Calf Saved From Going to Auction Breaks 'Moognificent' Record for Tallest Living Steer

Calf Saved From Going to Auction Breaks 'Moognificent' Record for Tallest Living Steer
(Courtesy of Guinness World Records)

A calf who was saved from going to auction by a caring cattle owner surprised his family when he grew taller than all of them and didn't stop. Today, he's a world record holder.

Purebred Brown Swiss steer Tommy has lived with his family in Cheshire, Massachusetts, since he was 1 day old when his owner, Fred Balawende, purchased him as a calf from a large dairy farm in 2010. Now 13 years old, Tommy measures over 1.87 meters (6 feet 1 inch) tall making him the tallest living steer (castrated bull) on record.

Tommy weighs over 3,000 pounds, but his family can "only guess," his weight since they can't physically transport him to a scale—Tommy doesn't fit in a trailer.

"It's overwhelming if you don't realize at first," Mr. Balawende told Guinness World Records. "If you're just used to a cow or something, that's one thing, but once you stand next to him, and you see how tall he is and just what a nice guy he is, people just love him."
 Tommy with his owner, Fred Balawende. (Courtesy of Guinness World Records)
Tommy with his owner, Fred Balawende. (Courtesy of Guinness World Records)

Tommy, who was named after former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, has the calm, kind demeanor typical of his breed. He loves people, including children, and especially Mr. Balawende whom he watches "intently" whenever he's close by.

The free-roaming bull eats around 30 pounds of dry grain and over 75 pounds of hay and drinks two bathtubs' worth of water each day. His favorite treats include apples and cinnamon buns, and he will eat carrots only after he's done with his other favorite treats.

Tommy's family built him a specially adapted, extra-tall stall when his growth accelerated at the age of 4. More recently, as Tommy struggles with a foot problem exacerbated by his massive size, they've enlisted the help of hoof experts and veterinarians. However, this hasn't dulled Tommy's zeal for life.

"Tommy has been known to use his horns to pluck the gate off the hinges when he is ready to go outside," Mr. Balawende's daughter Laurie Cuevas said. "One day he was walking around with the large round hay bale feeder on his head."

The docile bull has never been trained to work. "I always explain that Tommy’s job is to keep my dad young and active, and he clearly takes his task seriously," said Ms. Cuevas, adding that the beloved bull is a pet and will be buried on the farm when he passes.

The bond between Tommy and Mr. Balawende has intensified over the last 13 years. When Mr. Balawende was contacted by Guinness, he was ecstatic. Thus, Ms. Cuevas decided to submit all the evidence that was required to have Tommy's title verified.

Tommy was awarded the title of the tallest living steer, with Guinness hailing his victory as "moognificent."

"The two of them are legendary, and I knew it was a chance to capture them in history and share this wonderful pair with the world," Ms. Cuevas said.

Above all, the family is overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response they've received for the bond between Tommy and Mr. Balawende.

"To say we are thrilled doesn’t do it justice," Ms. Cuevas said.

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