Racing Cows

Min Bannister

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#31
Bulls are another matter. We did not have bulls on a dairy farm. I don't trust bulls.
Dairy bulls are scary. Beef bulls are nicer. We passed a field on the bus the other week in which there was a man scratching a bull (Limousin or similar-I am not great with cattle breeds) and the bull was loving it. The man seemed quite happy too!
(*Fellow Scots speakers....is it 'weeched' or 'wheeched'? I've often wondered. But I've never written or spelt the word until today, despite having used it for well over half a century)
Wheeched I would say.
 

Naughty_Felid

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#32
I grew up on a dairy farm. Yes cows follow each other. They do seem to have a lead cow. When I would herd them from the field to the barn, I would only have to get one to start moving (getting one to move was the real task) and the others would follow. Once they got used to the routine, as they were only out in the field in the summer/fall months, they would walk themselves up to the barn for milking and usually it was the same lead cow in the front.

Cattle seem to be curious and will watch things going on.

Never get between a cow and her calf. She will charge at you if you are too close.

As to whether a cow will run around you if it, or the herd is frightened, I don't know. Though, I have heard that cows are supposed to be more intelligent than horses for this reason. Cows (apparently) will run around you if frightened; whereas horses will run over you. I have never had a horse and I value my well being too much to be a test subject with cattle.

Making pets with cattle can be tricky as well. We never did this because of their size. If a cow becomes too familiar with you, and, for example, you happen to be standing between her and a wall, she might like to have a back scratch or something and lean into you and possibly pin you against the wall. Any amount of shouting or trying to get her to move might be ineffective as she is familiar with you and not startled. People have been injured/killed this way. I am definitely not saying that I would intentionally frighten cattle, but when you really need one to move for you, you need her to at least pay attention you.

Each cow also has her own personality and some can be mean. Some will intentionally head butt you or kick you if you get close enough. So I keep my distance from strange cows.

Bulls are another matter. We did not have bulls on a dairy farm. I don't trust bulls.
That was a brilliant post thank you!
 

XBergMann

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#33
A few minutes ago at 4 pm I was driving along a 2-lane well-used paved county road that has small farm fields on both sides. On one side the farmer has a herd of about 25 black and white dairy cows. I noted that the herd was running, really sprinting, in a messy V shape following the cow at the head, down the pasture more or less toward the outbuildings of the farm. I'm a city girl, I've seen cows walking sedately in a group to be milked or fed, or wander over to greet a human they know who may be holding a treat, but I've never seen them gallop. I couldn't see the entire field but I didn't see anything scary running behind them. Does anyone know what was going on?
The V shape gives it away, they were trying to copy their friends ... the geese ... and fly south for the winter, they would have been young cows who haven't fully come to terms with the heavier than air nature of their existence
 

Sollywos

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#34
Bulls are another matter. We did not have bulls on a dairy farm. I don't trust bulls.
My uncle was head cowman on a farm, I used to enjoy going to the agricultural shows with him and feeling proud when he paraded round the ring with his prize winning cows/bulls and got to shake hands with minor royalty.

One day his son aged four had got permission to go down the lane to meet his dad on his way home for lunch. Uncle arrived home without him much to my aunt's concern so they rushed back to the farm. They found him just setting off back home apparently unconcerned and wondering what all the fuss was about as:-

'I only went to say hello to the bull and he hit me on the head but I've had a little sleep and I'm OK now' !!!!

I hasten to add that the bull was in his stall and the four year old had had to climb on something to reach his head to give it a friendly pat! ...... something he'd been told not to do!!

No damage had been done and by the time I was going round the shows with my aunt and uncle my cousin was away at vetinary college. Clearly his curiousity about animals had continued in spite of his early experience of being knocked out!!

Sollywos x
 

poozler

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#35
Cattle seem to be curious and will watch things going on.
When I was a child, I was a renowned cry-baby. I had a crying fit beside a fenced-in field and my sobs drew all the cows to the fence. My mother and sisters laughed their faces off, provoking more tears from me and more interest by even more cows. It was a vicious circle that stopped spinning 'round until we ran out of cows.
 

