Our Visits to Flying Cow Ranch

Located in Tongxiao Township of Miaoli County, Flying Cow Ranch (飞牛牧场) is a popular leisure ranch (休闲农场) among Taiwanese and overseas tourists. The features of the ranch included on-site accommodation, food and beverage services, interaction with ranch animals and DIY activities.

We first visited the Flying Cow Ranch during our 2013 family trip. Our little ones were very taken with the place so much so that we made a repeat visit in 2016 to the Ranch at their request. The place was little changed from what it was like 3 years ago.

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We again took a family loft room (温馨阁家) for 6 persons. This room type is very limited in number and not listed in their online room booking system. But as we had stayed in the same room type before in 2013, we emailed to inquire and booked the room. At a 15% discount, we paid NT$5,610 for the night’s stay, inclusive of breakfast. Check-in was listed at 3pm and check-out at 11am but when we arrived on the dot for check-in, the room was still not ready.

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There are 2 double beds and 2 single beds in the spacious room.

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The attached bathroom.

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The tea and coffee making facility, fridge, toiletries and towels tucked neatly underneath the staircase.

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Vouchers were given upon check-in for breakfast, night time activity and a bottle of milk each. The milk vouchers can be exchanged for original or caramel flavoured milk at the designated exchange locations.

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Here’s the map of the 50-hectares ranch compound which is open to public:


Image courtesy of Flying Cow Ranch

This time we did not take 飞牛一号 for a guided introductory trip around the ranch (photos below are from our 2013 trip). Fare was at NT$150/adult and NT$100/child for a ride on the farm tractor drawn wagon. There was no stop at the Barn (乳牛专业饲养区) where their dairy cattle are kept. We just got to look into the barn from afar. There are two breeds of dairy cattle on this ranch: the Holstein cows (with their famous black and white coat) and the Jersey cows (which come in various shades of brown).

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We made a pit stop Butterfly Area (蝴蝶生态区), just long enough for our 飞牛一号 guide to bring us round for a quick explanation on the life cycle of a butterfly and the species of butterflies present in this enclosed garden. They even have real butterfly eggs, caterpillars and pupae here on display. At least now we know that 蛹 = pupa (or chrysalis). The chrysalides displayed here were in a beautiful golden colour.

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This butterfly is native to Taiwan. From this picture, you would be able to tell that they’re not the usual small butterflies we see at home. Well, they’re big! Just make the hand sign for the number ‘six’; that’s how big this butterfly can grow up to be.

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Ranch Animals

This time around, we spent most of our time at the Pasture Animals Area, where the sheep, goats, dairy cattle and rabbits are. My little ones could spend hours after hours feeding the animals on the ranch. Each pack of feed or food (dried grass or vegetables) was sold at NT$10, so was the fresh corn plant used for feeding the goats. The ranch is well-kept and clean. The air even smelt fresh, except for the Rabbits’ House where there was a sniff of animal scent.

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Flying Cow Ranch called the little corners ‘Honesty Shop’. No one mans the ‘shops’. ‘Patrons’ just walk in and drop NT$10 into the coin boxes before collecting the feeds. Good way to teach children honesty. My observation was that the vast majority paid up, except for a very small handful of tourists who did not.
Tip: Get lots of NT$10 change ready to avoid the hassle of having to get them changed again and again in the shops.

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During our earlier trip, we got to feed little ducklings with feed and young goats with milk.

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This time around, no little duckling was found and young goats were fed with dried grass instead. (Did the ducklings grow up to be those duck bb in the parade?)

Sheep Area (绵羊生态区)
This is my little one’s favourite; feeding the Barbados Black Belly Sheep with stalks of maize plants. The sheep have good appetites and jostled with each other for a share of the food. So we were stuck there with DL and CL feeding them again and again and again. Bon Appetite.

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Goat Area (黑山羊生态区)
DL and CL were brave enough to pop the food pellets into the goats’ (黑山羊) mouths after some initial resistance. We also tried feeding via a ‘pulley system’, sending food up to the goat standing on a narrow ‘overhead bridge’:

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Rabbits’ House (兔宝宝的家)
There were around 20 or so rabbits within the Rabbits’ House, which always appeared to be lazing around or napping.
Tip: Try to get there early if you’re keen on feeding them. They have small appetites and once they were full, they did not show much interest in the green vegetables we dangled or threw to them.

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Ranch Activities

Baby ducks parade (鸭BB大游行) – 10am, 1.45pm, 4pm (weekends only)
DL’s personal favourite, 鸭BB大游行 (loosely translated to baby ducks parade though they did not look a bit like babies). The ducks came running in and out at the cue from the ranch staff armed with lots of animal feed. We went for both sessions in a day. During the morning session, when the crowd was sparse, we even got to feed them. We were told that the ducks’ tails are soft to touch and encouraged to do so. It was really kind of fun running after the ducks for a touch at their tails.
Tip: Go for the morning session when the crowd is likely to be comparatively lesser as most of those who came for morning session have stayed overnight at the ranch. The afternoon session is likely to have more day-trippers.

