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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mini cows come to Swansea farm

SWANSEA, Mass. – Tinkerbell is small even for a mini cow.

Standing at roughly 26 inches tall and weighing maybe 60 pounds, the tiny brown cow is smaller than some dogs. Tinkerbell, along with three other mini cows, have stumbled upon a charmed life at Simcock Farm in Swansea. ...

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SWANSEA, Mass. – Tinkerbell is small even for a mini cow.

Standing at roughly 26 inches tall and weighing maybe 60 pounds, the tiny brown cow is smaller than some dogs. Tinkerbell, along with three other mini cows, have stumbled upon a charmed life at Simcock Farm in Swansea.

“We love them,” said Beverly Ann Simcock, who runs the farm with her husband James Simcock, great-grandson of the original owner.

The couple is known to the locals as the “fiddler and the farmer,” due to Beverly’s training as a concert violinist and her husband’s long farming lineage. The band of mini cattle came to Simcock Farm a couple of weeks ago from a farmer in Pennsylvania who decided to get out of the mini-cattle-breeding business and into breeding goats.

The mini cattle are bred specifically as farm pets for those so inclined to care for the small creatures.

Superman, the biggest mini cow at Simcock Farm, standing at about 40 inches tall and weighing roughly 300 pounds, came from the same breeder to Simcock Farm about a year and a half ago.

Superman is a full grown mini Holstein cow. A full size Holstein weighs some 1,450 pounds.

Superman was reunited with Miss Muffet, his “girlfriend,” Beverly said.

The two minis grew up together in Pennsylvania. When they saw each other again at Simcock Farm, Superman “kissed her from head to toe,” she said.

The other new minis are Rocky Road and 007, though technically Rock Road is a dwarf and is expected to grow a long shaggy coat in winter.

All of the little cows are mixed breed.

James said each animal is different and has a unique personality.

“These are our pets,” he said, leading Rocky Road through the pasture.

They’re sharing their farm home with mini horses, mini donkeys, sheep, goats, rabbits, and a couple of pot belly pigs.

Daytona, one of the pot bellies, has cancer. She was given a few months to live three years ago. She continues to thrive.

The new mini cows are doing well. They’re starting to come up to the fence to meet visitors, but are still a little skittish.

“Once they learn they’re here forever, they’re all set,” Beverly said.

The Simcocks are plowing the same land as the first James Simcock, who bought the property in 1887.

Simcock Farm started as a dairy and strawberry farm. The original farm and homestead are still standing on the property.

Simcock Farm today is out of the dairy business. They run an ice cream stand, and grow and sell vegetables, along with flowers, fruits, jellies, mustards, and other products at the farm stand.

The farm animals are a big draw. Kids and adults are welcome to lick an ice cream cone and greet the animals on the other side of the fence.

Beverly said that with the new arrivals the farm is now full.

“You have to be able to do the right care,” she said. “We like our animals to be petted and loved. They’re like kids to us. They’re not lawn ornaments.”