Pet cow 🐄

Errin Paddywack

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What breed is this cow and how big is she likely to get? She may be sweet over the fence but have you tried going into the field with her and seeing how she behaves, i.e. could you stroke her all over. Training up a calf is one thing, a near adult animal is very different. If she was a dairy cow she would be used to being handled but a beef cow only gets handled when wormed, vaccinated etc and then she would be in a crush. Their feet are like potato mashers and unless you have good dry land she could make a heck of a mess in winter.
 
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What breed is this cow and how big is she likely to get? She may be sweet over the fence but have you tried going into the field with her and seeing how she behaves, i.e. could you stroke her all over. Training up a calf is one thing, a near adult animal is very different. If she was a dairy cow she would be used to being handled but a beef cow only gets handled when wormed, vaccinated etc and then she would be in a crush. Their feet are like potato mashers and unless you have good dry land she could make a heck of a mess in winter.
She is friendly when I'm in the field with her. She comes over to me and lets me stroke her nose. I haven't tried stroking her all over.

She's about 1 and 1/2 years old. I think she is a fresian (black & white). As far as I know she would be intended to be raised for beef, although I'm not actually sure.

I have wet-ish land although I have 6 horses out on it all winter so I'm not sure how much worse she will make it. Another cow to keep her company will of course make it worse. From the sounds of it she'll need company. I get the field rolled in late spring. What do you think?
 
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TPO

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She is friendly when I'm in the field with her. She comes over to me and lets me stroke her nose. I haven't tried stroking her all over.

She's about 1 and 1/2 years old. I think she is a fresian (black & white). As far as I know she would be intended to be raised for beef, although I'm not actually sure.

I have wet-ish land although I have 6 horses out on it all winter so I'm not sure how much worse she will make it. Another cow to keep her company will of course make it worse. From the sounds of it she'll need company. I get the field rolled in late spring. What do you think?
I think your heart is in the right place but that it's not a very sensible option.

I'm presuming that your friend provides a high standard of care and the animals are all well looked after.

If you are buying at market price I'd imagine she will cost a bit to buy. If you wanted to do something instead of saving that cow the money could maybe go towards an organisation that helps less fortunate animals?

Another thought just popped into my head if you do decide to buy a cow or two to keep with the horses...how much hay do cattle eat? In the UK we only fed them silage and the horses absolutely couldnt get near that for fear of botulism. I know cattle can eat hay but I'm assuming silage was more cost effective (grandparents made their own so no idea of cost) and better at putting weight in beef cattle. If your cow(s) are in hay how much will they eat, just thinking they might eat even more than horses?
 

Nudibranch

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I like cows - I'd like a Jersey or two one day - but at the moment am pretty sick of them. The farmer turned out a herd with the horses, I didnt realise until the cows appeared one day. I've had to replace all my electric fencing as they have absolutely no respect for it and broke posts and rope all over the place. I've had to turn the horses out early on the winter grazing as I couldn't restrict them with the cows there. They also trampled my brand new bike. I've just had a high worm count after years of zero as well - cows are supposed to break the worm cycle as far as I know but it's quite a coincidence.
 

hobo

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Brain has engaged now and it is the law that cattle have one of their own for company unless you have been ordered to put said cow in isolation. Farm assurance are very strict on this. cattle will be fine on hay that is not a problem but as you have said she is a black and white if she is likely to need a good diet in the winter to keep condition on though it is unlikely it is a pure dairy breed as if she is a heifer they would be wanting her for milking it is possible that she is a freemartin which is not a problem and means she will not come bulling. If she is not you will have to mindful that she could get herself kicked if she starts bulling on one of your horses and they come bulling every three weeks all year round.

Horses and cows do get on really well that is not the problem, cows can be haltered trained and kept in a large stable and mucked out like a horse. You can sit on their backs and play and pet them but just because you can does not mean you should.
 

paddy555

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She is friendly when I'm in the field with her. She comes over to me and lets me stroke her nose. I haven't tried stroking her all over.

She's about 1 and 1/2 years old. I think she is a fresian (black & white). As far as I know she would be intended to be raised for beef, although I'm not actually sure.

I have wet-ish land although I have 6 horses out on it all winter so I'm not sure how much worse she will make it. Another cow to keep her company will of course make it worse. From the sounds of it she'll need company. I get the field rolled in late spring. What do you think?
I think your cow could easily be tamed as a pet cow from what you describe. Just think of her as a horse. With a horse you would put feed and hay in the stable,, invite it in and then start scratching and stroking it.
Mine never caused as much problem on the grass with their feet as the horses did.