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Feeding little Calves (喂小牛喝𠄎乀𠄎乀教学活动) – 9.30am, 3pm
This is a popular activity in the animal zone. Each child in the queue gets a bottle to feed the 2 young calves.
Tip: Do get into the queue early. The ranch feeds the young cows a fixed amount of milk during each session. Those joining the queue late may be disappointed.

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Milking the Cows (牛妈妈家挤𠄎乀𠄎乀教学活动) – 7am, 11am, 2.15pm, 5pm
Our little ones tried their hands at milking the cow. There is a certain minimum height requirement before the children are allowed to participate in this activity. Those below the required height are only allowed to touch the cow’s udder. A good lesson for them to know where cow’s milk milk is from.

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Do-It-Yourself Activity
Note: The DIY activities may differ from time to time. Please check with the front desk on their availability.

Flying Cow Ranch also conducts DIY activities in their 飞飞教室,姍姗教室,巴多教室 DIY Rooms. We did 4 different sessions in 2013 using complimentary vouchers (we stayed 3 nights then). These activities (except for Dorayaki making) were still available when we re-visited last December. This time around, we were not given any complimentary voucher, but there was a free night time activity for those staying overnight. The night time activity certainly helped to make our stay more enjoyable as there was nothing much to do at night, except be couch potatoes.

Additional fees are payable for other individual/group activities and they are priced differently (price below as per 2016 price list). Do note that they also have packages for the activities.

Baking Cookies
Night time activity during our Dec 2016 stay was baking cookies. This was a free group activity included in our accommodation rate. We were grouped 10 to a table with 4 of us sharing a set of ingredients. It was a fun 1 hr 30 mins session though the cookies tasted just average.

For all baking activities, pre-measured ingredients were labelled and given out to the participants in sets. Instructions were given in Mandarin, set-by-step to guide us through. In the spirit of Doing-It-Yourself, all participants had to clean and wash up after finishing.

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Flying Cow painting (彩绘肥牛) – NT$150 per cow; duration: 60 mins
DL and CL painted two cow-shaped ceramic piggy banks (彩绘肥牛) to bring home as souvenirs. Each of our little painter was given a plain clay piggy bank and a carrier box, for them to display their artistic talents.

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Little painters at work, each with a palette but sharing the paint and brushes.

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Message in a bottle (摇滚瓶中信) – NT$100 per bottle; duration: 40 mins
In this activity, we got to try our hands at making butter and after which, we created little message in a bottle (摇滚瓶中信) to bring home.

First, we were given little bottles of cream. There’s only one step to making butter: just shake, shake, shake the bottle till the cream turned into a curd. It took us approximately 10 mins and great arm strength to accomplish that though. The little lump of butter in the photo below was proudly made by Mummy and tasted surprisingly good with a bun and dash of salt.

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We then proceeded to the craftwork. Each set of material consisted of the bottle we used to make butter (washed and dried), a mobile phone accessory, and craft materials. The steps to getting the ornament assembled were simple enough and we’re done with them in no time.

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Mini cupcakes (牛奶鸡蛋糕) – NT$380 (3 pax)/ NT$600 (5 pax); duration: 60 mins
All 6 of us attempted the baking together for this activity. The boys did a good job handling the egg white mixture, while us the girls took care of the yolk mixture.

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Presenting our mini cupcakes. They didn’t look pretty, but they tasted yummy!

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Food & Beverage

There are several food & beverage options on the ranch. During our visits, we dined at all their F&B outlets, except for BBQ which required a minimum of 10 diners in a group.

Red Barn Restaurant (红谷仓)
We had 2 dinners at Red Barn Restaurant enjoying their Western set meals and spaghetti. Each set meal came with a soup and the ranch’s signature milk pudding dessert, which we all loved. We’ve got to prick the ‘balloon’ with a toothpick to enjoy the original or red tea flavored milk dessert.

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Cow’s Hot Pot (犇牛牛火锅餐厅 )
We had dinner at the 犇牛牛火锅餐厅 (Cow’s Hot Pot) trying their famed milk-based steamboat. The photo below is their standard set with a choice of meat (pork or chicken).
Tip: Get to the restaurant early to queue for a table. They don’t take reservations so the dining party has to physically be in the queue.

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Flying Cow Restaurant (飞牛餐厅)
The big dining hall of Flying Cow Restaurant was where we had our breakfasts during our stay. The predominantly Chinese-style breakfast buffet offered a choice of noodles, porridge, salad, bread, french fries and side dishes.

Flying Cow Restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner serving Chinese cuisine. We tried their signature milk-based soup 金沙牛奶锅 for dinner but didn’t really like that.

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Flying Cow Fast Food Restaurant
Flying Cow Fast Food Restaurant offers Western fast food, with choice of burgers, french fries, fried chicken and children’s meals. It is the place to go for cheapest meal on-site and of course fastest.

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Having visited the ranch twice, we would love to visit it again if opportunity arises. A well-run leisure farm with family bonding activities, it was time well-spent for us during our stay. The interaction with the ranch animals was particularly valuable for our urban kids. The only down-side if i may say is that as expected, we did not have any other dining choices other than what was available on the Ranch but luckily the food was reasonably good.

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Useful information:
Address: No.166, Nanho Village, Tongxiao Town, Miaoli Country 35750, Taiwan
Website: Flying Cow Ranch

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