Pet cow 🐄

Mule

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Does anyone on the forum keep cattle? I have some (lots of) questions for farmers or anyone else who has cows. I'm looking after some cattle as a favour and I've taken a liking to one (big personality). I don't fancy the thought of her heading off to the abattoir. The owner is happy for me to take her so I'm trying to decide if I will or not.

Do cows need other cows for company? She would be going in with the horses anyway but do they need the company of their own species?
Do they need worming and vaccinations?
Is it necessary to have a cattle crush or would it be safe enough to halter train her for things like vet visits.
Are they as inclined towards self harm as horses? What else do I need to know? 🐄
 
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honetpot

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I have a couple of cows that I have along with the ponies. I think they need company or they really do bellow. Tea time, if I am late I can hear them two fields away. If she has calved, can you keep the calf for company? I use a calving gate with a headstock as a crush. It works as normal gate as well.
 

Mule

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I have a couple of cows that I have along with the ponies. I think they need company or they really do bellow. Tea time, if I am late I can hear them two fields away. If she has calved, can you keep the calf for company? I use a calving gate with a headstock as a crush. It works as normal gate as well.
I hadn't thought about the bellowing, she'll have to have company then. She hasn't had any calves, she's quite young, not fully grown yet. I must google a headstock.
 

rextherobber

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What a lovely thing to do! A friend has a cow, she says get 2, and remember they need their feet trimmed, she needs a crush for this despite having handled hers loads and tried training, but hers is a boy, don't know if that makes a difference?
 

rabatsa

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Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork with cattle. Movement registers, holding numbers...

Depending on where you live but you may need tb tests every year, the least you can get away with is every 3 years. You do not decide when either. A test failure is instant slaughter, no ifs or buts.

Some vets will not deal with cattle unless there is a proper crush and not just a headstock and gate. Halter training and handling like a horse is ok. Parasite control can depend on your area, lungworm and liver fluke are more of a problem in cattle than horses but the stomach worms should be hoovered up by the horses so not be such a problem.

Yes cattle do need other cattle as friends.
 

TPO

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A ray of sunshine 🌞
Ditto @rabatsa

I think if you're moving the cow to your place you need to register as a small holding to let you keep farm animals. Dont know I'd that's just a scottish thing?

Loads of paperwork and registration of beast etc

Crush for hoof trimming, vaccinating and worming. There are some freelance people up here that'll trim cattle hooves (& prepare them for shows) but I dont know how common that is.

I'd imagine a cow would need cattle company especially as its grown and not a calf growing up thinking shes a horse kinda thing...

I've found cows the hardest to work with, hormones, bullocks and bulls have generally been better. So I don't know if a pet cow might turn/change personality when she wants a man or if she'll be better since she hasnt been bred from??

Cattle arent cheap either. I've had horses for much less then of the cattle my grandad sent to market!
 

PapaverFollis

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I made a joke about getting a cow when being shown round this place (there were cow byres) and the farmer showing me round was like "if you have one cow, you might as well have 100 because it's a similar amount of work" !! I expect he meant all the paperwork stuff.

I'm addicted to watching cow feet trims on YouTube... I wouldn't fancy it without a crush.
 

Errin Paddywack

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I like cows, or did, and used to work at a RS that had Jersey cows. They were used for milk for the house and to rear calves. Have to confess is the 4 yrs I was there they were never vaccinated or hoof trimmed and if they were wormed it wasn't me that did it. I got on fine with them, particularly the Jerseys but they weren't big cows. When I got married it was to the son of a mixed farmer and he had cattle. Much bigger. They didn't bother me then but as I have got older I am well aware of the possibilities for injury, not deliberately but just because of their size. The chap who had the most interest in the non jerseys halter broke them. They would have been about half grown then. Cows when nothing goes wrong are fine but it is the practicalities of handling them if something does. Friend of mine was a cattle farmer, bred and reared them but in the end he gave up as too dangerous an occupation.
 

Equi

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To be perfectly honest I don’t think it’s worth the bother for one cow. She will wreck any field over winter and they don’t just come into a stable you can muck out. Yes they can be halter trained but I would say most vets would want a crush for any major vet care such as foot care etc. There will be lots of paperwork, tb testing, farm checks. If they get any ailment you’ll have to be prepared to inject it yourself or you’ll spend a fortune getting call outs and they can’t just go to cow hospital. If she was unlucky to get mastitis (don’t have to have had a calf) she would need drained and medication put up the hole which I would say is entirely impossible without a crush and a burly handler who’s brave enough to go near it.
 

