Surprising Animal Friendships

Swoon over these Facebook-submitted tales of animal friendships. From bossy farm cats to broody hens to motherly Jersey cows – we’ve compiled stories from every corner of the barnyard.
From the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Facebook Fans
June/July 2014
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True friendship knows no boundaries.
Photo by Fotolia/Rita Kochmarjova

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We asked our Facebook friends to share stories of unusual animal friendships. The heartwarming tales below represent just a few of those we received. To read many more accounts of surprising friendships from all corners of the barnyard, see More Tales of Animal Buddies on the Homestead.

We had a farm dog who would let the cats sleep over, under and around her when she thought you weren’t watching. She would lick and nuzzle the cats as if they were her own, right up until she saw you. She would then spring up, bark, and act as if you didn’t see her being nice. I loved that dog! — Mike Lowe

My childhood horse, Topic, had a pet cat. Every night when I fed Topic, the cat would sneak into his stall and curl up in the hay while Topic finished his grain. When we lost the cat to disease, I buried him in the horse pasture. Topic stood over the grave and ended up digging the cat back up. I reburied the cat, but Topic spent hours standing over his friend’s grave. — Ellen Rachel Zawada

We had a rooster who looked after a litter of kittens. He protectively perched on a railing above them at night, and laid with them and followed them around during the day. He also ran off any of the other animals if they got too close. — AshTree Noel

We had a Jersey cow, in milk, who adopted an orphaned lamb. The bottle-fed lamb saw me milk one morning, started sniffing around, and then latched on to the Jersey. If the two ever got separated, they would call to each other until reunited. To this day, the ewe prefers cows to other sheep. — Teresa Furches Cook

We’ve seen broody hens raise ducklings. My dad would occasionally put abandoned, fertile duck eggs under the hens, which were always great moms to the ducklings. I did feel a little sorry for the mama hens when the ducklings inevitably made for the water, though. The little things would be happily swimming in a drainage ditch while their adoptive mothers paced and squawked in alarm from the water’s edge. — Ellen Polzien

After one of my cats, Tommy, died, I put him into my traditional pet casket — a nice shoebox with a towel — and I headed out to the garden in a light rain to bury him. My three other cats followed along behind and stood by as I buried Tommy. — Cheryl Long

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