Meet the Neighbors

Xena's Cow Friend in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Xena’s Cow Friend (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

I don’t know a lot about cows, but when it comes to “neighbors”, I really couldn’t ask for better.  Yes, they are a little noisy at inopportune times (mooing for their meals or calling to children) and they attract more than a fair share of flies.  And they do break through the fences every now and again to graze and commune with the horses.  But, other than that, they’re pretty decent residents.

Each May, the farmers drop the cows in the adjacent fields and they stay in these pastures until January.  Evidently, grazing provides the necessary nutrients, because by October (into November) many of the females start having babies.  I believe the gestation period is about 280 days, so that means they have been bred in January or February.  Anyway, the births of the baby calves is a treat for me, my family, and my dogs.  We all adore the cows and babies.  Watching the male and female calves romp about just days after they were born is a sight to see.  They are quite playful, chasing each other around and causing a ruckus.  Very brazen; when I walk through the fields they run up to me and try to intimidate me (usually this is the young males-which are determined by a long hairy tassel that hangs mid belly).  At first I was frightened of being trampled, but then I realized if I took a confident step forward they would back away.

The Neighbors in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Our Bovine Neighbors (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

The cows and calves come in all colors; black, black with white markings, reddish brown, reddish brown with white markings, creamy tan and white.  They are a very family like herd, all stay closer together and watch over each other’s babies.  I have often seen calves near other mothers, I wonder if they watch each other’s babies so they can get a brief respite.  When a coyote was watching from the edge of the forest, the cows remained close and very protective.  I have seen them join together and chase after stray dogs that have wandered near the calves.

Over the years, the herd has gotten to know me and my dogs, as we walk through their pastures almost every day (for exercise).  I have witnessed many babies grow up to be mothers, and I know that most of the male calves don’t come back the following year.  The bulls that are in the field, a few young and one older, are all watchful, but have never tried to harm me.  I use caution and do not approach them, get too close, or come between them and their herd.  What has been such a surprise during this whole experience is that their curious nature has resulted in a friendship of sorts between the cows and my dogs.

Cows & Horses Hanging Out in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Cows & Horses Hanging Out (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Whenever we’re out in the field, or in our pasture near the fence, they will slowly approach and then hang out expressing a sincere interest in getting to know us better.  When the dogs allow it (they’re a little intimidated, even though they each weigh 180 lbs) the cows will come right up and comfortably sniff-and to my astonishment-stretch out their tongues and lick the dogs.  The other day, Xena stood at the fence getting licked and returned the favor, sweetly licking the wet noses of several baby calves.  Where was my camera?

With all the tragedy and sadness we find around us these days; sometimes the most beautiful, precious things we can experience are as close-by as a neighbor.

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Comments

  1. How very interesting! Sometimes I wished I lived in a more rural area. Someday maybe I will.

    So tell me because I can’t quite tell from the picture-what kind of dogs do you have that weigh 180 pounds?

    • Hi Sue: I have Great Danes. The two I have now are sisters and the black and white coloring is called mantle. I’ve always had Danes, which is one of the reasons my husband limits my animals by weight limit rather than quantity! Thanks for writing! I always enjoy hearing from my readers~Kathy

  2. Dina Ferrante says:

    Kathy, I got a kick out of this because we too live next door to cows. In fact, the first time we spoke on the phone they were mooing so loudly that I had to close all the windows! One time I saw a calf minutes after her birth. They are sweet creatures. Keep ’em coming!

    • Thank you, Dina. It’s true that sometimes the most wonderful opportunities are waiting (literally) right outside our doors! You keep reading and I’ll keep writing~Kathy

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