Bad Bungle

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#36
I was a teenager in the late '70's and my father gave me a farm job in the Summer holidays as a means of earning some cash (or maybe just to get me out of bed). I'd gather the cows up at the Dairy after the morning milking and herd them down a long track to a field that had good pasture but no water trough. As brownmane said, there was always a lead cow but every day I noticed the same old stubborn matriarch (No. 69 'Daisy') at the back as the last cow. At lunch-time I would move the cows to another field on the opposite side of the track that had a water supply. That was the end of my duties as the cows would be picked from there for the evening milking and returned for the night.

The mind-numbingly boring part of the job was keeping an eye on the cows for the four hours they were in the first field. This was because the field was bounded on three sides by a barb wire fence separating the cows from a far bigger crop-field of young Barley. Give cows a field of good pasture and at any opportunity they will try to poke their head over, under or through the fence to eat the barley. But after the first few weeks of me patrolling the fence, the cows got the message and didn't try it so often. I had no radio, Walkmans hadn't been invented, there were too many large tempting targets for the air rifle, just me and my thoughts. Grief .. bovine-watching was dull.
By week four I was snapped out of my reverie by a strong mental flash in vivid colour of a close-up section of the fence, together with a strong conviction that this place would prove a pleasurable place to be. I recognised the section as being about 80 yards away - looking up I saw there were no cows near that part of the field, looking down I was surprised to find myself already running. As I halved the distance I noticed one cow mid-field motionless but staring at the spot I was heading for. A couple of seconds later two more cows with their backs to me suddenly lifted their heads and stared at the same spot. I swear blind all three cows didn't hear or see me as they started a run for the fence. We all arrived at the same spot at the same time and if you can imagine surprise on a cow's face, then what I got was bug-eyed astonishment.
 

Scribbles

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#37
I was a teenager in the late '70's and my father gave me a farm job in the Summer holidays as a means of earning some cash (or maybe just to get me out of bed). I'd gather the cows up at the Dairy after the morning milking and herd them down a long track to a field that had good pasture but no water trough. As brownmane said, there was always a lead cow but every day I noticed the same old stubborn matriarch (No. 69 'Daisy') at the back as the last cow. At lunch-time I would move the cows to another field on the opposite side of the track that had a water supply. That was the end of my duties as the cows would be picked from there for the evening milking and returned for the night.

The mind-numbingly boring part of the job was keeping an eye on the cows for the four hours they were in the first field. This was because the field was bounded on three sides by a barb wire fence separating the cows from a far bigger crop-field of young Barley. Give cows a field of good pasture and at any opportunity they will try to poke their head over, under or through the fence to eat the barley. But after the first few weeks of me patrolling the fence, the cows got the message and didn't try it so often. I had no radio, Walkmans hadn't been invented, there were too many large tempting targets for the air rifle, just me and my thoughts. Grief .. bovine-watching was dull.
By week four I was snapped out of my reverie by a strong mental flash in vivid colour of a close-up section of the fence, together with a strong conviction that this place would prove a pleasurable place to be. I recognised the section as being about 80 yards away - looking up I saw there were no cows near that part of the field, looking down I was surprised to find myself already running. As I halved the distance I noticed one cow mid-field motionless but staring at the spot I was heading for. A couple of seconds later two more cows with their backs to me suddenly lifted their heads and stared at the same spot. I swear blind all three cows didn't hear or see me as they started a run for the fence. We all arrived at the same spot at the same time and if you can imagine surprise on a cow's face, then what I got was bug-eyed astonishment.
OMG! That is, without a doubt, the strangest story that I have ever read on here, and that's really saying something!
 

Lb8535

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#38
I was a teenager in the late '70's and my father gave me a farm job in the Summer holidays as a means of earning some cash (or maybe just to get me out of bed). I'd gather the cows up at the Dairy after the morning milking and herd them down a long track to a field that had good pasture but no water trough. As brownmane said, there was always a lead cow but every day I noticed the same old stubborn matriarch (No. 69 'Daisy') at the back as the last cow. At lunch-time I would move the cows to another field on the opposite side of the track that had a water supply. That was the end of my duties as the cows would be picked from there for the evening milking and returned for the night.

