Walking through Cattle?

Q. This is not Foot and Mouth related but when is it not safe to walk through cattle?

Are there any guidelines we should follow?

We encounter fields of cattle - quite often with bulls - regularly and would like some advice.

Many thanks

Charlotte Overton, Buckinghamshire



A. We all love to walk and occasionally in our enthusiasm to do so we forget that FARM LIVSTOCK is a great danger particularly COWS with young CALVES who are grazing on footpaths my advice would be where possible find a alternative route if not follow the outer perimeter of the field giving you an escape route and never pass between a cow and her calf People walking with DOGS and families with SMALL CHILDREN would be well advised to definitely find a different route as cows with calves see them as a threat to there young. To cows small children may as I have found be thought to be dogs perhaps by there quick movements noise or excitement which draws attention to them and makes it unsafe . Cows that are suckling calves wants to protect there baby and may become aggressive. Just as we want to protect ours A bull will often be with the cows and calves but in my experience I have only ever been bothered by over protective mums Stay safe enjoy your walking but if cows and calves are near stear clear

Gangan Walker, Derbyshire


A. Cows with their calves can be very defensive especially if you have a dog. You will probably interpret the defensive stance as aggressive behaviour. They see the dog as a threat to their youngsters. The degree varies widely with individual cows. I have one cow that will protect her calf against anyone/thing until it is over a year old. Bullocks can be tricky. They are usually boisterous and playful rather than aggressive, but a boisterous animal that weighs 400 kg is a real problem. There are several breeds that are not covered by the countryside act, many of them "continental breeds". Limousins can be unpredictable and actually aggressive. The general rule is keep a sharp look out when you are around cattle, and in preference, don't go through a field of cattle if you have a dog.

David Williams, Warwick


A. Can a farmer keep a bull in a field crossed by a public path? A bull of up to ten months old, yes. Bulls over ten months of a recognised dairy breed (Ayrshire, British Friesian, British Holstein, Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey, Jersey and Kerry) are banned from fields crossed by public paths under all circumstances.

All other bulls over ten months are banned unless accompanied by cows or heifers.

If any bulls act in a way which endangers the public, an offence may be committed under health and safety legislation and you should report it the police and the Ramblers Association.

Derek Cosslett, Llandrindod Wells

It is best not to take dogs into fields containing cows with young calves.

Stallions, boars and cows with calves should all be treated with caution.

Mike (Editor)


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