They are easy enough to keep, a couple would be fine, the paperwork easy enough and so is everything else. It is only as hard a people make it.

The biggie is TB. That is the only reason I no longer have pet cows. Round here there is frequent testing and always losses. There is no choice with the testing.
I seem to remember you could be in Ireland? not sure if that is North or South. I would find out what the situation is around you by asking the farmer. If you are in a problem area I would think twice because if yours reacts then it will be slaughter and you will not have a choice that she is your beloved pet. If you are not in a problem area then look at the TB risk for your area and see if you can live with it.
 
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I think your cow could easily be tamed as a pet cow from what you describe. Just think of her as a horse. With a horse you would put feed and hay in the stable,, invite it in and then start scratching and stroking it.
Mine never caused as much problem on the grass with their feet as the horses did.

They are easy enough to keep, a couple would be fine, the paperwork easy enough and so is everything else. It is only as hard a people make it.

The biggie is TB. That is the only reason I no longer have pet cows. Round here there is frequent testing and always losses. There is no choice with the testing.
I seem to remember you could be in Ireland? not sure if that is North or South. I would find out what the situation is around you by asking the farmer. If you are in a problem area I would think twice because if yours reacts then it will be slaughter and you will not have a choice that she is your beloved pet. If you are not in a problem area then look at the TB risk for your area and see if you can live with it.
I'm in the south. I know they are very hot on tb here but i don't know how often they test. It would be a devastating to lose a pet that way.
 

paddy555

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I'm in the south. I know they are very hot on tb here but i don't know how often they test. It would be a devastating to lose a pet that way.
yes I know how devastated some of my friends (who are farmers not pet cow owners) are when they lose animals after testing. One lost 4 last week. Hopefully you can get more info. concerning infection in your area from your farmer friend.
Sorry to put a downer on things. Any other problem with a pet cow can be overcome pretty easily. This one really cannot.
 

Cob Life

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The other thing to consider is moving them can put a stand still on your holding (meaning nothing can be moved on or off) and I don’t know if this standstill also applies to horses, which may be an issue if your go to shows/lessons off site?
But I know moving our cattle meant we then couldn’t move pigs, sheep or goats For 6 days and vice versa

if she’s dairy I’d be surprised if she’s been raised for beef, is there a chance she’s a black and white beef breed? (Belted Galloway is the only one I can think of off the top of my head but they have fairly distinctive markings) dairy breeds as a general rule tend to be more docile than beef breeds
 

Moobli

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We have, to all intents and purposes, a pet Highland cow. Her mother rejected her at birth so we hand-reared her. She shares a field with my ponies but her best friends / minions are my six Herdwick sheep. Ideally you would want two cows together as they do like company. We have tried to put ours in calf three time unsuccessfully as I am sure she would enjoy the company of her own kind. Unfortunately the Highland fold we keep here are too wild (not handled very often) to even consider reintegrating her with them as I have no doubt they would seriously injure or kill her. When one of the old cows started getting bullied by the rest, we brought her down to Ruby's field and she spent her last few months with her but they never really interacted much as I think Ruby thinks she is a sheep.

You have had good advice already and the practical stuff has been covered by others so I won't repeat what has been said. In your situation, I would try and find out the status of TB in the area before making a decision.

We don't have ours TB tested as they are a low risk herd in a low risk area. We don't have a cattle crush for Ruby, she is halter trained and stands quite well while having her feet trimmed or any other vet treatment.

If your cow is being raised for beef could it be a Hereford cross? Is she black with a white face?
 

hobo

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Moobli your pictures are stunning. You are also very lucky to be in a non TB area I did not even know there were areas that you do not need to test I thought it was at least every three years.
 

paddy555

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Our Ruby 🙂

We definitely need photos of “yours”.

View attachment 56703 View attachment 56704 View attachment 56705
now that is just plain mean. :D:D:D:D:D:D

bad enough having to look at the pic of Hobo's gorgeous girl and drool but now this. :)

I hate TB, I would soooooo love another cow. A South Devon.

you are so lucky to avoid TB testing Moobli. Ruby is beautiful. We have a herd of Highlands on the moorland just down the road from us. OH's horse wants to bring one home each time we ride through them , any one would do. He grew up with cattle and adores them.
 

laura_nash

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I have a small herd of 5 cows (2 cows and their 3 castrated male offspring) primarily to keep the grass short for my good doers. They are Dexters so much smaller than yours would probably be. Also the 2 cows are older (early teens) so pretty calm and know what they are doing when it comes to calving, but also not too easy to tame - they love a treat and will go anywhere for a rattling bucket but I don't think halter training would go well.

