Can bullocks act aggressively when in a group

Q. My husband and I went for a walk along a footpath and encountered a group of bullocks. As we walked near to them they all looked at us and then came walking towards us in a group which felt very threatening. i actually ran like mad to the next field, but my husband was calmer and walked away slowly. All the bullocks walked behind him some in a group and some in single file. Even when he got to the next field they continued to walk along the hedgeway following us, and one bullock actually got through causing us both at this stage to leg it to the next field ! I found the whole experience very frightening and feel they were very intimidating. We didnt have a dog with us and would like to ask if this is usual behaviour for these animals. Please help

Sandra Gasser, Rugby, Warwickshire


A. Bullocks may playfully mount each other, so never turn your back on them, or you may have 300 kilos of beef on your back. They are easily driven off by anybody advancing and waving a stick

Iain Crawford, Monmouth


A. This is really the same question. This week on a designated foootpath came upon a herd of bullocks. I know they are curious but they are so much bigger than me. I started walking at the edge of the field furthest away, but they started to canter towards me. My feeling was that the ones at the back might just keep pushing and then I'd be knocked over and trampled. Also feel they connect humans with food and I did not have any for them. In the end I retreated and then had to climb through a barbed wire fence, force myself through 6ft of rushes, across a, luckily, negotiable stream, more rushes and barbed wire to get to a safe place to walk. But could I have risked the cattle?

Vivienne Cox, London


A. Bullocks are curious and not usually aggressive. But some breeds such as Limousins can be aggressive. Bullocks in a group are often playful but being such large animals, their idea of play is often not fun to people. They will often walk in a single file across a field. You can usually see the narrow tracks that they use. Running is probably the worst thing you can do, as it gets them excited and the situation can deteriorate quickly. Its probably best to walk calmly across the field, keeping track of what they are doing and maybe even talking to them. They do respond to calm voices.

David Williams, Warwick


A. Bullocks are certainly very curious. When I was young we lived close to a meadow that often had bullocks in. My young sister (at maybe 7 or 8) would go and sit in the meadow. The bullocks would gather round her in a circle, just looking. Then she would jump up and they would scatter. My mother, watching this odd bovine behaviour and not realising at first that her little daughter was in the centre, was very alarmed. My sister was unconcerned. I've never felt so laid-back in the presence of these large animals, but I'm sure they don't easily become aggressive.

Peter Armstrong, Sheffield


A. We entered a field on a public footpath. A herd of bullocks which was on the other side of a wall in a lower field to our right started to gallop in the same direction we were walking but in the lower field. The wall ran out and we found that the herd had gathered directly ahead of us. When my friend waved his arms and shouted one started to buck and two (leaders?) faced us down. As we walked away they followed us closely. We felt uncomfortable and climbed over a convenient fence. Was this a dangerous situation?

Peter French, Carlisle


A. In my experience, this behaviour doesn't sound particularly unusual. Bullocks are young and curious. The are often large and can appear intimidating but are not usually aggressive.

Cows and Bulls however can be a different matter. See Walking & Hiking Questions & Answers about Bulls, Cows & Cattle.

Also read the cow and bull related tales in the Your Stories section of The Bunkhouse for some fellow walker experiences.

Hope this helps . . .

Mike (Editor)


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