Sunday, March 27, 2005

Treat suggestions?

Anyone know what else I can safely feed a cow as a treat, besides organic (!) apples, carrots and the odd pear? I don't want to kill 'em or make 'em sick, but I'm just curious if there's anything else in the fruit/veggie drawer that I can bring them. I suppose they are a bit like horses in terms of their food preferences.

Ridiculous eh, organic apples for a cow?! Like clover and hay aren't good enough for them! And of course, when I'm not stealing food from our family of two (unless you count pets, in which case we're up to a family of seven, but if you count the betta fish, it's eight, and if you count the fish pond, it's more like a family of 58!) to feed my bovine babies, they get those lovely fresh apples right off our neighbour's tree.

Ya know, I never realized how much personality cows have until I started this feeding regime. This is the closest relationship I have ever had with moo-pals (get your head out of the gutter.) They are really sweet, and man, are they LARGE. Their noggins are much bigger than horse heads. The Godfather would have had a hard time leaving a cow head between someone's sheets.

The other day I committed a cardinal sin and walked Tara (the English Setter) past my cow buddies WITHOUT BRINGING TREATS! Mama and calf came running over to me, and followed me as I walked along the fence. I apologized profusely, but they weren't impressed. Mama mooed loudly several times as I walked away. I am a BAD cow friend. Bad, bad, wicked, bad.

Here is a shot of me admiring Tara, who is NOT a cow and is unafraid of cows, and the cows are unafraid of her. On this particular day, we had stopped by the cow pasture. This picture was taken post-treat frenzy. I'm slipping it in because I think Tara is kind of cute for a 13-year-old, even if she isn't technically a cow. But I bet she'd make a good cow. She loves treats! And her saliva rivals that of a bovine. Note the drool hanging ever-so-delicately from her velvety lips.

PS: Brian, the cows miss you. They want you to come back!

12 comments:

Heather said...

I love the cow diaries! So much so I actually became a member of Blogger so I could make this post! I'm such a blog slut. Don't tell Typepad!

scott said...

Great blog! I was also trying to figure out a good treat for our new calf. It is our first one and we have a lot to learn. I also need to figure out what all kinds of vaccinations she will need.

Ted said...

We have 3-4 steer annually, unfortunately we don't keep them over the winter. So to train them to come on command, we started a feeding regiment with a bell and horse feed. They came running as soon as they hear the bell (think Pavlov's dog). They love this stuff!! And it is good for them...otherwise they only eat natural grass and such in the pastures.

We use 12% horse feed (there are many different kinds). It is a nice mix of stuff for them, from barley to corn to molasses to oats, etc. We get it from The Mill of Bel Air in MD. Works great, and the steers love it...so much that if we feed at 4pm daily, even without the bell they will be standing there waiting at 4 every day!! :)

Anonymous said...

It is rather interesting for me to read the blog. Thank you for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to them. BTW, why don't you change design :).

Anonymous said...

Cows LOOOOVE corn husks

Anonymous said...

Are Apple seeds poisonous to cows? I've heard they're poisonous to some animals and I don't want to make my cow I'll!!

Knatolee said...

Well, apple seeds do contain a cyanide compound, but you'd have to eat a heck of a lot of them to do any harm:

http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/apples.asp


So I wouldn't wory too much about feeding them a few apples. My chickens eat them too.

Knatolee said...

Ted, I'm storing up this info in case I ever have any cows of my own! THanks!

Anonymous said...

I live on a dairy farm and when one of our calves gets sick we will feed them yogurt. It helps with their digestive system. So it's a nice treat and is a great preventitive. As for the apples be careful, during the summer our cows are in a pasture with crab apple trees and we need to watch them because if they eat too many they become "drunk".

Roxanne said...

Hi there... I'm new to this. I absolutely love the Cow Diaries. We don't have any cows (yet), hoping to someday. But I do drove by a lone cow on my way to work everyday. My husband, son and I finally met the old lady who keeps "Mama Cow", whose real name is Prissy and we got the ok to stop by and give her treats. So, thank you for sharing some useful information. We're going to take Prissy some yummy treats. ~Roxanne

AA said...

Hi all, I keep some amazing Charolais cows as "pets" or friends rather. ON APPLES: I really want to emphasize that cows can and do choke on whole apples. I lost a gorgeous Red Angus cow who accidentally swallowed a whole wild apple from a tree and it stuck deep in her chest. Anything round that size is a choking hazard. I'm not saying to stop feeding your cows apples. I train my cows with them! Always ALWAYS cut them into small slices! And think about trimming or cutting down wild fruit trees in your pasture. My cows' favorite treat is home grown apples and pears.
As far as treats go, they love leaves from willow tree cuttings if you happen to have one. I also buy treats occasionally online such as Uncle Jimmy's Hanging Balls for their birthdays or for times when one or more cows must be confined. I clicker trained them to lots of commands. If you use a word around them enough they will learn it. I'm always trying to think of good toys or new ways to give treats because they are so intelligent they get bored a lot. The most challenging part of training cows is imagining ways to break down what you want them to learn into small steps and teach it in a way they understand what you want from them. I dream of creating my own blog one day!

Knatolee said...

Good advice When I was feeding these cows many years ago, the apple tree was right in their pasture, and I was just giving them what was already there for them, but I had no idea cows choked on apples!!! Good to know!