A group of partiers in Boxford was sent out to pasture Sunday when a bunch of bovines decided to drop by and have a couple of brews.

“It started off with a call for loose cows in the area of Foster Street,” Boxford police Lieutenant James Riter said. “On my way down Main Street, I did see evidence that cows were in the area.”

That evidence, Riter said, was — well, let’s just say you wouldn’t want to step in it.

When the bovine bunch stopped in the frontyard of a home on Main Street, Riter directed traffic around the herd. Then the cows decided to run into the backyard, he said.

“I could hear screaming coming from the back of the house,” ­Ritter said. “When I ran around back, a group of young adults were outside enjoying the nice weather and having a few beers.

“The cows chased them away from the table they were sitting at and started drinking their beers. They knocked the beer cans over with their noses and started drinking beer right off the ­table.”

The cows — six Belted ­Galloways, to be exact — had a choice between Bud Light and Miller Lite. Riter said they seemed to prefer the Bud Light.

“When they ran out of beers on the table, one of them started to forage in the recycling to see if he could find any last drops in there,” Riter said.

Kevin Spencer, whose daughter Lauren was hosting the gathering of nursing school friends at the house, said he did not believe it when his daughter told him about the cows.

“My daughter came in and said, ‘Dad, there are cows in the backyard,’ ” he said. “I said ‘Stop the party; you’ve all been drinking too much!’ ”

Police arrived on the scene and attempted to disperse the cows.

Boxford Police Department

Cows drinking

Riter said the police dispatcher called the cows’ owner, who gathered a few friends to help herd them back home.

“Myself and another officer blocked traffic; we had one cruiser in front of the cows, and I followed behind them,” Riter said. “We marched them about three-quarters of a mile up Main Street where they belonged.”

Pat Canonica , who is hosting the cows at Rock Maple Farm in West Boxford, said the animals belong to his son, who has a farm in New Hampshire, and that he has fattened them up for the past few weeks. He said the cows were probably drawn to the bustle of the party.

“They probably heard the voices,” he said. “They’re very friendly.”

Canonica also said his son sometimes feeds the cows the residue of hops, an ingredient in beer.

“Never have they gone so far and seemed to enjoy themselves so much,” he said of the cows’ party time.

Riter, a 21-year veteran of the Boxford police force, said he has had his share of encounters with the animal kingdom.

“I’ve been chased by Texas longhorns, chased by an ornery horned goat and his friend the donkey,” Riter said. “Once I had a snapping turtle invade a 5-year-old’s birthday party and then refuse to leave the cruiser when we transported it.”

No one was injured Sunday night, he said, and there was no property damage.

“I went by where they keep the cows the next morning and they were all laying down,” Spencer said. “I don’t know if they had a headache or what.”

Globe correspondent Zachary T. Sampson contributed to this report. Colin A. Young can be reached at colin.young@globe.