Playful puppies do it for some, it takes cute kittens for others, but only one of Britain’s biggest loads of bull was enough to win the heart of a Kington man with a bent for bovines.
Gentle giant Trigger, a black and white Canadian Holstein Friesian, is over 6ft 5ins, weighs approximately 1.1tonnes, measures 12 ft around the girth and 14ft from nose to tail.
Owner Shaun Layton of Elizabeth Road, said the big beast would have been shot within 24 hours of birth if he had not signalled to local farmer R. Jones of Bestbrook Farm, New Radnor, that he wanted him.
Now Trigger is the Layton’s unusual family pet – and enjoys a relaxed and pleasant life in a field at Kingswood, where he has a diet of grass, cattle cake, mineral lick and one packet of apples every week.
Shaun said: “I thought he would be an ordinary size bull, 5ft 6ins to 5ft 8ins, but he just kept on growing and growing and now is one of the biggest steers in the United Kingdom.
“I first noticed how big he had got when he went into his cow shed to sleep and he was brushing the top of the doors. I measured him and found he was 6ft 5ins. He seems to have grown a lot in the last 12 months.
“I think there is probably one bull 6ft 6ins but he is three years older than Trigger, who is only seven, and they tend to keep on growing. He should live to be 20 years old.
“He is very good natured, a big softie really. He has been castrated and de-horned or he could easily have killed a human being.
“He’s our family pet. We go and see him twice a day, feed him and give him his cattle cake and it’s something I enjoy. You can just play around with him and it’s quite relaxing and you unwind just like some people do if they go angling.
“We trim his tail and he loves being brushed. A few of the local farmers come and see him because of the size of him, they can’t believe it. When you get up close to him, he really is quite imposing.”
Shaun, who is a carpet layer, said bovines are his favourite animals and when he was offered the chance of using a field at Kingswood, he could not resist having Trigger. He believes his keenness for cattle comes from helping out on a neighbour’s farm as a little boy and agriculture in his background – his grandparents owned a farm.
Now Shaun has also got a little friend for Trigger in the shape of Jersey bullock, Tommy, who is just four months old – and will only grow to about 4ft.
He has also enquired with the West Midlands Safari Park about having a bison, and although he has been told it is possible to have one, Shaun said he did not think it would happen because he does not have his own land.
PICTURE: Shaun Layton and his daughter Kim with Trigger.
Picture by: Andy Compton