Cows Are Talking...Are We Listening?
Updated: May 24, 2020
Yes cows talk to each other and there is even research that shows how cows communicate!
We have been able to see for ourselves how cattle express their instinctual behaviors because of the way we mimic nature with our Management Intensive Grazing (MIG) techniques. Cattle are very social creatures with each having their own role, family, and friends.
Each animal is different in how they behave. There is a leader that leads the herd to new pasture or sets the pace and direction that they graze across the paddock. There are always the same stragglers bringing up the rear. A couple cows act as nannies, watching over several of the calves during the day while their mothers graze. And a few, who are more loners, are off by themselves to enjoy the peace and quiet. Then there are the ones that are always posing for a picture and keeping close to people!
We often notice our Mother cows with their 2 year old, 1 year old, and baby calf clustering together in the pasture together. Different cows associate with each other. Plus when a calf is born, everybody rushes to see the new life and offer the protection of herd power. Nothing is random and the behaviors develop over time because our management allows them to.
So when I ran across this article about a PhD student doing her research about how cows communicate with each other, it confirmed a lot of things that we see. Grunting utterances issue a warning to stay away from her calf. The moos of a cow and calf searching for each other at supper time. Then the sounds of excitement as the herd moves a distance to the next field. All sounds are different and all have a special different message.
When we learn to listen and see, we can be better managers of our herd. This is the essence of animal husbandry. Enjoy this article: