Cow Cuddling Gains Popularity on Dumble Farm in Yorkshire
The trend of cow cuddling has been steadily growing in popularity across farms in the US and the UK over the past decade. This wellness concept involves spending time up close and personal with cows, petting them, brushing them, or simply laying with them. Fiona Wilson, along with her husband Will and brother James McCune, offers visitors the opportunity to cuddle cows on their farm, Dumble Farm, located in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
At Dumble Farm, the cow cuddling session is tailored to each individual person. Some visitors come to learn about the cows and their personalities, while others enjoy the physical act of cuddling and snuggling up to the animals. Some people find it therapeutic, while others simply enjoy being close to large animals and learning about them.
Dumble Farm is a working farm with a beef herd and conservation projects. In addition to cow cuddling, they also offer attractions such as Highland cow trekking and Highland cow and wildlife safaris. These experiences are part of the farm’s diversification efforts alongside their day-to-day farming activities.
The idea of cow cuddling came about when James saw it online somewhere, and since the family already spent time cuddling their own cows, they decided to give it a try. The cows used for the cuddling experience are retired dairy cows that were part of the farm’s previous full-time dairy operation. They are a three-way cross of Montbéliarde, Swedish Red, and Holstein.
While Highland cows may appear more cuddly with their fluffy hair and teddy-like appearance, they are harder to hug due to their large horns. Safety is a top priority at Dumble Farm, and they have conducted a full risk assessment for their attraction offerings. They limit cow cuddling groups to six people and provide a safety briefing at the start of each session. One of the family members closely supervises each couple during the experience to ensure their safety.
The cows chosen for cow cuddling have been specifically selected for their temperament and have undergone extensive training and socialization with humans. The farm ensures that the cows are in a relaxed state before visitors meet them and provides guidance on how to approach the animals, how to brush them, and what actions to avoid. Visitors are encouraged to ask questions, and the farm staff is always present to provide assistance and information.
The general cow cuddling experience at Dumble Farm costs £40 per person and lasts 1.5 to 2 hours. Participants also have the opportunity to meet and groom Highland cows after the cuddle session. Many find the grooming process therapeutic and enjoy learning about the different characters and breeds of cows.
Fiona emphasized that the cows genuinely enjoy the experience, particularly the Highland cows, who love being groomed. Some of the retired dairy cows even lean into the brush and almost fall asleep while being brushed.
Surprisingly, the farm attracts not only urban dwellers but also other farmers who have cattle or are interested in cow cuddling. Some farmers with different types of cows or those who appreciate Highland cows also visit the farm to interact with the animals. There are also many visitors who have never been close to a cow before and are simply curious to see what it’s like.
Cow cuddling offers a unique and therapeutic experience for people of all backgrounds and interests. It allows individuals to connect with animals in a meaningful way and learn more about their behavior and personalities. Dumble Farm provides a safe and enjoyable environment for cow cuddling, ensuring that both visitors and cows have a positive experience.