Baby Cow Escapes Slaughterhouse, Raised By Family Of Deer In The Woods

Baby cow with deer
Becky Bartels

Who said cows can’t be wild animals?

There are certain creatures that tend to view as nothing more than domesticated farm animals, like horses, pigs, and cows.

But as we’ve seen time and time again, nature never fails to impress and there are populations of what most believe to be farm animals roaming wild throughout the United States.

There’s this video of wild horses blocking traffic in a New Mexico town, the endless stream of wild hog eradication videos, and now a story of a cow born for its meat escaping and learning to survive in the wild with the help of some local fauna.

This story comes to us from Farm Sanctuary, a company whose goal is to provide safe places for rescued farm animals, as well as raise awareness of the benefits of plant-based living.

According to them, a few years back the owner of a cattle farm in Holland, New York passed away and his family decided to sell off the entire herd rather than continue the work. Rounding up the bovine proved to be a harder task than expected and the cows were very confused and quite difficult to get in the trailer. A four month old calf hear the cries of her confused cow family, and when its owners were distracted, made a beeline for the woods to escape.

Given the calf had never been outside the farm, you may think it would quickly return or not be able to survive, but what happened next is an all-time great animal story.

Both the owners and nearby residents attempted to find the calf, named Bonnie, in the woods but were not able to get anything more than a few quick glimpses. This went on for some time and eventually local hunters began capturing some incredible pictures on their trail cameras.


Bonnie was not only surviving, but seemed to be thriving, thanks to a friendly group of deer that took her in. They were spotted eating, sleeping, and running through the woods together, proof that the deer had fully accepted the calf and Bonnie had found a second family.

But despite the help of the deer, Bonnie was still just a young domesticated animal and wouldn’t survive forever in the woods, especially when winter hit. Knowing this, a neighbor named Becky began bringing food out to the woods for her and started creating the foundations of a relationship that would eventually save the cow’s life.

After 8 months of living on her own, Farm Sanctuary was called in to bring the cow to a stable, long term home.

It took multiple trips for the team to actually get to her, as she was still terrified of humans, but on the third attempt the team was able to get her to enter a corral to eat, then sedated her and closed the door. From there, they transported her to one of Farm Sanctuary’s locations in Watkins Glen, where she continues to live to this day.

Now, I’m not ready to give up my burgers and steaks yet, but man is that a cool story or what? While I certainly don’t agree with everything Farm Sanctuary stands for, it’s good to know there are organizations out there that will help out an animal as unique as Bonnie when the time arises.

Also, shoutout to that family of deer for pitching in. It really makes you think that animals may have a lot more going on in their heads than we think…

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock