Cattle Go Out To Graze

This week the cattle have left the fold yard and have gone out to graze, no more silage and fodder beet for them but lovely green grass to eat!

The cattle first went out onThursday and came in at night for the first two nights as we had a cow to inject with antibiotics due to a lump on face.

On Saturday the cattle were let out and they have stayed out all night, although I don’t think they have enjoyed the rain!

Here are a few photos of the cattle waiting to come out and then being let out and walking to the field.

The Charolais Bull and Cows waiting to go out to grass.

The Charolais Bull and Cows waiting to go out to grass.

Gates open and cows and calves head out to the field.

Gates open and cows and calves head out to the field.

A leisurely walk to the field.

A leisurely walk to the field.

The cows and calves nearly at the back field.

The cows and calves nearly at the back field.

The cattle enjoying the sunshine and laying around the field.

The cattle enjoying the sunshine and laying around the field.

Cow and calf chewing the cud!

Cow and calf chewing the cud!

Do you keep cattle and have yours gone out to grass or are they cattle that stay out all year?

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When Do Farmers Prefer Their Cows To Calve?

When do farmer’s prefer their cows to calve? We prefer to calve our herd of beef cattle cows after the end of February and through Spring.

Dear Sara, I am conducting some research and wonder if you might be able to help. Can you tell me when do farmers generally prefer their cows to calf and are there any circumstances that you might be able to suggest as to why a cow would calve in July e.g. premature birth etc. I know this might seem a strange enquiry so I apologise. Many thanks Chris

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your enquiry on the farmingfriends website. My husband is the cattle expert and I have asked him his opinion.

He says that they prefer to calve their beef cattle cows after end of Feb and in Spring as they are less susceptible to pneumonia. The disadvantage of a calf being born in Spring is that when the cows/calves go out to grass the calf will still be suckling milk from the mother and not utilising fully the grass.

If a calf is born in the Autumn/Winter then they can utilise the grass when they go out in late Spring/Summer. The disadvantage of calving in early winter is the calf is growing when the weather is cold and wet and so more susceptible to pneumonia.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions related to this.

Kind regards

Sara @ farmingfriends

Let me know your views on the preferred time for calving cows.

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What To Do When Walking In A Field With Cattle

The recent tragic event of the vet who was killed by a herd of cows whilst walking her dogs and the injuries sustained by David Blunkett as he walked his dog, highlight the need for a greater awareness of what to do when walking in a field of cattle especially when you have a dog.

I was listening to the Radio 4 Farming Today podcast the other day and they advised that if you encounter cattle whilst walking:

  • try to walk near to a hedge or fence so that you can get close into the hedge if need be.
  • don’t run as the cattle are likely to start running as well and they can run fast.
  • stay calm so as not to spook the animals.
  • stay quiet.
  • keep any dogs on a lead so you can control the dogs.

However, lets just clarify the situation when walking with a dog.    It is sensible to keep the dog on the lead whilst walking through the field, as the herd may be dispersed across the field and you can keep the dog under control and away from the cows.  The problem occurs if a cow sees the dog and reacts to the threat of the dog.  One of the first signs that a cow is becoming agitated is that it will lift its head up and look alert.  It may then start to nod its head.  Nodding of the head is a sign of aggression and it is advisable to slowly retreat from the cow, watching it all the time.  It is recommended to release your dog from its lead if there is a danger of the cow attacking.  The cow is most likely to feel threatened by the dog (rather than you) so releasing the dog will separate you from the dog.  Most dogs can run much faster than a cow and you can try to distance yourself from the dog.  If a cow starts to nod its head and come towards you then it is likely to be already in very close proximity to you (probably less than 10 metres) and so you will not have much time to take action (probably less than 2 seconds ).

People  often feel in danger from a herd of cows when walking across a field and the cows start to follow them.  The faster the person walks/runs, the faster the cattle will chase behind.  Attacks tend to be from a single cow that has become aggressive and not from a whole herd of cows.  If a whole group are trotting behind you then it is likely to be inquisitiveness.  In this situation the only danger is if one of the animals inadvertantly kicks as they pass by or gets over excited as they trot up to you.  Just turn around, jump up in the air, wave your arms in a star-jump style and shout at the herd.  This will stop them from running towards you and temporarily disperse the group of cattle.  Then slowly walk towards the closest hedge or boundary feature where you can safely get out of the way.

I mentioned that cows can kick.  In fact they can kick very hard, but it is usually only when they are frisking and frollocking about and are excited.  They kick with their rear legs and kick out sideways, up to a height of about 1.8 metres.  They tend to kick as they run past a person and sort of twist their bodies around.  If you imagine a cow running past you and then pivoting on their front legs and kicking out sideways then you will realise that they can kick out some distance (2-3 metres).  So if one runs past you, try and keep a good distance away from it.

We keep cattle on our farm and as I have not been brought up with close access to cattle, although I think they are beautiful creatures and on the hole docile and placid animals, I am still wary of them as they are such big creatures and all animals including humans, can behave unpredictably.

If I have to go into any of our fields with cattle in, then I always make sure I know where the cattle are and where I can get out of the field if I need to. As I move about the field I make sure that I always have one eye on the herd’s location  so that I can keep a check of their movements and behaviour.

It is always a good idea to check if the cattle are grazing with a bull and to be aware of where the bull is. If a cow is in season and the bull wants to mate with the cow then the bull and possibly other cows will be trying to mount each other and cattle leaping up into the air can be an added danger that you need to be vigilant of.

It is usually cows with new born calves that are aggressive/protective. The cows instinct is to protect the  calf at all costs and an unknown human and a dog are seen as a threat to the calf. Even when the calves are growing and are more than a week old, it is important not to get in between the cow and a calf as the cow will still be protective towards her calf and doesn’t like to be separated from the calf.

The North York Moors National Park has a leaflet giving advice about walking with dogs on the North York Moors which you may find useful.

Calves Born On The Farm

This morning at about 6.00am a Charolais heifer calf was born to Number 28 Charolais cow. Then this afternoon a Limousin cross bull calf was born to a Limousin Cross cow.

Here is a video of the cows and calves.

The Charolais calf is suckling after about 4 hours and the mother is very protective and won’t let the farmer get close to the calf so the calf’s navel can’t be sprayed.

The Limousin calf was standing and suckling after about half an hour and the farmer was able to spray the navel with Alymacin spray to protect the calf from infection.

Farming Life Video Diary – Suckler Cows And Calves

At this time of year the suckler cows and calves are put out to grass in a field with an electric fence so that the cattle do not escape from the field. The calves were born in the fold yard and are not used to the electric fence so we placed an electric fence in the fold yard for a few days to train the calves not to touch the electric fence when they are placed in the field.


We also bought two cows and their calves last week. They were placed in the field and not in the fold yard so that the cattle did not fight with the new cows. When the cattle are placed in the field they usually don’t fight as there is enough space for them to mix well together.

Watch the video clip of the suckler cows and calves.

I hope that you enjoyed watching the farming life video diary of our suckler cows and calves.