BURTON, Ohio – Nancy Mayors walks out of the barn, into the pasture, and taps her hand insistently on her thigh.
“Come on,” she says. “Shorty! Star! Come on, girls.”
Two creatures peak around the corner and then hurry to Mayors’ side, clinging close as she strokes their necks. A few minutes pass and with each brush of Mayors’ hand, they relax and begin to nibble on grass.
But all the while, they still keep a close eye on Mayors, making sure she doesn’t wander too far.
Sounds like puppies keeping tabs on their owner, but they’re not. Instead they’re cows … but they are small ones.
Not fit for a cow. The two registered miniature black Angus arrived at Mayors’ stable in December 2003 in dog crates. The 50-pound, 1-month-old cows from Idaho Falls, Idaho, started out drinking from bottles, eating from dog dishes and wearing sheep halters.
Now, a year and a half later, they weigh 450-500 pounds. Their backs are level with Mayors’ belly button and they’ve graduated to wearing miniature horse halters.
Picture perfect. Mayors first saw miniature black Angus in a magazine and knew they would be perfect for her and her husband, Joe Bair.
Mayors had always wanted cows but didn’t think she could handle full-sized cattle at her small horse stable in Burton, Ohio. Plus she wanted the cows as pets and it’s hard to cuddle an animal that could break her toes if it stepped on her foot.
Shorty and Star arrived that winter, born by embryo transfer to a full-sized Angus mother.
Mayors treated them like puppies, hugging, brushing and fussing over them. She wanted them to run to her when she called and enjoy getting baths, both of which are now the case.
Fair time. Last year when it came time for the Geauga County Fair, Mayors decided to show off her new girls, so she entered them in the Angus classes and went for the week.
Although they won a few ribbons, what they really won was the hearts of many fairgoers. People crowded around the pen and Mayors typed handouts so they would know what they were seeing.
The publicity continued long after the fair.
Since then Shorty and Star have visited an elementary school and even a birthday party.
This year, they’ll be at the fair again, but this time Shorty will be six months pregnant and Mayors hopes Star will be expecting, too.
Mayors and her husband are also talking about getting a baby miniature Angus in time to take to the fair.
(Reporter Kristy Hebert welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419, ext. 23 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Where to find the cows