Residents in a village cul-de-sac were awoken by the “sound of mooing” when about 40 cows invaded their street.
Homeowners in Maulden, Bedfordshire, were disturbed by the herd outside their window at about 07:00 BST.
Rob Morris, who lives on John Bunyan Close, said he and some neighbours teamed up to pen the escaped cattle into a driveway until help came.
The animals were eventually reclaimed by an “apologetic” farmer and taken home with a police escort, he said.
‘Poo down the road’
Full-time carer Mr Morris said he and his wife first spotted the cows in a field behind their house.
“They started doing what cows do, eating grass, before they came down a walkway and onto the close through a footpath,” he said.
“We didn’t want to get them onto the main road – it would have been chaotic – so shuffled them upwards and on to a driveway.”
Mr Morris said a “breakaway group” of 15 animals went back onto the big field, and were later picked up by the farmer.
“He told us to say sorry to the neighbours. Some of the gardens got a bit churned up and pooed on.
“As they left there was poo all the way down the road,” he added.
‘A nice surprise’
The farmer and a police officer then ushered the rest out of the driveway onto the main road.
“They were just jogging down the main road with a police escort,” said Mr Morris of the “bizarre” experience.
The owner of the driveway, which was “the only place we could contain them”, will get a “nice surprise” when they get back, Mr Morris said.
Bedfordshire Police later announced the “breaking moos” on its Twitter account.
The force said an officer “moo-ved the cows back to the farm with the help of the farmer” and reassured animal lovers the herd wasn’t “udder investigation”.
A spokeswoman added: “We received a number of calls [on Tuesday] from residents in Maulden that a herd of cows was loose in the village.
“At around 08:00 BST, an officer attended and moved the cows back to the farm with the help of the farmer.”