We have a very large field backing onto Foxes Filed which is usually empty. Three or four times a year when the grass gets too high, the farmer comes in and cuts it. Last week was one of those times. The grass was cut on one day, aerated the next and collected the next.
The following morning as I was drinking coffee in the orangery I heard a bit of a commotion outside. Looking up a large herd of cows were charging through the top gate into the freshly cut field, jumping, bucking and looking extremely happy. It was quite a sight to see and I continued to watch them for at least twenty minutes as they charged around the field, stopping every now and then to eat the freshly mown grass and obviously very happy with life.
As I sat there watching them and hearing them mooing I wondered if they were actually talking to each other. I then noticed they were collecting to eat in little packs and I wondered if they formed cliques as humans do. This got me to thinking that actually I didn't know anything about cows at all. Apart from the fact they ate grass, produced milk and gave birth to calves my knowledge was pretty basic. So I set about learning more about these beautiful creatures.
The colloquial term for cows is cattle although we call both sexes cows when referring to them. Only the females are called cows, the males are bulls, a young male, bull calf and young females who have not given birth are called heifers. They have approx. 22,000 genes and 80% of them are shared with humans.They do socialise like humans, living in groups and having favourite friends. Studies have shown that when separated from their friends they become stressed with their heart rate and cortisol levels rising.
Never take them up steps as their knees don't bend the right way so they can't get back down and you don't want to try carrying them! They spend up to six hours a day eating, four hours a day sleeping and drink the equivalent of a human bath tub of water each, every day.
On average a cow is two years old when she has her first calf and stops producing milk around two months before she is due to give birth to allow her calf to grow. Cows never forget their calves and can often be seen licking them when they are fully grown.
They can live until approximately twenty five years old if allowed and can smell odours from five miles away.They have almost 300 degree vision with blind spots only directly in front and behind them. So there you have it. Next time you see these beautiful creatures in the fields you will know that they are not simply eating and producing machines but fascinating animals. Until next week..... Happy Sunday x
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