On vacation: Hiking among cattle on alpine meadows and pastures


Because of the number of questions, I get from vacationers on this topic, some of my suggestions are listed below.

Feel free to share them with your acquaintances and relatives who are planning a hiking vacation in the countryside of Germany, Austria or Switzerland. 


1.  Cattle are not cuddly animals:

Therefore, do not hug, pet or feed the animals

Maintain a safe distance


2.  Behave calmly:

Do not wave arms or a stick, do not yell or scream


3.  Is there a bull in the herd?

If so, never challenge him and be extra alert to his body language


4.  Cows with calves are very alert and protective of their calves:

Therefore, keep your distance from the calves as well

Dogs should be kept on a leash 



5.  Do not let your dog bark unnecessarily near cows and calves:

Do not walk a long leashed dog, keep the dog on a short leash

If a threatening situation arises for you and/or the dog, release the dog

(The dog will attract the cattle's attention to itself)


6.  Follow official hiking trails on alpine meadows and in the mountains:

If cattle are on the hiking trail, walk quietly around them at a wide distance and in a wide circle 

When doing so, keep a close eye on the animals and do not turn your back on them


7.  If cattle come toward you:

Then calmly evade the cattle, do not yell and scream, do not turn your back on them


8.  Are the animals noticeably agitated by your presence?

Then immediately distance yourself from the herd and leave the animals alone


9.  Respect the fencing that may be in place and use official gates/passages if present

Close locked gates/passages after use, check to make sure they are also properly locked


10.  If you would like to understand more about low-stress handling of cattle or other large farm animals:

Please visit www.stockmanship.eu 


Source text and  photos: Ronald Rongen