The mind-numbingly boring part of the job was keeping an eye on the cows for the four hours they were in the first field. This was because the field was bounded on three sides by a barb wire fence separating the cows from a far bigger crop-field of young Barley. Give cows a field of good pasture and at any opportunity they will try to poke their head over, under or through the fence to eat the barley. But after the first few weeks of me patrolling the fence, the cows got the message and didn't try it so often. I had no radio, Walkmans hadn't been invented, there were too many large tempting targets for the air rifle, just me and my thoughts. Grief .. bovine-watching was dull.
By week four I was snapped out of my reverie by a strong mental flash in vivid colour of a close-up section of the fence, together with a strong conviction that this place would prove a pleasurable place to be. I recognised the section as being about 80 yards away - looking up I saw there were no cows near that part of the field, looking down I was surprised to find myself already running. As I halved the distance I noticed one cow mid-field motionless but staring at the spot I was heading for. A couple of seconds later two more cows with their backs to me suddenly lifted their heads and stared at the same spot. I swear blind all three cows didn't hear or see me as they started a run for the fence. We all arrived at the same spot at the same time and if you can imagine surprise on a cow's face, then what I got was bug-eyed astonishment.
Shepherding, particularly by children, is an ancient profession. Not surprising that deprived of modern distractions you were in tune with the cows. Did you also meet Pan?
 

Scribbles

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#39
Just as a weird little aside to all this cow talk, last year there was an interesting program I can't remember the name of, but I think it was early evening, BBC 2, and it followed a handful of independent farms in Scotland.

One of the guys they followed had a huge herd of cows with horns, and he had at one time been seriously gored by one cow, but this didn't seem to have dented his love for them. Anyway, this guy was having trouble with "Cow 22" who was even more protective of her calf than the other mothers and something of a rebel. I really felt for Cow 22 because she just wouldn't submit to the system but she had no idea how futile her rebellion was.

So I'm writing a dystopian in which the state controls mothers and children.... aaaand so if you ever see a book for sale called Mother 22, that's me!
 

Bad Bungle

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#43
So I'm writing a dystopian in which the state controls mothers and children.... aaaand so if you ever see a book for sale called Mother 22, that's me!
As an adult I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the concept of Dairy farming. I am grateful that a gene mutation in a European ancestor 10,000 years ago allows me to be lactose-tolerant, but it's just the idea of ensuring a lactating mother is made pregnant again to keep the milk flowing. Very good luck with the book.
 

Lb8535

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#45
As an adult I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the concept of Dairy farming. I am grateful that a gene mutation in a European ancestor 10,000 years ago allows me to be lactose-tolerant, but it's just the idea of ensuring a lactating mother is made pregnant again to keep the milk flowing. Very good luck with the book.
Agreed, I was at one point entranced with keeping two goats (for company) for milk until I discovered the requirement. Too cruel, and what can you do with the goatlings. Unless you want a herd you will offer them up for stew
 

Scribbles

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#47
As an adult I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the concept of Dairy farming. I am grateful that a gene mutation in a European ancestor 10,000 years ago allows me to be lactose-tolerant, but it's just the idea of ensuring a lactating mother is made pregnant again to keep the milk flowing. Very good luck with the book.
This is exactly why I use the dairy industry as an analogy in the book, because it is the use of mothers and their babies to produce a consumer product on a mass scale, which is not an easy thing for anyone with a heart to think about.

Thanks for the well wishes with the book :)
 

Ogdred Weary

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#48
Many years ago I decided to walk along a public footpath which went through a large field with several cows, they were for the most part at the far end of the field and I could pass without going particularly near them. As I got about halfway towards them one lone cow that was nearest, raised its head. watched me and then started trotting towards me with purpose. I stopped and so did it. I started again, more nervously, and it did the same thing. It was clearly a warning and not curiosity, so I headed back, I was already slightly wary of being in a field with such large animals anyway. That said I've walked though fields of cows and they've all completely ignored me, not in moderate interest several times before and since. I don't recall if there were any calves but there may have been.

On another occasion a few years later I was walking, again on a footpath, this time next to, rather than in, a farmer's field. There was some sort of embankment on one side so I couldn't see into the field, as it came to an end and the field came into view, around a dozen, small, black cows with large horns (no idea of the breed but very distinctive looking) ran up to the part of their enclosure nearest me and all stared in unison. It was very unnerving. I have no idea if I startled them or if they thought it was milking time, though I've seen cows walk sedately yo be milked, these ran but they were all very interested in me. I was walking alone and not making any noise.
 

Lb8535

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#49
Many years ago I decided to walk along a public footpath which went through a large field with several cows, they were for the most part at the far end of the field and I could pass without going particularly near them. As I got about halfway towards them one lone cow that was nearest, raised its head. watched me and then started trotting towards me with purpose. I stopped and so did it. I started again, more nervously, and it did the same thing. It was clearly a warning and not curiosity, so I headed back, I was already slightly wary of being in a field with such large animals anyway. That said I've walked though fields of cows and they've all completely ignored me, not in moderate interest several times before and since. I don't recall if there were any calves but there may have been.

