A hereford-cross cow keeps a wary eye on a visitor while her calf grazes behind her. Photo: Michael Raine.

Producers tolerate aggressive cows: survey

The WCVM's Dr. Joseph Stookey and his former MSc student, Brooke Aitken, report findings from their survey that asked producers about their tolerance of aggressive mother cows.

Each year, beef producers are injured by overly aggressive cows at calving time. In fact, 23 people were killed by cows over a recent 15-year period in Canada.

In the U.S., injury reporting by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 14 per cent of fatalities caused by cattle are due to beef cows with calves.

Nonetheless, research in Canada reveals that cattle producers are surprisingly tolerant of aggressive mother cows at calving time, and tend to leave them in the herd for another year. However, those same producers are much more likely to cull a cow that has mis-mothered or abandoned her calf.

These are some of the key findings of a voluntary survey of 168 Canadian cattle producers who collectively own more than 33,600 cattle. The survey was conducted at two major cattle shows and a educational cattle symposium in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

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