Move over, Knickers: In search of Southwestern Pennsylvania's biggest bovine | Blogh
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Monday, December 3, 2018

Move over, Knickers: In search of Southwestern Pennsylvania's biggest bovine

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 6:06 PM

click to enlarge Give us your big cows!
  • Give us your big cows!
Big Cow needs some farmsplaining, and Pennsylvania is just the state to do it.

Social media junkies may have noticed the viral video of Knickers, a black-and-white Holstein in Australia shown towering over a herd of significantly smaller cows. Dubbed "Big Cow" by internet users, reports measured Knickers at an impressive 6-foot-4-inches from hoof to shoulder and weighing in at roughly 2,800 pounds.

But his rise to fame was met with plenty of debunking - including from your humble, Central Pennsylvania farm-raised author - about how Knickers was not, in fact, a Big (female) Cow, but a male steer. Many were also ready to take him down a peg or two by posting about larger cows, including a beefy boy in Manitoba, Canada named Dozer and a 7-foot white Charolais in England. This was despite the fact that many articles pointed out that Knickers was only big for his breed, not overall.

Shannon Powers, press secretary from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, provides even more perspective, saying, "Knickers is actually an ox – a mature steer typically used as a draft animal to pull heavy objects – like a draft horse."

But the Department of Agriculture still wants to capitalize on Big Cow fever and has launched a social media campaign looking for the commonwealth's biggest bovines.

Southwestern Pennsylvania still boasts quite a bit of farming, but it's unclear if any local cows, bulls, or steers measure up to Knickers.

Heather Thomas of Donegal owns a variety of cattle, including a team of oxen.

"I’m not sure I will be any comparison to Knickers," she says. "I do have a large Chianina cow that is big for around here but not big to breed standards. ... Also, a young Chianina bull that will be a giant but not there yet."

Chianina is one of the largest and oldest cattle breeds in the world. Mature Chianina bulls can reach up to 5-feet-11-inches, while oxen can grow to a whopping 6-feet-7-inches.

But that doesn't mean City Paper is through trying to prove Knickers doesn't have anything on the Keystone State's cows.

Do you own a big cow, steer, or bull in Southwestern Pennsylvania? Let us know! Send photos and descriptions to awaltz@pghcitypaper.com.

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