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Old 05-06-2011, 09:58 AM
 
5 posts, read 28,127 times
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Hello!

Disclaimer: I am naive about all things related to cows/other farm animals and pretty much all things outside of city life... so your input would be greatly appreciated!

I've lived in/near a large metropolitan area for my whole life, and am about to move to a smaller town (ok, not "small" by definition, but small for me!)town for work. I found a house on the top of a hill in a small, new development that I'm looking at buying, which backs up to a university-owned agricultural farm. The part of the farm that's immediately behind the house seems to be about 100 acres+ and contains about 10-20 very friendly, free-range cows/baby cows roaming the land. I personally really liked the cows and when I was house hunting last month, I didn't notice any kind of smell whatsoever. I mean, there were really only a handful of them and they had so much land to wander...I think the only reason they were right at the fence behind the houses was because maybe they liked the action that was going on over there, perhaps more exciting than events on the rest of the pasture?

I'm wondering if I should be concerned about any kind of cow smell coming from this small number of animals, that could perhaps show up later like July-August? It wouldn't bother me personally, but I will be at this job for 5 years and then will need to relocate and thus resell, and will want to do so as smoothly as possible.

I don't know if the university has plans for adding any more cows/animals, but it's definitely not a dairy/cattle farm set-up they have there, just a few free-range animals on a bunch of land.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Finally made it to Florida and lovin' every minute!
22,677 posts, read 17,261,069 times
Reputation: 17533
Oh, I miss rural living!

I lived in a location similar to yours; our property bordered a farm. The owner kept the dry cows (those not producing milk) behind our house and his milkers across the road. The fence was about 25 feet behind our place. It never failed that, whenever we had a dinner party and ate in the dining room facing the field that one of the "ladies" would let loose and make a stinker right in the middle of dinner. Maybe she somehow knew we had roasted one of her cousins. I don't know.

For the most part, the smell didn't bother us, but we were not from "the city". The only time it would get bad is when he spread the liquid manure.

I wish I could help you with your quandry, but it's something that either bothers you or doesn't. And I don't know how often he keeps his cows out there. Me?? I'd take the house in a heartbeat.

Best of luck.
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Old 05-06-2011, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,536,302 times
Reputation: 9580
LOL this is too cute! I'm loving this!
OK, first off, baby cows are called 'calves'. The girls are 'heifers' the boys are 'bulls' - unless they have their cojones removed, then they are 'steers'. I tell you this so that, if in conversation, you'll sound like you know.

Baby calves grow up to be cows, bulls, or steers, and the bulls and heifers can start breeding after they are one year old. (Some do it sooner but it isn't healthy if they do.) They will be at least as big as their parents. If they are not sold off they will become a large family. They like to scratch themselves on fenceposts, and sometimes they can knock them down. Sometimes calves can scoot under barbed wire; but they almost always scoot back to mama when she moos. So if you see cows in your yard, check the fencing first. It is unlikely they will have bulls in with the cows and calves Bulls are usually aggressive and can be dangerous, plus most responsible breeders only breed at certain times of the year.

So if the fencing is poor, or gets broken, or even gets a high snowbank over it in the winter, the 'girls' 'may' end up in your backyard munching. They will gaze at you if you try to move or 'shoo' them... the word 'inscrutable' in the dictionary has a picture of a cow next to it. (I'm kidding about the dictionary. ) Otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much about them. Free-range cattle move - sometimes in midsummer you can see that they follow regular paths that they forged. IF their moos wake you up at night, it means something is wrong - again, not likely. Mostly you won't notice them - however, when DH was fixing one of our fences, he looked up to see about 30 of the neighbors' momcows and calves standing quietly around him in a half-circle, silently watching him! They had crept up while he worked... not dangerous or threatening, just curious. You might have the same experience if you are out sunbathing or working in your yard. Ours follow us around like puppies, even when we are on the 4-wheeler. One cow often 'babysits' for the other cows; you might see one with as many as 6-10 calves around her while the rest go off to graze or run little cow-errands. Loud noises bother them; fireworks, large machinery, or sudden loud noises can cause them to RUN in a panic.

It is likely that the university keeps them to teach students about things like calf care, artificial insemination, etc. In which case, they probably will keep the herd to a responsible minimum.

If you like to garden, rotted and composted cow manure is the BEST for building up your soil. If you can get it from next door (with the university's permission) you'll save a bundle, and your flowers will be gorgeous!

We like our cattle. They serve as alarms when someone comes into the driveway, like to be scratched, especially down the center of their backs, and are a tight-knit little family. We call the smell of manure the smell of money! But we have a herd of 7 on 60 acres, so the only smell comes from the corral... in the winter, when they all stay close to home.

As for reselling, people will refuse a house because of its wall color or because they prefer carpet to wood, etc etc etc; any reason or none. If they blame the cows, you'll just go on to the next buyer - who might come in and post on this forum to ask the same question, or who already knows how wonderful having cows as neighbors or friends can be!
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Old 05-07-2011, 12:10 PM
 
5 posts, read 28,127 times
Reputation: 12
Thanks for the replies...and for the education about proper terminology

It sounds like they're kind, gentle animals and I'm looking forward to having them around. Plus, I love animals but don't think I'll have time to take care of a pet, so the cows will be nice surrogate ones!

Now, if only I could figure out a way to get some organic milk out of this deal...

Thanks again for all the insight!
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Old 05-07-2011, 12:14 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 11,058,465 times
Reputation: 8956
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCGranny View Post
LOL this is too cute! I'm loving this!
OK, first off, baby cows are called 'calves'. The girls are 'heifers' the boys are 'bulls' - unless they have their cojones removed, then they are 'steers'. I tell you this so that, if in conversation, you'll sound like you know.

