In chapter 13, Mo, Finchy, and several farm animals bake the BEST apple pie in the world. One of those animals is a cow. Most people have seen cows on a farm or at a county fair, but if you’re like me, you know very little about them. I’ve since learned that there’s a lot more to cows than you think…
For starters, cows are generally very social animals. They tend to live in small herds of 20 to 30 animals, recognize each other as individuals, and actually have friends they prefer. So how do BFFs spend their time together? They may graze or rest next to each other, or even lick the heads, necks and backs of others as a way of relaxing, reinforcing relationships, or bonding.
Besides “mooing”, they also communicate with body language. They may position their head, limbs, and tail a certain way and even display facial expressions. For example, when a cow’s tail is hanging down, she’s relaxed. But if the tail is tucked between her legs, she is either in pain, scared, or cold. If her tail is raised, she is exploring or alert to possible threats.
Here are 5 mooo(re) facts about cows:
- Cows can see 330 degrees around them, which is almost an all-around view. While the color red is difficult for them to see, they can see yellows, greens, and blues.
- The natural life of a cow is generally twenty years. You can figure out a cow’s age by looking at its teeth or the number of rings in its horns.
- Cows lay around most of the time, in fact, up to 10 hours a day! But they don’t need much sleep. They sleep around thirty minutes in deep sleep, between six and ten times a day.
- They also have a strong sense of smell. They can smell odors up to six miles away!
- Cows can hear both high and low sounds or frequencies that humans cannot hear.
They don’t all look alike…
Not all cows are the same. There are beef cows, milk cows, and different breeds. Even if they appear alike, no two cows have exactly the same spots or patterns.
When compared to milk cows, beef cattle have a stockier build and come in a variety of colors and shades: red, black, white, gray, brown and yellow.
Dairy cattle come in other colors: brown, tan, silver, gold and white, and red and white. It all depends on the breed.
Likewise, all cows are cattle, BUT not all cattle are cows. Here’s the difference:
- Bull: An adult male used for breeding.
- Cow: An adult female that has had at least one calf.
- Steer: An adult male that’s neutered.
- Heifer: A female that has never had a calf.
- Calf: A baby cow, male or female.
- Herd: A group of cattle.
Yes, that’s right – there are famous cows! In fact, some cows have made history.
- There’s Mrs. O’Leary cow, who was accused of kicking over a kerosene lantern sparking a deadly two-day inferno that pretty much destroyed Chicago in 1871. (But the cow claimed she was innocent).
- Let’s not forget Pauline Wayne, a cow owned by President William Taft, the 27th US President, who loved dairy products. As a presidential pet and food source, Pauline lived at the White House from 1910 to 1913.
- Even though she wasn’t human, a cow called Maudine Ormsby was named Ohio State University’s homecoming queen in 1926.
- In 1949, another cow in Yukon, Oklahoma named Grady captured the nation’s attention after getting stuck in a grain silo for three days. After being covered with grease, a team of men pushed her from behind while others pulled on the rope attached to her halter or headcollar. She was eventually able to squeeze through the silo’s small opening with hardly a scratch.
- Many years later, in 2002, a middle-aged cow named Cincinnati Freedom, also known as Charlene Moo-ken, hopped over the six-foot-tall perimeter fence of a Cincinnati slaughterhouse and made a run for it. Everyone was rooting for her. After her 11-day standoff with animal control officials, she was moved to a farm sanctuary where she lived out the rest of her life.
Do you have a story that you’d like to share about a cow? Email us and we’ll post it on Mo’s social media pages along with your first name, age, and state where you live!