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“Shut the gate”, we’ve all read it on walks through the country, and it’s an important one to pay attention to, but you’d be surprised how many farmers complain about gates being left open - and for good reason. So, as a quick refresher, here are a few more general tips to make sure walking in the country stays safe for you, those around you and of course, the animals.
If you’re taking your four-legged friend with you on your rambling, there are a few more things to bear in mind.
Keep Fido on a lead. All dogs behave differently around livestock, but it’s best to keep them on a lead, especially if there are pregnant ewes or ewes with lambs.
Take the long road. If there are animals in the field, try to take the route which places the greatest distance between you and the animals.
Do it, bag it and dump it. Your dog’s poo, that is. Always clear up after your dog and please don’t leave your little plastic-wrapped parcels lying around, cows and sheep have been known to die choking on them.
Gentle giants standing in the field enjoying the grass, cows are generally no threat to anyone and won’t bother you as long as you leave them alone. But just in case, here are a few tips from our resident ruminant experts.
Yes, they are generally (almost always) fluffy clouds of cuteness on legs, but very occasionally you might feel threatened by a sheep. Don’t worry, if you do, we’re here to help (and we won’t tell anyone. We promise your secret is safe with us).
Mature bulls can be quite scary-looking, but they are typically very friendly animals. There’s one (make that two) very clear way to tell if it’s a bull or a cow, so if you’re unsure, take a look.
Hopefully, your weekend wanders through the wonders of the British countryside will be free of bovine bullies and unwanted rumbles with ruminants. And if you are taking a picnic with you, make sure you buy RSPCA Assured labelled products to make it a higher welfare feast.