On another occasion a few years later I was walking, again on a footpath, this time next to, rather than in, a farmer's field. There was some sort of embankment on one side so I couldn't see into the field, as it came to an end and the field came into view, around a dozen, small, black cows with large horns (no idea of the breed but very distinctive looking) ran up to the part of their enclosure nearest me and all stared in unison. It was very unnerving. I have no idea if I startled them or if they thought it was milking time, though I've seen cows walk sedately yo be milked, these ran but they were all very interested in me. I was walking alone and not making any noise.
From the comments here it sounds as though they're very bored and will come over to check out anything.
 

Bad Bungle

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#50
I was going to put this in the Farming thread months ago, but I detected a hint of ambivalence towards Farmers. People seem less judgemental about livestock so I'm putting it here - it is about cows but it's not Fortean, it is not new science (40 years old) but it was my first Scientific epiphany. It doesn't warrant a new thread unless a Mod with filing OCD wants to move it.

Cows : Evolved to eat grass* but not evolved to digest it. For Goodness Sake.
*(see also coat toggles, dahlias, yew berries, ragwort, psilocybin, plastic-coated tractor wires)

Mid 1960's Primary School : Cows eat grass, cows cannot digest grass. They have special bacteria in their tummy that release a chemical to break down the grass into sugars. Things were more altruistic in the 60's

Mid 1970's Big School: Cows eat grass, cows cannot digest grass. The bacteria still didn't get names but the enzyme they release is called cellulase. This breaks down the cellulose plant cell walls and the released sugars, together with some of the bacteria, passes into the first chamber of the cow's stomach. This didn't seem fair on the bacteria, things were more cynical in the 70's

Mid 1980' Polytechnic, Mature student majoring in Microbiology & Ecology: Cows eat grass, cows cannot digest grass. I was doing a little late-night background reading in Energetics which is the study of energy flow (calories) through an ecosystem. Typically you measure the amount of sunlight falling on a patch of growing grass and determine the conversion rate of solar energy into plant protein. The grass gets eaten (eg by a cow) and the plant protein becomes herbivore protein with energy lost through respiration, evaporation, excretion (cow pats have their own ecosystem) and so on. Herbivore protein ends up as carnivore and scavenger protein in the great Circle of Life.
There was a young Researcher (outstanding in his Field) about 5 years earlier who made two observations, both of which were already well known but he put them together. One concerned the nature of bacteria utilising a food source: bacteria are not altruistic, they do not share or ration food - they eat and eat and eat, multiply, multiply, multiply (or divide, divide, divide) until the food supply is exhausted and the population crashes through starvation. Were it otherwise, Adam and Eve would have been up to their non-existent navals in bacteria after Day One in the Garden. So the amount of "free" sugar released in a cow's stomach is very small.
His second observation was that, relative to the amount of free sugar available, a cow is very large (even when far away). That was the epiphany, the light-bulb moment when I went from bacteria enabling a cow to feed off grass to a cow eating grass to feed the bacteria. These are grown up in the multi-chambered stomach acting as a bio-fermenter and they are what the cow digests and thrives on.
 
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#54
When I was a university Senior doing field work, I spent several weeks in a mountain range in Nevada. There were quite a few cattle in the area, mostly cows. After spending most of the day looking at rocks, we would be picked up by a van and taken back to camp. We would occasionally encounter a cow standing in the middle of the road. The cow would always wait for a while and then, when it was obvious that we were not going to go around it, it would turn around and run directly away from us. Now, the cows would never leave the road, I guess because it was easier to run on the road. Eventually, the road would curve and the cow would continue going straight!
 

EnolaGaia

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#58
Every time I see the thread title, I think of cows with numbers painted on them, or cows with jockeys atop.
Mud races with teams of 2 cows is a 'thing' in Southeastern Asia ...

Mud-Cow-Race-A.jpg

Jockey-style racing of individual cows is a 'thing' in Germany ...

the-most-german-things-that-ever-happened-1-13454-1371828885-14_big.jpg

Then again, you may be thinking of the more sedate and fashionably snooty British approach ...

889-side_car_cow.jpg

:evillaugh:
 
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