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Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls


Postby boony » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:51 pm

Hi all

tl;dr cows - wtf!

I'm relatively new to hillwalking, and recently had a bit of a scare when some cows (maybe a group of young bulls) came jogging towards me. It was a legit waymarked walking path, and I was about halfway into the field when I noticed they were a little less docile than other cows I've walked past, they started to walk towards me, then the fekkers started jogging right at me, they didn't seem aggressive, maybe just overly exited / interested, I went into a fight or fright mode, and realising at the speed the cattle was going I wouldn't make it to either gate so I jjumped the fence, and, you guessed it, electric fence! (Otherwise I might have been posting here casually asking what its like to touch one of them there electric fences :lol: Now I know, first hand :shock: ) (That emoji is called *shock* btw :lol: How the heck are those fences even legal anyways? and while were on the subject - Barbed Frickin Wire! wtf? seriously, wtf is that about?

So, to the point of the thread, I've read some 'dealing with livestock' tips on blogs and stuff, and it all seems pretty logical, but I'm wondering if any of you have any tips, or even some stories of scary moments you've had with livestock, and mainly, what would you yourself do if around a dozen cows came jogging directly towards you?
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby Gordie12 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:32 am

It's only when you are close to a cow moving at speed that you appreciate how big and powerful they are. The vast majority are fairly calm and either disinterested in you or the younger ones can be mildly curious (in an unthreatening way).

Over the years I've had a number of encounters with cows (possibly could have phrased that better) and up until June they didn't bother me but I had a scary experience in the Borders during a long distance walk. I entered my last field of the day and approx. 40 cows took off (away from me) over the brow of a hill. Then I heard them running back towards me and in a large group they headed straight for me. Past experience has taught me that they don't seem to like eye contact so I stood my ground and as expected they reared up once they got within about twenty yards. That is to say all but one that was much braver and was prepared to come right up to me. This was a long field and the cows kept running away and then turning and charging at me several times, each time getting closer. The ring leader kept going behind me and charging and I had to keep turning round to face it and it would then start kicking out with it's back legs and getting really agitated. At one point they had me surrounded and they were in touching distance as I plotted a way through them.

In all the chaos I hadn't noticed the bull in the midst of the cows but it didn't seem that bothered. After about ten minutes I got to within 50 yards of a stile and then I legged it and on turning round, there they all were right up beside me against the wall.

As I say, a number of encounters in the past but this was the 1st time I had experienced anything like this. So all I can say is that they don't seem to like eye contact and industrial language just winds them up.

I should add I was walking alone, not sure what state they would have been in if I'd had a dog with me.

The experience hasn't left me petrified of cows, I haven't changed anything I do, but I do have a very healthy respect for them and fully appreciate their power.
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby Caberfeidh » Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:19 am

Fried, with a dab of mustard. Maybe some cauliflower cheese to add a bit of variety.
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby Sack the Juggler » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:27 am

Mostly they move out of the way, but a few years ago we had a similar experience.

Crossing a few fields and over the last stile we frightened some young bullocks, and the herd took off to the far corner of the field to watch us.

As we crossed the field they started moving towards us, in curiosity more than anything I think, but the ones at the back were trying to see us so moved around the crowd and that caused the herd to pick up its pace, and by the time they were half way across they were going at a good lick.

Luckily there was an old bull in the field too, absolutely massive thing it was, so we walked over to him, and the herd backed off (away from him rather than us), and we took the chance to make it over to the stile at the other side of the field, and of course the curious bullocks followed us and almost caught us by the time we got to the stile.

Then we noticed that then next field was full of bullocks too.... :roll:
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby Border Reiver » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:54 pm

We always spend a few minutes watching cattle that are in our path to see how they are behaving, are they agitated or settled? A number of farmers have told us that the worst thing you can do is run or move quickly. They say if you have to pass through the field with cattle in, walk around the edge and walk slowly, or if the cattle are agitated or spooked by a dog, go a different way altogether. Animals tend to know when humans are nervous as well. We never enter a field that has cows with young calves in, they are VERY protective of their babies. I don't have a problem with electric fences, they are easy to spot, with rubber insulaters on each fence post and are very good for containing cattle, far better than barbed wire.
On the WHW near Crianlarich we came across a herd of cows standing right at a gate. They were completely blocking our path. They looked at us with disinterest so I just went in among them, pushing them out of the way with my shoulders and they move just enough to let us both past. A couple of years ago we saw a large Highland cow spooked by a dog walker and it lierally just ran straight through a wire fence and headed towards us. We were in open ground and just stood absoloutely still and it ran straight past us. The guy with the dog told us that the pevious year he and his greyhound had been surrounded by cattle and he had let the dog go so it would run off with the cows in pursuit. Unfortunately the daft dog had stayed with it's master and had been severy injured by the cows (£400 vets bill). The dog's owner wasn't atacked and was uninjured.
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby Lightfoot2017 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:39 pm

I was harassed by a herd (c.20 or so) of coos when I was up Glen Auch last weekend bagging Beinn Mhanach. They were walking on the track coming from the direction I was heading. It was a bit of a tense stand off to see who'd blink first. :shock:

Luckily I had my poles out. A firm poke in the hind quarters of one of the beasties let them know who was Boss. 8) They soon scampered.
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby mynthdd2 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:19 pm

had a stag blocking my path in Glen Affric......
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:38 pm

Worst time we had with bovines was on Jura, where daddy bull was walking with his flock along the track and made it very clear we were not welcome, standing his ground and letting out the most thunderous bellow while fixing us with a glare. There wasn’t a great deal of room to squeeze by either.

