Grazing lawns in Ottawa to support a farm devastated by a May fire

If you happen to be surprised by three plastic cows grazing your lawn, don't worry they're not real.

The trio have been herded together by a rural community youth group, who are helping to raise money for a family whose farm was destroyed by a fire.

The Marshall family, who own Calderside Dairy farm, in Richmond awoke to find three new heads of cattle, on steak out, in front of their cattle barn.

David Marshall's first glance.

"I didn’t think they would give much milk to begin with," he laughs. 

The plastic drum containers, tipped to their side, are painted in the traditional black and white Holstein colours. They have wooden legs to match, ears, a bright pink nose and a rope tail at the back.

While the three cows can be ‘utterly’ perplexing when they’re found on your front lawn, it’s not to cause a beef, they are to help raise money for Acredale Farms. The family-run business was devastated in May, when nearly all their cattle died in a barn fire.

"It is a good fundraising cause," says Marshall, whose neighbours from up the road had the cows delivered. "After you make a donation you decide where you would like to send them next."

The 'Keep the Cows Moooving!' campaign began in mid-June and has already raised more than $1,500. Sharon Ruiter is a member of the Carleton County Junior Farmers, a group of rural youth, aged 15 to 30, who come together to participate in community efforts.

"So far, we had it going for a week-and-a-half and we’ve moved them to ten different locations but our hope is to keep these cows moving across all of Carleton County," says Ruiter.

"The family (of Acredale Farms) was very involved in junior farmers in their youth, both alumni and past members, so we thought this was a good way for our club to give back to them after they’ve done so much for us in the past."

Ruiter picks up and delivers the cows to their location. If you find the herd on your lawn, they come with a sign, which provides instruction on how to make a donation, and who to call to choose where they migrate next. If you do not want to participate, the group will pick them up within 72 hours.

Ruiter says the cows have been in Metcalfe, Carp and are currently feeding in Richmond. She hopes to keep the cattle moving throughout the summer.