A brief guide to visiting an area where cattle are grazing

The Wildlife Trust wants you to enjoy visiting an area where livestock are grazing. If you follow this guide and gain confidence you should enjoy the site even more.

About our cattle:

  • Cattle used for wildlife conservation are normally traditional beef breeds. These tend to be smaller and more docile than dairy breeds, especially the bulls.
  • Cattle are naturally scared of you; especially if you have a dog. Try not to startle them as they may panic.
  • Cows are adult female cattle. Bulls are adult male cattle. Both cows and bulls can have horns. Cows have udders with four teats just in front of their hind legs. Bulls tend to have rings through their noses.
  • The cattle to be most wary of are cows with calves. They will try and protect their calves. 
  • Never walk between a cow and its calf. Do not walk towards a calf on its own.
  • If possible take a detour around the cattle, giving them plenty of space.
  • Do not feed the cattle – this will encourage them to approach other people.
  • Every situation is different; use your experience to consider how to behave around the cattle.

If you need to walk through the cattle:

  • If they have not seen you, let them know you are there by talking to them gently. Only proceed when they have seen you, and stay within their sight
  • They may get up; give them a chance to move out of the way by approaching them slowly.
  • Move through the group quickly and calmly

If you feel threatened by the cattle:

  • Do not panic and run away, they are probably being inquisitive and will run to keep up with you. If you stop they will keep a safe distance from you.
  • Raise your voice – but do not shout – and raise you arms to make yourself look bigger – but do not wave them about. Make eye contact with the cattle to keep them at a distance. Do not use a stick to scare or hit them.
  • Walk briskly away, keeping an eye on the cattle and on your footing.

If you have a dog:

  • Keep your dog under close control, preferably on a lead, when visiting an area with livestock
  • Avoid walking amongst cattle wherever possible
  • If cattle chase you and your dog, it is safer to let go of your dog's lead – don’t risk getting hurt by trying to protect it. Cattle see dogs as a much greater threat than humans, and a dog free from its lead should be able to escape