Recently whilst out walking with friends we came across a field of livestock. It was a public right of way and the local council rangers had very kindly put up a sign about the animals- a mix of cows and Chinese Water Buffalo, stating that they may look intimidating but are actually very docile animals that will not approach walkers. So off we trotted into the field, staying fairly close to the fence line, keeping our eyes on the animals. Unfortunately, the animals were anything but docile and charged us several times. A few loud noises and arms waved and the animals eventually kept their distant. However, to someone who has not been around large animals in the past, an experience such as this one can be very intimidating, and may put walkers off future fields that contain livestock.
So here are a few simple tips for walkers to use when entering a field of livestock:
1. Stay close to the fence line- this way, if needed, you will be able to leave the field more quickly.
2. Don’t be afraid to make noise. If you surprise the animals this may startle them but being noisy alerts them of your presence.
3. Walk quickly through the field and walk around the herd, not through it
4. Always keep a far distant from females that have young, never walk between a mother and her calf.
5. If you are approached by the animals, stand your ground, spread your arms wide (to make yourself look big) and be noisy- this will encourage the animal to keep their distance.
Walkers have been walking amongst livestock-filled fields for many years and this is unlikely to change any time soon, but by following these simple tips, it can make a walk more enjoyable for the walker and less stressful for the animals.
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