A cow might not be the first animal that comes to mind when thinking about getting a pet, but cows actually make great pets. They will provide you with plenty of joy for many years to come and will act as a great source of fresh, healthy produce.
Some cow breeds make better pets than others, though, and there are a few additional things you should know if you’re seriously considering buying a pet cow, especially if you have kids or dogs.
4 Reasons Cows Make Good Pets
Cows are very affectionate animals that love to be petted, stroked and scratched. If you show them affection, they will definitely show it back by following you around, licking you, and even resting their head on your lap.
So affectionate are cows that you may be surprised to learn that there are a few farms that offer cow-cuddling services where you can pay upwards of $50 an hour for the privilege of hugging, petting and playing with them.
Cows require clean, fresh water (most commonly from a cattle waterer); salt and minerals; feed that mainly consists of hay or pasture; shelter; fencing; and perhaps a couple of vaccinations a year that can be administered yourself with a cattle vaccine gun. These are all relatively easy to purchase and set up, making cows low-maintenance animals.
Additionally, one main benefit of keeping cows as pets is that you can leave them alone for a while and they will cope just fine. You can’t say that of many other pets.
Most cows only get to live a maximum of a third of their life because they are bred and raised for milk and beef. Once they are no longer productive, they are sent to slaughter.
Cows can naturally live for up to 20 years, though. This can make them a great long-term addition to your family, especially if you have young kids, as they will age and grow with you and your family,
A dog may be man’s best friend, loyal, and there will be no shortage of cuddles either, but we can definitively say that a cow will be far more productive than a dog or any other household pet.
Imagine you and your family being able to enjoy the freshest milk and cheese anytime that you want. Milk and cheese that in taste will far exceed anything store-bought can offer. You might even have some left over to share with friends and family or to sell and make a tidy profit.
3 Cow Breeds That Make the Best Pets
Cows breeds that make the best pets are Dexter cows, Guernsey cows, and Miniature Scottish Highland cows.
Dexter cows are your best choice if you are a beginner and have very little prior experience with cows. They are one of the smaller breeds of cows, so take up less space; are easy to maintain; and have an easygoing personality.
Guernsey cows make good pets because they are great for beginners while also having the benefit of producing plenty of milk.
They have a gentle personality, and only require approximately 70-80% feed per pound of milk produced compared to other well-known cow milk breeds. Guernsey cows are also efficient when it comes to grazing, and are a great choice if you want a dairy cow but are low on space.
A Guernsey cow can produce over 13,000 pounds of milk in her lifetime.
Miniature Scottish Highland Cows
Standing only about 30 to 40 inches when fully grown, Miniature Highland cows are definitely one of the easiest breeds to manage. Add in the fact that they are docile and calm, they are a great choice if you have young kids too.
Compared to standard size Highlands, they require about a third less feed; will cause less damage to fencing due to their smaller size; and are generally very well-behaved, affectionate animals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I ask before buying a cow?
Before buying a cow as a pet, you should ask as many questions as possible to find out everything you need to know about the cow’s breed, health requirements, and feeding requirements.
Do you need a permit to own a cow?
You do not need a permit or license to own a cow, though whether you are allowed to keep a cow on your property will very much depend on where you live. As a general rule, cities and towns will not allow a cow on your property if you live within the city limits. Check your local laws related to animals to find out more.
Are cows friendly with dogs?
Cows and dogs are generally friendly with one another and get along well, though as the individual personalities of each animal can vary this can affect how well each animal will get along with each other.
Where can I buy a pet cow?
You can buy a pet cow from a breeder. Whether you are in the USA or not, it’s important that you conduct as much research as possible into the cattle breeder or farm you are planning to buy from to make it as likely as possible that you will purchase a healthy, happy cow.