Baby calves grow up to be cows, bulls, or steers, and the bulls and heifers can start breeding after they are one year old. (Some do it sooner but it isn't healthy if they do.) They will be at least as big as their parents. If they are not sold off they will become a large family. They like to scratch themselves on fenceposts, and sometimes they can knock them down. Sometimes calves can scoot under barbed wire; but they almost always scoot back to mama when she moos. So if you see cows in your yard, check the fencing first. It is unlikely they will have bulls in with the cows and calves Bulls are usually aggressive and can be dangerous, plus most responsible breeders only breed at certain times of the year.

So if the fencing is poor, or gets broken, or even gets a high snowbank over it in the winter, the 'girls' 'may' end up in your backyard munching. They will gaze at you if you try to move or 'shoo' them... the word 'inscrutable' in the dictionary has a picture of a cow next to it. (I'm kidding about the dictionary. ) Otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much about them. Free-range cattle move - sometimes in midsummer you can see that they follow regular paths that they forged. IF their moos wake you up at night, it means something is wrong - again, not likely. Mostly you won't notice them - however, when DH was fixing one of our fences, he looked up to see about 30 of the neighbors' momcows and calves standing quietly around him in a half-circle, silently watching him! They had crept up while he worked... not dangerous or threatening, just curious. You might have the same experience if you are out sunbathing or working in your yard. Ours follow us around like puppies, even when we are on the 4-wheeler. One cow often 'babysits' for the other cows; you might see one with as many as 6-10 calves around her while the rest go off to graze or run little cow-errands. Loud noises bother them; fireworks, large machinery, or sudden loud noises can cause them to RUN in a panic.

It is likely that the university keeps them to teach students about things like calf care, artificial insemination, etc. In which case, they probably will keep the herd to a responsible minimum.

If you like to garden, rotted and composted cow manure is the BEST for building up your soil. If you can get it from next door (with the university's permission) you'll save a bundle, and your flowers will be gorgeous!

We like our cattle. They serve as alarms when someone comes into the driveway, like to be scratched, especially down the center of their backs, and are a tight-knit little family. We call the smell of manure the smell of money! But we have a herd of 7 on 60 acres, so the only smell comes from the corral... in the winter, when they all stay close to home.

As for reselling, people will refuse a house because of its wall color or because they prefer carpet to wood, etc etc etc; any reason or none. If they blame the cows, you'll just go on to the next buyer - who might come in and post on this forum to ask the same question, or who already knows how wonderful having cows as neighbors or friends can be!
Why do they stare?
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Old 05-07-2011, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,487 posts, read 38,399,828 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
Why do they stare?
Because they're inscrutable!

And because it's just possible that you might have some cubes (aka cow candy).

But they don't want to put too much energy into you until they know for sure.

To address your question, yes, you might run into some buyers who are looking to move to the country but don't want it to have animals or smells or unmowed pastures or lack of sidewalks or any of the things that make the country, country (they want to live in Disneyland country, apparently), but there will be an entire other subset that want to move there precisely because those things exist. Find yourself an agent, when the time comes, that handles rural property and understands it and they'll know where to go to find those particular people.
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Finally made it to Florida and lovin' every minute!
22,677 posts, read 17,261,069 times
Reputation: 17533
When I came home from work, I'd go to the fence and the girls would come over and "talk" with me. They'd let me pet them and they'd vie for space. They're a neat animal. And, like any other animal, each one has her own personality.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:53 PM
 
25,876 posts, read 32,434,182 times
Reputation: 23095
Cows can get a bad attitude and they can in a big hurry. There is nothing like having a 1200 pissed off cow coming at you.

In the setting you descibe the low cattle density there shouldn't be any smell or barely noticable. Feed lots are where you nothing such things. Calves when they are born weigh in at anywhere from 85 to 110 pounds on average.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:56 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,178 posts, read 9,536,302 times
Reputation: 9580
Actually, my DH has created a whole storybook world around the cows in our area. He calls it "The Cow Conspiracy". If they are hanging out around electrical wires, they are using the internet to communicate with other herds. If they are all leaning over a fence watching, they are gathering information for their 'revolt'. If they are all in a group - except for one standing off to the side - they have posted a 'lookout'. They use the horses but don't trust them.

This all came about when we heard that someone had been paid $35,000 to determine how cows graze, and that individual or group had determined that "cows always head north". This cracked us up; rather like the old joke "My grandma has started walking 5 miles a day. We haven't seen her since Feburary." How do they get home or get to water if they always head north? Idiots. Cows are smarter than that.

Our cows are mellow and calm - except when we pen up the calves to give them their shots, ear tags, or to steer a little bull. Then they will ram the corral gate, mooing loudly. When we shoo the calf out, the mom and all the others check him out, nose to tail, to see what harm we have done him/her. (We band the steers instead of cut them; they heal better, it's quicker, and it is safer in our minds.) We used to joke that our little bull was gay - if you roped him he would - lay down and pout. He is very mellow (except when he smells a cow in heat) and will butt your hand to be petted and hand -fed, just like the girls. We raise Dexters, a small Irish breed of cattle, and our calves only weigh about 50 lbs when born. But this breed is known for being more like family pets than the big Angus around here (who WILL do you a mischief) or the big milk cows.
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:26 PM
 
Location: Mayacama Mtns in CA
14,523 posts, read 7,677,685 times
Reputation: 11317
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?
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