UPDATE. Danniel the steer has a new home. Lost Coast Hay farm supply at 113 Myrtle Avenue in Eureka. Feel free to visit because he sure does like people. 707-497- 6927
The Times Standard, Sept. 9, 2016
Eureka, CA -- A Ferndale veterinarian and Eureka zookeepers confirmed on Tuesday that the tallest bovine ever recorded lives right here in Humboldt County.
Measuring 6 feet, 4 inches from the hoof to the withers, Danniel the Holstein steer is a sight to behold, but his owners and and Sequoia Park Zoo staff say he’s a gentle giant.
Guinness World Records have yet to verify the record, but he’s also just over an inch taller than the current record holder. According to the Guinness World Records website, the tallest cow ever was Blosom, owned by Patricia Meads-Hanson and measuring 74.8 inches from the hoof to the withers in Orangeville, Illinois, on May 24, 2014. Blosom died in May 2015 at the age of 13.
The massive steer, owned by Ken and Ann Farley, had been gifted to Ken Farley’s late aunt Helen Farley, who passed away in December.
Named by Darrla Paquin, a tenant of Helen Farley’s who decided that just one “N” wasn’t enough,
Danniel left Helen Farley’s farm on Redmond Road off Old Arcata Road and now spends his days in a temporary home at Eureka’s Sequoia Park Zoo.
Ken Farley, who’s seen the steer grow from a calf into a giant, said he’s still impressed by Danniel’s size.
“Holsteins are pretty big animals to begin with,” he said. “Even seeing him now is still pretty impressive.”
On Tuesday, Ken and Ann Farley watched as Ferndale veterinarian Dr. Kevin Silver and zookeepers lured Danniel out of his pasture for an official measurement.
“We don’t get to do this very often,” Silver said. “Measuring Danniel is one of the of the odd things I get to do as a veterinarian.”
After the measurement, Ken Farley patted Danniel’s face and rewarded him with another handful of hay.
“It’s pretty exciting, for Humboldt County,” Ken Farley said. ”And we’re a big dairy community so having him be a Holstein really fits right in.”
Ann Farley has contacted Guinness World Records, which needed two witnesses and a measurement by a licensed veterinarian.
She said they always knew Danniel was tall but didn’t know he could be record-breaking until January, when they unofficially measured him.
“He’s big but he’s like a puppy. If you say ‘Danniel’ he’ll come trotting over and see what you have to eat,” Ann Farley said, “He wouldn’t hurt anybody but because of his size, he might turn his head and accidentally bump you, but he doesn’t mean it. He’s a handful to keep penned but he’s part of the family.”
Ann Farley said Danniel is lucky because a lot of male Holsteins don’t make it to adulthood. While female Holsteins are generally dairy cows, the males are usually slaughtered for beef.
Naturally, caring for the giant steer involves a lot more work than other barnyard animals. Amanda Auston of the Sequoia Park Zoo said Danniel goes through more food than most cattle — about 50 pounds of hay every day.
“Danniel doesn’t like grain or produce,” Auston said. “He eats a lot of hay, and sometimes bread. He loves bread. We actually don’t feed him a lot of bread because it’s not that good for him. We only use it for medicine or events like this measuring.”
While the steer behaves normally around the other barn animals at the zoo, Auston said the biggest challenge is space and Danniel’s fecal output — between 80 to 150 pounds a day.
“It’s a small enclosure so we have to pick it up all the time,” Auston said, “I would like him to have more room to wander around and graze and do some more natural behavior.”
The Farleys are still looking to find Danniel a permanent home, but are happy that people get to see him when they visit the zoo.
“Whether he is or isn’t a record, he’s a hometown hero at best,” Ken Farley said.