In almost every corner of Paraguay the sight of a cow is a common one.

Sometimes it may be just one kept to supply a family with their daily milk. At others it may be one of thousands in a herd on a vast estate. More usually though it is to be found somewhere in the middle. A member of a small herd owned and grazed by a family.

As would be expected the most natural habit for cattle is outside of the towns. Where open pastures can be found and grazed daily.

However along chickens that have moved from country to town gardens there are always a few cows about town. This is not their ideal environment and they are generally forced to scavenge along road verges.

Fortunately most people learn soon after moving into town that it is not a place to keep and raise cattle.

Outside the towns however things are very different. Here almost every family has a cow or some cattle.

I myself don’t have any. The simple reason for that being that a cow is more demanding than the average pet. They need every day to be taken to pasture and to water. As such require someone be home every day to tend to them.

If I had cattle all but the very shortest of journeys would be impracticable.

However that does not mean my garden is devoid of cattle. Far from it.

There are five acres of prime pasture. Enough to feed several cattle.

To graze on this grass I invite cattle from the neighbouring houses.

One neighbour has a large herd and two or three times I wake to find part of it in the garden.

From the other side comes daily a cow with two small calves. That neighbour also has a herd but likes to keep the youngest nearby. The corner of my garden is just right for that.

These animals are all very welcome and there is just one simple rule. They must all be tied to something.

Being tied to a long rope is ideal as that way the cow has ample food within walking distance of where it is secured. Strange as it may seem any cow that is not tied down heads straight for the house to eat whatever is found growing there and to trample the garden.

No need though to secure calves. When they do inevitably come and visit the house they can’t do much damage.

As well as giving me company in the garden these cows preform an important task. Their constant grazing keeps the grass down. What would be waist high is kept to ankle height.

Furthermore if for example the driveway starts to look a bit over grown it is simplicity itself to arrange for cattle to placed along it. Within a couple of days the grass is mown short once more.

These eco friendly lawn mowers are a useful addition to any large garden. And whats more not being mine they are taken away every evening to be watered and housed for the night.

These same domestic goings on happen everyday in almost every house along the country valley in which I live.

Most households own a small herd of cattle with at least one for milk.

One of the first tasks of the day is to take the cattle to pasture. Either across fields or along the track. Then after being checked upon midday the last of the days jobs is to bring them home.

Cows are always stabled for the night near the house. That way they are always in earshot should anything occur during the night.

As cattle often have to be walked a short distance along the track to and from pasture I often encounter them. A large herd may force me to stop until it has passed but if there are just a few cow I can weave my way through them on my motorbike.

Here where everything is either green pasture or dirt track people and cows are rarely in conflict.

It is rather different where houses have paved roads running by them. Here cows need to be walked along or at the very least crossed over the carriageways. A hazard to traffic at the best of times.

Many times I have come over the brow of a hill or round a blind bend to be faced by a road full of cows.

They do not move when approached by a vehicle and cross roads with no concern to what may be travelling down it. Unsurprisingly cattle cause a number of traffic accidents.

It is known by everyone that cattle and paved roads don’t mix. But regardless of statements made by police and councils old habits are very hard to break.

Cows are also the principal reason travelling at night is discouraged. Even with headlights and on a starry night that large black cow about to step into the road is very hard to spot.

Cows like everything have their place. The Paraguayan countryside is very much their place. There they can feast and grow fat on the lush grasses.