Herd Instinct

Just as I was wheeling my last barrowload of muck down towards the veg plot I had the distinct impression I was being watched…

Mostly the cows ignore the humans, but a human with a barrow is potentially interesting in case the barrow might possibly contain food. I thought I’d have a go with a handful of fresh grass to see if I could tempt them to come and say hello …

And after a few minutes and much nudging of each other to make someone else go first they came pretty close – close enough to see the whites of their eyes…

But nobody was brave enough to taste the grass and when I made a wrong move (cows don’t respond to clicking like horses do) the all turned tail and fled.

Cows are really very simple creatures, I thought to myself as I wheeled my barrow away. And it was only later that it occurred to me that – given I’d just amused myself for the last ten minutes trying to make friends with them – so was I.


9 Responses to Herd Instinct

  1. ‘And after a few minutes and much nudging of each other to make someone else go first…’
    That’s cows, exactly! A delightful mix of timid and curious. Especially the calves. They’d rush to my wall if they saw me in the garden, especially if I was mowing the lawn – the smell of grass – and promptly back off if I went to say hello. They did take the grass (long grass only, like yours in the photo) eventually, after some daily perseverance on my part. They do get to know individual people. But those melting eyes… I adore cows, gentle creatures.
    So yes, persevere! You’ll have a new herd of friends!

  2. zungg says:

    Lovely post, and I agree with you (and RTC) about cows… but I still fear and loathe them, despite, or because of, having grown had to pass through them, or go a long way round, each day on the way to school.

  3. zungg says:

    Apologies for the error which is purely due to machinery.

  4. The Cow

    THE FRIENDLY cow all red and white
    I love with all my heart:
    She gives me cream with all her might,
    To eat with apple-tart.

    She wanders lowing here and there, 5
    And yet she cannot stray,
    All in the pleasant open air,
    The pleasant light of day;

    And blown by all the winds that pass
    And wet with all the showers, 10
    She walks among the meadow grass
    And eats the meadow flowers.

  5. Humph, I missed this bit… A poem from my childhood, by
    Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850–1894). A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods. 1913.

  6. Andy in Germany says:

    What’s wrong with making friends with cows? they make nice neighbours and they’re, friendlier than some humans. They may not like it if you have a barbecue, but I doubt you’ll do that often with the local climate anyway.

    Oh, and a friend who grew up on a dairy farm tells me cows will stay about a yard away from humans unless they know them. (she didn’t mention buls though)

  7. disgruntled says:

    Looks like I shall have to persevere with my grass…

  8. welshcyclist says:

    Simple creatures, just like us cyclists!

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