While cow cuddling has been popular for over a decade in the Netherlands, the wellness trend peaked during COVID-19 in the United States, as many people found comfort in hugging a cow after not being able to hug their loved ones.
Recently, Itty Bitty Acres in Ladysmith opened a cuddle farm last year that was inspired by Itty Bitty Acres: The Team That Could, a storybook they wrote based on their children’s imagination.
Guests can listen to the book as the same animals that inspired the tale roam free for petting and cuddling – including a cow named Kevin.
According to a 2020 BBC report, hugging a cow can be an extremely soothing and happy experience.
The warmth from a bigger “motherly” animal can lower heart rate, alleviate stress, and help release oxytocin (the social bond hormone).
But it also comes with risks.
"A mature cow’s head alone is 200 lbs, so if they move their head and have a lot of muscle in their neck, they can whip a person around," said Brian Anderson from Eagle Acres Dairy Farm and Pumpkin Patch.
It's for this reason why his and other farms in the Lower Mainland occasionally allow guests to feed or pet their cows.
But if you're looking for some farm animals to cuddle with in the region, it's likely going to be with goats.
At Taves Family Farm in Abbotsford, visitors are welcome to play with goats after enjoying snacks, drinks and slushies at their cidery next door.
Farm owner Corrine Taves opened the cidery at the same time as the goat pen, offering “Cidery and Goats” for the past three years.
“Goats are smaller and cleaner which makes them safer [to cuddle with] than cows,” said Taves.
“Cows are notorious for passing on animal poisoning because of their poop,” added Taves. “Goat poop is drier and has a harder time sticking to clothes."
Their small size also allows visitors of all ages to enjoy getting up close and personal with the friendly farm animal.
“They’re like dogs, they like to be hugged,” said Taves.
If you’re due for a cuteness overload, Taves Family Farm has many mother and baby goats that you can visit every Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. from mid-May and into fall.