As others have said, the paperwork is a nightmare - especially the initial bit to get the herd number. Here in Ireland you need to have suitable handling facilities (a race / crush, and it can't be shared), indoor housing with a concrete floor in case of infectious disease and your fencing is inspected. Here you have to TB test annually, though the pass rate is good in my area so its more a hassle than too stressful.

The younger ones are pretty keen to mate, and will go through anything except strong electric fencing to get to a suitable partner. We were surprised by one of ours climbing over a wall and jumping a wire fence to try to get to a heifer in heat (when he was 6 months old and not yet castrated, she was about 3x his size) and the heifer was just as interested on her side. If you have any bulls around you would probably need electric all around.

Pics:





 
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paddy555

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Scotland has been officially TB free since 2009 which basically means that Scottish herds which are considered to be at lowest risk of contracting and spreading TB to be exempted from routine testing. We are very fortunate I know.
I didn't know that. Thanks
 

Cob Life

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I have a small herd of 5 cows (2 cows and their 3 castrated male offspring) primarily to keep the grass short for my good doers. They are Dexters so much smaller than yours would probably be. Also the 2 cows are older (early teens) so pretty calm and know what they are doing when it comes to calving, but also not too easy to tame - they love a treat and will go anywhere for a rattling bucket but I don't think halter training would go well.

As others have said, the paperwork is a nightmare - especially the initial bit to get the herd number. Here in Ireland you need to have suitable handling facilities (a race / crush, and it can't be shared), indoor housing with a concrete floor in case of infectious disease and your fencing is inspected. Here you have to TB test annually, though the pass rate is good in my area so its more a hassle than too stressful.

The younger ones are pretty keen to mate, and will go through anything except strong electric fencing to get to a suitable partner. We were surprised by one of ours climbing over a wall and jumping a wire fence to try to get to a heifer in heat (when he was 6 months old and not yet castrated, she was about 3x his size) and the heifer was just as interested on her side. If you have any bulls around you would probably need electric all around.

Pics:





They’re gorgeous! Our dexters were “halter trained” as in you could put a halter on, hold on and pray! Even the docile one who loved a cuddle wasn’t a huge fan of being on a halter (but you could generally keep hold of her), the other 4 you didn’t stand a chance keeping hold of them, 3 of them we had from claves so handled really young as well.
 

cornbrodolly

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Cant resist answering - I love my cows , and have 24 , none of which will end at an abbatoir. Essentially they are pets , even though they kind of pay for themselves with a beef calf every year.
I think its quite amusing that some of the disadvantages pointed out - big animals, poach fields , can be dangerous , are equally applicable to horses.
Pictured is 13 yr old 104879809_166504678192155_2337438911048285823_n.jpg Beyonce , the most tame cow ever , with grandchildren having turns sitting on her
 
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Cant resist answering - I love my cows , and have 24 , none of which will end at an abbatoir. Essentially they are pets , even though they kind of pay for themselves with a beef calf every year.
I think its quite amusing that some of the disadvantages pointed out - big animals, poach fields , can be dangerous , are equally applicable to horses.
Pictured is 13 yr old View attachment 56731 Beyonce , the most tame cow ever , with grandchildren having turns sitting on her
Aww that's lovely :)
 
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I have a small herd of 5 cows (2 cows and their 3 castrated male offspring) primarily to keep the grass short for my good doers. They are Dexters so much smaller than yours would probably be. Also the 2 cows are older (early teens) so pretty calm and know what they are doing when it comes to calving, but also not too easy to tame - they love a treat and will go anywhere for a rattling bucket but I don't think halter training would go well.

As others have said, the paperwork is a nightmare - especially the initial bit to get the herd number. Here in Ireland you need to have suitable handling facilities (a race / crush, and it can't be shared), indoor housing with a concrete floor in case of infectious disease and your fencing is inspected. Here you have to TB test annually, though the pass rate is good in my area so its more a hassle than too stressful.

The younger ones are pretty keen to mate, and will go through anything except strong electric fencing to get to a suitable partner. We were surprised by one of ours climbing over a wall and jumping a wire fence to try to get to a heifer in heat (when he was 6 months old and not yet castrated, she was about 3x his size) and the heifer was just as interested on her side. If you have any bulls around you would probably need electric all around.

Pics:





I like that we're posting pictures of our cows instead of horses for a change :D The black calf has a lovely curious expression.
 
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