AN American couple are giving their herd of Highland cows a good start in life – by cuddling them.
Adam Hopson and his wife, Emily, are hopelessly in love with their herd of 22 “Heilan’ Coos” which live on their farm in North Carolina.
The pair have built up a following of 5,000 on Instagram after posting impossibly cute pictures of them cuddling bemused-looking calves.
The snaps show Adam, 31, sat with a Highland calf on his lap and holding one over his shoulders.
In one picture he cradles a newborn which will eventually grow to weigh almost a ton.
Other pictures show a baby cow in the back of their car after the farm truck broke down, and in another Adam perches atop a massive bull.
The pictures are so popular that people from as far away as Russia, Saudi Arabia and Australia have shared them.
And Adam revealed that all the calves they have sold went to people who had contacted them via their Instagram page or Craigslist.
All of the cows raised on their Happy Hens and Highlands farm – 3,600 miles from their ancestral homeland – are sold for breeding, to hobby farms and for pets.
The couple, who live 45 miles north of Asheville – describe the animals as “big babies” and are able to pick them up and cuddle them until they are about a month old.
Adam said: “People love the photos, we have people contacting us all the time wanting to see the babies.
“Most of the cows are really gentle…we name every one of them. All of our customers send us photos and updates of the babies they have bought from us.
“Our herd is composed of Scottish Highlands and Scottish Highland crosses. They are primarily grass fed but occasionally receive local beer grains as treats.
“They are interacted with daily, so are very docile. Currently we don’t do farm tours but hopefully in the near future we will start doing that.”
The farm was set up in 2014 despite the couple having no cattle trailer, no experience and no pasture.
The idea has been years in the making – 30-year-old Emily saw a picture of a Highland cow when she was young and decided that one day she would own one.
The couple also currently have 300 chickens which they sell to upscale restaurants for meat.
Both Adam and Emily have Scottish ancestry, but have never visited Scotland themselves.
“It’s a dream of ours to travel there,” Adam said.