Dogs can really set a herd off, especially if there are calves around with their mothers,
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby Sgurr » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:49 pm

Years ago in Wales we met a horse.It spotted us and started trotting towards us. It kept disappearing and reappearing in the folds of the land, seeming to speed up as it did so. Finally it trotted right up to us and reared up, so R said, in a quavering voice "Er, hello horse!" At which it harrumphed at us. Then it decided we weren't so interesting after all and trotted off. When we passed the next farm about a couple of miles away, a woman came out and said "Have you seen my horse? he's out there somewhere. " When we said we had she said "I haven't seen him for nearly a year now, I was wondering how he was. Does he look well? " (Imagine this all in a Welsh accent.) We said he looked far too well for our liking and left her looking as if she thought we must be mad.

Out of earshot we had a long discussion about how someone could possibly claim to OWN a horse if she hadn't seen it for nearly a year, and if we could have sued if it had kicked us to pieces.


So all that I can say is that it seemed terrifying, but seemed less so when we spoke to it. But we only have a sample of one.

Friend was trampled by a cow when she took her dog and inadvertently got between it and the calf. Dog set off with lead dangling, and she searched and searched, only finding it when she returned the next day with its lead snagged in a fence. Advice is (I think) to let the dog off the lead at first sign of trouble, they will go for it rather than you and it can run faster than you or them.
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby Caberfeidh » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:21 am

This reminds me of another thread which could do with repeating.... https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=103&p=13298&hilit=+white+horse#p13298
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby rodderss » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:10 pm

i was out walking with the dog last year who was on the lead,crossing a field with cows at the far side a fair bit away.about half way across the field they clocked us and started running towards us.We upped the pace a bit without running and they kept on coming .I realised that there was no way I was reaching the fence before they reached us, cows now about 40 metres away and still charging. I thought best thing was to let the dog of the lead and take off to the fence.

Well my dog started running toward the cows which had the effect of the cows turning tale and her in pursuit of them(by this time I was bravely over the fence)

She chased them to the end of the field when the cows decided enough was enough and reversed the roles now chasing my dog who must of been running out of steam as half way back across the field she ended up in the middle of them.

Now nearly back at my side of the field the cows slowed and my dog came running out in front of them over to me at the fence.I really though she was trampled .not a good feeling at all.

Won't let my dog off the lead in a field of cows again. I won't go hillwalking if I have any inkling that there are cattle around..
In hindsight like a scene from a comedy sketch but not at all good at the time.

Anybody have any experience of dogs and reindeer as thinking about the Cromdale grahams but unsure if it's suitable with a dog due to the reindeer.
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby KatTai » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:21 pm

rodderss wrote:i was out walking with the dog last year who was on the lead,crossing a field with cows at the far side a fair bit away.about half way across the field they clocked us and started running towards us.We upped the pace a bit without running and they kept on coming .I realised that there was no way I was reaching the fence before they reached us, cows now about 40 metres away and still charging. I thought best thing was to let the dog of the lead and take off to the fence.

Well my dog started running toward the cows which had the effect of the cows turning tale and her in pursuit of them(by this time I was bravely over the fence)

She chased them to the end of the field when the cows decided enough was enough and reversed the roles now chasing my dog who must of been running out of steam as half way back across the field she ended up in the middle of them.

Now nearly back at my side of the field the cows slowed and my dog came running out in front of them over to me at the fence.I really though she was trampled .not a good feeling at all.

Won't let my dog off the lead in a field of cows again. I won't go hillwalking if I have any inkling that there are cattle around..
In hindsight like a scene from a comedy sketch but not at all good at the time.

Anybody have any experience of dogs and reindeer as thinking about the Cromdale grahams but unsure if it's suitable with a dog due to the reindeer.


I usually avoid cattle with my dogs as well and read trip reports to see if there are likely to be cows on route, if there are then it is a no-go. From what I've been told at the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre the reindeer will avoid dogs so you should be fine walking there.
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby Glengavel » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:20 am

Horses can be pretty quiet animals - a few years back on holiday in the Cotswolds, we were out walking and stopped to perch on a wall, and I was snacking on an apple. After a few minutes I felt a presence, turned and there was a bloody horse's head (and the rest) right next to me looking over the wall. I yelped and jumped a few feet, setting off Lady G who isn't happy around animals at the best of times. I fed the horse the apple core and we fled the scene.
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby rodderss » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:04 am

Thanks KatTai.will get the Cromdales done.
Same , scour trip reports before deciding on hill.

Took me 3 years to get Corryhabbie Hill done.every time I went there were cows in the starting field.Finally got it done this year cow free.The sheep were another story though.
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Re: Livestock, Your Tips and Advice Pls

Postby Sgurr » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:25 pm

Not sure you will be 100% safe with the reindeer even if you leave the dog behind

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/6252306/Woman-attacked-by-6ft-reindeer.html
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