Carlosmum

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so much paperwork...
holding number, movement reporting, Tb tests, not to mention winter feeding, a safe area to handle her, and if the dreaded happens, you cant just bury her body in the garden .
Could you just ask the farmer to sell her to you and pay him to keep her so you can visit? cows like company
 

meleeka

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so much paperwork...
holding number, movement reporting, Tb tests, not to mention winter feeding, a safe area to handle her, and if the dreaded happens, you cant just bury her body in the garden .
Could you just ask the farmer to sell her to you and pay him to keep her so you can visit? cows like company
I have pigs and I didn’t find the paperwork excessive. You need a CPH which is easy to obtain and then to register with DEFRA. Any movements are online which is fairly simple too. Mine haven’t gone anywhere so it was just the movement here I had to do. Obviously I don’t need TB testing, but I have the vet once a year for vaccinations and worm 6 monthly. The farm vet I use is way cheaper than the horse vet, despite being another 30 miles away.
 

hobo

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Meleeka pigs are pigs cattle are a whole different kettle of fish! Mule Rab has answered most of it and I agree 100% with what she and others have said. It is a lovely idea but just not practical we sold our milking herd and there were a couple I would have loved to have as pets here but even as an experienced cattle keeper it is just not practical.
 

paddy555

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I would have loved to have as pets here but even as an experienced cattle keeper it is just not practical.
can you explain why please? just curious as to what I have missed. I kept them (the cows not the calves ) as pets and had no problems in fact they were a lot easier than some of the horses I have had. I would have another cow now if it wasn't for the risk of losing her to TB testing. (bad in our area)
 

hobo

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can you explain why please? just curious as to what I have missed. I kept them (the cows not the calves ) as pets and had no problems in fact they were a lot easier than some of the horses I have had. I would have another cow now if it wasn't for the risk of losing her to TB testing. (bad in our area)
You have answered your own question TB regulations!!! They do need their own company so having one is not fair. We loved our cows and had many over friendly ones that were such fun but the TB is the biggest problem if yours gets it affects all your neighbour's and the other way round. They are strong and can hurt you very easily not through being bad or nasty just through being what they are big animals.
 
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The yard, home or coal face.....
so much paperwork...
holding number, movement reporting, Tb tests, not to mention winter feeding, a safe area to handle her, and if the dreaded happens, you cant just bury her body in the garden .
Could you just ask the farmer to sell her to you and pay him to keep her so you can visit? cows like company
Sorry, I'm trying not to giggle at the thought of having a cow on DIY or part livery! 🤣
But it's a sensible idea.
 

Julie Ole Girl

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Aw I felt exactly the same about a friendly sheep that was in my field with my horses, I called her Freda as she had an F on her back, she was so friendly, fortunately the farmer said she was a 'pet lamb' and wouldn't be killed. My two seem to enjoy the company of the young cows next to them as well.
 

paddy555

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You have answered your own question TB regulations!!! They do need their own company so having one is not fair. We loved our cows and had many over friendly ones that were such fun but the TB is the biggest problem if yours gets it affects all your neighbour's and the other way round. They are strong and can hurt you very easily not through being bad or nasty just through being what they are big animals.
TB is the only reason I won't have another (some of our neighbours are affected) Looking after them was no problem.

Every small holder used to have a couple of cows and a couple of calves to put on them. We had no problem with them being big animals far easier than some of the horses we have had. OH's parents had the normal house cow when he was growing up. It seems from this thread that they are now so difficult to keep when in the past it was quite normal to have them almost as pets. We just got on and looked after them, fed hay and cake in winter and they were no trouble.
 

Equi

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I think a lot was “easier” back in the day. Dogs roamed and came home for tea, cows came to the back door for you to put milk in your cornflakes then tootled off to the field again, if your cat went for a walk next door it didn’t get put on Facebook as being rescued from the streets.... it’s a different world now.
 

Cob Life

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Lots of paperwork! You need a cph, herd number etc
they need others for company and I wouldn’t trust hoof trimming any cow without a crush, even our most docile one who loved a cuddle and was well halter trained was dangerous to foot trim without one. They wreck fields too.

TB depends on your area. Ours was every year, our vet was fairly skilful (and brave) so could do that without a crush (we tied them up in the barn), most vets wouldn’t.

I’d work with them professionally where crush and proper handling systems are in place but I wouldn’t keep them as pets

sheep are great though, less paperwork, no crush needed, easy to bucket train.
 

Mule

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If the animal is moved to a new field and never leaves the property again and has no contact with cattle from outside does it need to be tested for tb?
 

Cob Life

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If the animal is moved to a new field and never leaves the property again and has no contact with cattle from outside does it need to be tested for tb?
I’m almost certain it does yes, tb testing itself isn’t a huge issue though(besides cost), It’s if you get a positive test that everything goes to pot.
 
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Speaking as a farmer, a pet cow is far less challenging to keep than a horse.
If you don't fill them with grain there is a liklihood they may not need their feet trimmed, and if they do there are individuals who will come out with a hydraulic crate and trim for you.

Yes, there is paperwork but it's just a case of learning how to do it. Once your set up with a CPH and cow moved onto your holding there will be minimal work to do.

It's only as difficult as you make it. As long as the cow has hay/silage and minerals (lick bucket) and is wormed and tested for mandatory diseases ie TB then that's all that you really need.

Horses are much harder work!

And if it doesn't work out, you can sell.
 

Mule

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Speaking as a farmer, a pet cow is far less challenging to keep than a horse.
If you don't fill them with grain there is a liklihood they may not need their feet trimmed, and if they do there are individuals who will come out with a hydraulic crate and trim for you.

Yes, there is paperwork but it's just a case of learning how to do it. Once your set up with a CPH and cow moved onto your holding there will be minimal work to do.

It's only as difficult as you make it. As long as the cow has hay/silage and minerals (lick bucket) and is wormed and tested for mandatory diseases ie TB then that's all that you really need.

Horses are much harder work!

And if it doesn't work out, you can sell.
Thank you. That's encouraging :)
 
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