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Old 05-08-2011, 12:18 AM
 
Location: Holiday, FL
1,577 posts, read 1,760,663 times
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As to the concerns about the smell... Which way does the wind normally blow? From the house to the pasture or from the pasture to the house? And, if there aren't a lot of cows grazing there, you won't have much of a problem. If you don't feed them at the fence, they will have little reason to hang around there, normally. If you choose to give them some tidbits that they enjoy, you're bringing them on, and they'll look for more. Every time you mow the lawn, you'll have them hanging at the fence. Every hear the old saying? "Feed a stray dog and it will never go away." If you want a close relationship with them, feed them some corn just over the fence. if you don't, ignore them, and they'll pretty much do the same with you.
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:08 AM
 
3,806 posts, read 5,277,709 times
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If a university keeps cows it is probably for one of two things. First is teaching purposes for a vet school or undergrand classes in AI and the like. If that's the case you're probably not going to notice any real change in the number of cows. Second is research. In that case the numbers may fluctuate, but it is unlikely they're ever going to study something that would cause them to cram the pasture with massive numbers of cows. In either case you can call the university, and whoever is running the research station would probably love to tell you what they're doing and what their plans are.

The smells of cows have never bothered me. Truth is I can't smell them, or at least if I do I don't notice it as a distinct smell. I think you're biggest concern in regards to this is to just make sure they don't have plans to start piling all the manure by your house.
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:20 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,536,302 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macrina View Post
I'm lovin' this thread Is there such as thing as a sentinel or alpha cow? I'm referring to the pecking order or hierarchy which the creatures work out among themselves. I know horses do this, even if there are just two of them. So I wonder if cows do this. And the bulls....well, I know they're kept from the cows, but are several bulls kept together? And does one particular one become the sentinel bull?
Absolutely, cows do this. We bought 2 cows and a bull to start our little herd. The bull was barely a year old, one of the cows was 5, the other 2 years old. The 5-year-old was the "boss cow"; she enforced the sleeping order (barn, corral, pasture) and would herd everyone, even the bull. Our bull, 2 years later, is in charge of nothing, and he knows it. He is a very respectful bull (except for mating season). We have a 10 year old horse who leaves them alone - most of the time. She will herd them toward the barn when a storm is coming or if she smells/hears coyotes, though... sometimes she herds them back and forth just for fun! She doesn't do it when they have the little calves, though.

My friends and neighbors only keep a very few bulls for breeding; most are sold or steered. The bulls are kept separate from the cows except for breeding time. From what I have seen, unless there is a female around, most bulls don't really care about anyone or anything other than the grazing and water. Steers kept with bulls to graze get pushed around some, but don't seem to care; they are usually kept with the cows.
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Minnysoda
8,831 posts, read 8,710,583 times
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While I applaud the OP's quest to better understand the bovine mentality. I find the thread line to somewhat misleading. Cattle, cows, beef, whatever you want to call them are not cutesy critters kept for pets! They are food production animals they will either be eaten or produce a product that will be eaten by humans. The are often unpredictable, they can hurt you! I would caution the Op not to make friends with his neighbors cattle! Don't feed them! Don't talk to them, just leave them alone. If you want to enjoy them, do it from afar or from your plate!!!! Enjoy you new environment I applaud your change in living style but I would suggest that you change to fit it rather than changing it to fit you....You'll get along better with your neighbors better this way!!!
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:16 AM
 
Location: North of the border!
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You shouldn't have any problems with smells coming from them. However in warm weather they do attract a lot of flies. If the whole herd should happen to be up at your fence on a ripe July day you will notice that some of the flies will find you as well. Rare but it happens.
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:24 AM
 
99 posts, read 481,426 times
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I have 300 head, and live downwind of a dairy feedlot that is 2500 at capacity, and I don't notice any bad smells.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_windwalker View Post
If you want a close relationship with them, feed them some corn just over the fence. if you don't, ignore them, and they'll pretty much do the same with you.
Do NOT do this. They are not your cows. If I walked into your yard and fed your kids candy, would that be ok with you? NO! They are the school's property you shouldn't go anywhere near them without permission.
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,487 posts, read 38,399,828 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowtown2snowdog View Post
I have 300 head, and live downwind of a dairy feedlot that is 2500 at capacity, and I don't notice any bad smells.



Do NOT do this. They are not your cows. If I walked into your yard and fed your kids candy, would that be ok with you? NO! They are the school's property you shouldn't go anywhere near them without permission.
While my cows are my friends (small herd, just like the horses, they each have their own personality and are as predictable/unpredictable as horses - or people, for that matter - are, just big), I do have to agree with the last part. Especially if it's a university herd that might be part of teaching or research, because feeding them something not on their diet could wreak havoc with either of those. Plus, people will feed horses, say, all sorts of things, some of which can cause problems bad enough to kill them - I can't see them being any more aware about cows and what they should and should not eat.

Don't go wandering in the pasture without prior permission - it's the university's property and, ultimately , the university's liability if you should get hurt.

Our bull, and our neighbors' bulls, aren't kept isolated from the cows, by the way . (Nor do I keep our stallion isolated from other equines - when he must be away from the mares, he has the donkey girls; I'm firmly convinced that 99% of the problems that people have with "dangerous stallions" is that they insist on keeping a herd animal isolated and that WILL make them crazy.) Each herd has its own bull who lives with the cows and babysits the calves. The bulls may change - one neighbor rotates his senior and junior bulls between the herd next to us and his other herd on a different property each year - but there is always a herd bull with the herd. Again, makes for saner herd animals when you acknowledge that, yes, it's a herd animal and they are hardwired to know that a lone herd animal is a dead herd animal.
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:34 PM
 
5 posts, read 28,127 times
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Thanks again for the continued comments/insight. I ended up putting an offer in on the house the was accepted- yipee! Decided just to go for it as I love the house, the location is only 5 minutes from work and from what the locals say, they keep the numbers in that herd constant as there is a separate university dairy farm on the other side of town.

Just wanted to add that I never had any intention of touching/feeding the cows and will admire them from afar. As I like to do a lot of things outside (gardening, reading, etc.), I'm sure the cows and I will be seeing a lot of each other... and I'm perfectly contented to "get to know them" from a distance. It seems like it will be nice having them around!

Thank you again for all of the help!
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:07 PM
 
281 posts, read 398,044 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my54ford View Post
While I applaud the OP's quest to better understand the bovine mentality. I find the thread line to somewhat misleading. Cattle, cows, beef, whatever you want to call them are not cutesy critters kept for pets! They are food production animals they will either be eaten or produce a product that will be eaten by humans. The are often unpredictable, they can hurt you! I would caution the Op not to make friends with his neighbors cattle! Don't feed them! Don't talk to them, just leave them alone. If you want to enjoy them, do it from afar or from your plate!!!! Enjoy you new environment I applaud your change in living style but I would suggest that you change to fit it rather than changing it to fit you....You'll get along better with your neighbors better this way!!!
What a complete load of rubbish and a twisted view of animals to boot. Maybe not everyone sees animals as a product for people to use and eat? Several of my neighbours have or had cows and they're the most gentle animals I've ever seen.
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,487 posts, read 38,399,828 times
Reputation: 23066
We raise our own meat. From birth to death, they get grass, hay, enough cubes to make sure they come up to be checked daily (just like the horses, in fact), the occasional beer and backup, the companionship of their herd. They have names. (Now, granted, a steer's name may be Ribeye or Steak, but still they have names.) I feel it's the least I owe them. Yes, they fill their place on the food chain, as do I, but that's a far different thing than the attitude expressed that they are merely "food production animals".
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