
    General advice is not to take a dog through a field where there are calves but if the cows become aggressive, and there is no quick escape route, let go of the dog.  It will be far more able to escape by itself than with the owner, and the distraction will give the owner more time to escape. 
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