Saturday, July 2, 2022

Meet Spud the Hereford Bull: An Interview with Laura Korus

Laura and her Hereford bull, Spud 

Meet Spud the Hereford Bull: An Interview with Laura Korus

by Gina McKnight
Archived from the June 2022 edition of Florida Equine Athlete
No duplication without permission.
“He was also very little and when he laid
down I thought he looked like a little potato
but I knew he wouldn’t stay little forever.”

If I were to describe a male with curly locks, high forehead, broad shoulders, and fun to be, I would definitely be describing Spud the Bull! Sometimes a pouty lip, sometimes a wee smile, Spud has won the hearts of social media around the world. Originally from Louisiana, now residing in Illinois, Spud spends his days with his owner, Laura. I am a follower of Spud on Instagram and excited to share Spud’s story.

Welcome, Laura!

GM: Everyone loves Spud! Your social media posts are so much fun! Watching your interactions with Spud and his love for you is a daily highlight! Tell us about Spud, his beginnings and how you two first met...

LK: Thank you! That is exactly why I share Spud to the world. He brings me so much joy. Why not share that happiness with everyone? Spud and I met six years ago when I was a senior in college at Louisiana Tech University. I took an animal science class where I was responsible for raising Spud and then show him in a 4H type competition as our final test for the class. Before I decided to take this class I asked my teacher if the animal I worked with could have a future because even though the animal was never going to be mine I still knew I would get attached to it. So my teacher let me have Spud, the only bull in the class who was going to go to Texas and be a breeder after the class was over. Obviously, that didn’t happen since Spud is now with me. The Texas deal fell through right before I graduated and my teacher called me saying that he no longer had that future. I was so sad because I was leaving to go back home to Illinois but I didn’t want to leave until I knew Spud was safe. Luckily, my teacher knew how important Spud was to me and offered me to keep him. Without any hesitation my answer was yes! So that summer Spud moved from Louisiana to Illinois and has been living above the Mason Dixon ever since.

Spud was a sweetheart from day one, I remember all the other students would like to pet him because he was approachable, whereas the rest of the cattle were not as much. He was also very little and when he laid down I thought he looked like a little potato but I knew he wouldn’t stay little forever so that is where he got the name Spud.

GM: He is a mighty hunk of love! How much does Spud weigh? Will he get much bigger?

LK:  Spud is definitely a big boy! My vet believes he is about 1,800 lbs. When I first met Spud he was only 300 lbs. so a lot of change has happened. He will not get any bigger. He is all grown up now but he does get extra fluffy in the wintertime which always makes him look huge!

GM: He is adorable! Training animals takes a lot of dedication and hard work. Maintaining them does, too! What does Spud have for lunch?

LK: Food is Spuds love language! He gets a bale of hay a day, half in the morning and half at night. Then he grazes on grass in his pen as much as he wants throughout the day. Since we live in Illinois, we get pretty rough winters so I give him a scoop of grain each day in the wintertime to help maintain his weight. Then grain becomes more of a treat once in a while during the warmer months.

GM: Watching Spud play with his toys, he seems to enjoy the large inflatable balls! I imagine they don't last long. What else does Spud like to do for fun?

LK:  Yes, playing with a ball is truly his favorite pastime. They definitely do not last very long, the longest one we had was for about 6 months which was a new record. Another toy he has is a tractor tire in his pen that he loves to smash his head against. Other than that, Spud enjoys napping in the sun and brushy time (which is when I brush him). His new ball is hopefully going to beat the last ball record. He plays with it every day and when he gets tired he will just rest his head on it or lay down next to it. He loves it so much!

GM: People probably wonder if Spud ever gets a 'lil out of hand. Does he ever get an attitude or bully you around when you're in his space? If he does, what do you do to keep him calm?

LK: Spud's true self is a gentle giant but he is still a bull so there are times where he gets a little rambunctious. I would never describe him as aggressive but when he shows more of his bully side I honestly just tell him to ‘knock it off’ and he snaps out of it, just like a little kid throwing a tantrum or something. I always reward him with a nice scratch on the back or under the chin to show him that I would rather him not behave that way and reward him when he is calm.

The one thing Spud has zero patience for is if someone is on his gate. It makes me laugh every time. If you have your foot up on the gate or if you are hanging out by it, he will walk right up and shove his head onto your foot knocking it off of the gate. It is so funny, I can’t explain why he doesn’t want anyone at his gate but I respect that for him and stay off of it.

GM: What advice do you have for those looking to purchase and train their first bull and keep them as a pet?

LK: My advice would be to get a bull at a young age. Spud was always a kind soul but I think my influence throughout his entire life helped him grow into himself. Respect is huge, I ask Spud to do some pretty silly things for social media but if he is showing signs of being uncomfortable or just not having it that day then I never push him to continue. Spend lots of time with them getting to know their quirks and personality, their favorite spots to be scratched and their favorite treats. All of these things help create a bond between you and the animal because trust will start to form. Be patient with them especially when that bully side comes out, and make sure to have fun together.

GM: What are your future plans for Spud? Will he eventually go with another herd, or will you keep him as the family pet?

LK:  Spud will live out his entire life with me as my pet. We will eventually be adding more animals to our little herd but Spud will go wherever I go and live out his life as the happy, silly bull that everyone knows him as.

Connect with Spud and Laura…

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