UC ANR publication helps hikers co-exist with cows

May 1, 2015

Hikers, cyclists and runners can learn to enjoy nature alongside grazing cattle with information from a new UC Agriculture and Natural Resources publication, reported Andrew McGall in the Contra Costa Times.

Sharing Open Space: What to Expect from Grazing Livestock, written by Stephanie Larson, UC ANR Cooperative Extension livestock advisor, is available free in ANR Catalog.

The publication explains how to read the behavior patterns of cows with calves, heifers, steers and bulls. For example, when approaching a cow on the trail, it's best to stay in it's "flight zone" to encourage it to move out of the way.

The guideline says dogs accompanying hikers must be kept under control.

"Cattle see dogs as predators," the brochure warns. "This is especially true for mother cows, who naturally become aggressive when trying to protect their young."

The story was also covered by the Sacramento Bee on May 27:

Moooving along: How to handle a cow on the trail
Sam McManis, Sacramento Bee, May 27, 2015
Waving one's arms, clapping and yelling? Not recommended, according to a new downloadable brochure, “Sharing Open Space: What to Expect From Grazing Livestock,” published by University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “(Cattle) don't necessarily react how you expect them to, because of that issue with the flight zone,” said Sheila Barry, UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor. “So, you think, ‘Hey, I'm getting really close, why aren't you moving, cow?' Most will move off, eventually. But there's part of it that's just not predictable.”

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist