There’s story in today’s Guardian newspaper that’s of particular interest to us farmers*. It concerns an unusually large Holstein Friesian steer, a neutered male cow that currently stands at just shy of 2 metres tall and weighs in at 1,400kg (or 220 stone in old money). He goes by the name of Knickers and lives on a farm to the south of Perth in Western Australia. If, like me, your first thought was that’s a lot of good steak to be standing around in a field, Knickers has only survived because he’s now too big to be processed through an abattoir. In this case. size not only matters, but it’s a matter of life and death.
Knickers’ story got me wondering about other abnormally large animals that have cropped up from time to time. First to catch my eye was Ludo, a very large Maine Coons cat who lives alongside his owners in West Yorkshire. Ludo is a monster moggy. Regular readers will know that we’ve recently welcomed our own kitten into our home. Flo is gorgeous and very petite, but she does have concrete boots when it comes to jumping down off the furniture. I’d be very worried that Ludo would come straight through the ceiling if she were to jump off the bed!
However, neither Knickers nor Ludo are in the same league as Darius when it comes to unusual hugeness. Darius is a Continental rabbit – and he’s enormous, weighing in at around 4 stone and measuring around 1.5 metres in length. Darius and his son Jeff (who’s a bit smaller but still growing) eat their way through 2000 carrots a year, and a bale of hay a WEEK. I can’t begin to imagine the volume of droppings that they produce!