Well last week I did two post on safety on the ground, but I am thinking I should do one on cows. I realize not everyone has cows, but much applies to horses as well as goats or sheep or any livestock.
We have cows. Beef cows/range cows/cow calf pairs. However you wanna say it they are not tame animals. But they are not wild either. They live out on grass all year long and we feed in the winter. We handle them a couple times a year and they are pretty quiet considering. We have all the heifer calves we want to keep in the corral for the winter and they get pretty quiet and easy to work with in there. But they are still not tame and still way bigger than us.
The lucky thing about cows is their natural flight instinct. They have a tendency to move away from a human or horse. We do not want them tame enough that they forget this. It is a big safety feature. A cow that is not afraid of you is the one that will eventually end up hurting you cause she will just run you over as protection from another cow.
Things are inherently dangerous when on the ground with a corral full of cows, so it is always wise to be aware of what you are doing and what the cows around you are doing. When we are sorting cows from calves during weaning, they are pretty worried about where their calves are and want to get back to them, so it is wise to be watchful. Everyone has a cow that is kinda high headed (meaning she is one to watch cause shes kinda flighty) that they need to keep and eye on as well. Ours don't always stick out in a herd but if you get them alone they just run around blindly trying to get back to the herd.
At calving time is an especially dangerous time to be around cows and calves. Most cows are very protective of their baby and will do pretty much anything to keep them safe. We have quit tagging at birth cause it just got too dangerous, but sometimes the cow or calf need help and then you should watch where the cow is all the time.
Even the calves in the corral, when feeding bales and taking strings off them a calf will sometimes push you around and it can hurt but pretty easy to teach them to stay away. And feeding cows on the prairie is safer, but still gotta watch cows cause they can be pushy and sometimes push another cow into you.
Bulls are another story all together. Ours are used to being handled by people, but we still don't like to be on the ground with them too much. They can get to fighting and move really fast. And if they are sore or sick then they get pretty grouchy real easy.
But all in all, if you are aware of where the cows are and are paying attention (and get rid of any cows that chase) then it is much safer to be around cows. If you are feeling it is unsafe, it usually is and maybe you should get help. The more you work with cows, the more you tend to relax theses rules, which is usually when someone gets hurt. And I think that is quite often what happens with horses as well. And even though it can be dangerous and possible to be hurt, I wouldn't quit with the cows or horses.