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Cow Psychology

by Cowboy Jerry (c) 1997

Pasture cows are jealous of cows that have been kept in the corral and fed for awhile, even if they have been sick. Be expecting the pasture cows to not give them a very good reception when you release them back to the pasture.

Never feed cows using your dress-up "Sunday pickup". Cows don’t know any better than to bump into it and lick the road-grime off of it. They leave big cow licks all over it.

Hoe handle across the head may be the best way to train cows to keep their nose out your business.

If you see a new baby calf running as fast as he can go with his tail curled over his back and waving like a happy flag, then smile with him, he just had dinner.

Cow’s tongues are as coarse as the most coarse grade of sandpaper; if you want to see or feel one just stick out you hand with molasses all over it, the cow will do the rest.

Don’t ask a rancher how many cows he has; if he only has a few he don’t want you to know. If he has a lot, he won’t know how many and he don’t want you to know. He probably won’t ask you how much money you have in the bank.

Only ask ranchers three questions; "How’s the cattle market, up or down?", "Have you got enough stock water?", "Have you got enough winter grazing or hay this year?"

Cows don’t like anything done to them at any age, so if it involves pain do it while they are young.

The lead cow is always watching to see if you are coming with feed.

The lead cow keeps everyone informed of your whereabouts.

The lead cow takes everyone to the best hay or grazing.

If you sell the lead cow another cow will take her place and do exactly the same thing.

The lead cow only loses credibility if she tells the herd you are coming with feed and it turns out you are not.

Credibility doesn’t mean a lot to cows and forgiveness comes easily.

Mother cows can forget where they left their babies, but if the cow is any good she keep looking and bellowing until the calf stands up and says "here I am mama".

Cows will bed down their baby calves and leave them alone with the varmints and the elements until time for the next feeding; sometimes as long as six to eight hours.

Cows tell baby calves to be still and not move until they return; not all calves listen. Mother cow will scold her calf when she returns, if the calf has moved.

Cows know what coyotes are and how to deal with them; you can worry about them if you want to. Time is probably better spent worrying about stray dogs and hogs when it comes to baby calves.

Lead cows like to make you think the whole herd is hungry.

A baby hawk on the ground in the pasture can stir the deepest and most fearful emotions in a herd. The herd not understanding the beast in distress, will gather around and stomp and bellow the poor beast into the ground.

Cattle work that involves a flow of blood should be saved until all other herd work is done. Cattle react very similar to elephants and get very upset and confused at the smell of blood from the injury of a fellow herd member.

A cow whose calf has died may accept another calf as her own if the hide from the dead calf is tied to the new calf. It’s the smell of the original calf that makes her think it’s hers. After the adoption it will be hers.

A first year heifer may not know what her newborn calf is and that she has responsibilities. If you keep her and the calf penned up for a few days they will get to know one another.

Calves being weaned will bellow strongly for their mothers for about four days. If you listen it hurts real bad.

Cows don’t have much to think about, so if you see one standing alone doing a lot of thinking, you may want to see if she is close to birthing time. Pregnant cows will stand in a little different way while their calves are getting into position to be born. This usually happens several days before birthing.

Bulls have to determine which one of them is dominant. A fight between bulls that weigh about the same may last more than an hour and will not end until one hollers calf rope.

Bulls get very possessive of their herd of cows and will walk the fence chasing any and all cows and calves away from it if other bulls are within cruising distance of the fence.

If you hear an extreme blast of air from the bulls nose you and the cows will move away from the fence or else pay for the bruises.

Bulls get the best feed by pushing everyone else out of the way.

Bulls don’t mind if younger bulls follow them around and watch during training sessions.

If you have to remove a dead cow from a pasture where other herd members are grazing; take the time to remove the main herd first and spare them the pain. Just like elephants, they know when you are removing a loved one and won’t take kindly to it. Your emotions may get involved too, when you hear the dramatic trumpeting of the death march to the burial ground.

Keep the family dog away from the cows unless it is a cow dog there to work cows. Cows don't need to like your dog any more than they should like coyotes.

Most cows need three to four days of "bonding time" with their new baby calves. During this time they learn to recognize each other and check to see if all systems are go.

Calves born in a cow lot during cattle work get very confused. They look around and think they have a lot of mothers and have a tough time bonding. This is when you keep cow and calf in lot for a few days to ensure that bond.

Calves have to have Mother's milk within three hours of birth or else will likely die . Most cows know this.

Cows like to start their so-called walk to "look for a calf " about five to ten hours before calving. If you expect her to have a tough time calving you better get her in the lot right then.

A cow will almost always turn back in the lane before her calf will, making it easy to trap her calf.

Don't let cows smell your hands if you have been feeding cows in another pasture, they will know it and expect to be fed the same thing.

Cows are like cats; they smell each other's breath to see what the other one has been eating.

Cows don't burp very often, but if they do, what can you say about it.

Don't walk through a herd of cows at night unless you can sing something they know.

Cows will bellow and carry on in a squeeze chute even if it doesn't hurt ... it's the fear of what might happen that counts.

Don't give the calf you plan to butcher a name ; it's like fattening, butchering, and eating a family member.

Cows like their cattle pens to be painted in earth colors, such as brown metal primer.

Cows, contrary to what one might think, don't mind the smell of Ben Gay on a cowboy, somehow they understand.

Cows don't remember that you are the person that fed them all Winter if you are standing between them and their new born calf.

Cows always look for their calves at the last place they left them when they can remember where that place is.

Since Cows always look for their calves at the last place they saw them, then always carry off the calf to another pasture for weaning, never move the cow to a new pasture; she will just jump the fence and come home to get her calf.

If you are looking for a baby calf just walk past the cow into the pasture like you know where her calf is. If you watch her face you can tell when you are going in the right direction. She will go with you and show you the calf.

Talk to your cows a lot; they won't understand, but who else will love you for what you said to the cows.

Be sure and chew something when you are standing in a group of cows and they will accept you better.

Never worry about cows excusing themselves in their farm pond drinking water unless you are drawing house water from it also.

Don't ever complain about the smell of cow piles, remember mother always said that's just the smell of money in the making.

Cows are not offended if you wear the same old dirty clothes to the cow lot everyday. Cows learn real fast to recognize that you belong to them and you only come to see them about cow business.

Always keep a good muffler on your cow feeding pickup. If you don't, the cows will watch everything you do. They can't concentrate on grazing if they think you are coming to feed them.

If an ole cow has twins be sure to remind her of it. If you don't, she may only take one with her to the other side of the pasture. When you hear that lone twin bellow late at night, you're not going to get any sleep.

When you move a bunch of cows across the road, be expecting at least one of them to leave a baby calf behind and want to come home looking for it after you have gone back to the house.

Baby calves can only survive about two to three days with the mother cow on the other side of the road in a different pasture.

Remember there are three kinds of cows. Cows that have baby calves and cows that don't; the third kind are always bull cows.

If you are considering going into the cow business, be sure to build fences and buy feed first. You can then better judge by how much money you have left if you can afford more than one cow.

Cows are always suspicious of your motives unless you are pouring out their favorite feed right where they want it to be.

If you decide to touch a cow, be sure you do so at the front end or you may learn the real meaning of "kicker."

Cows are not normally deep thinkers except when they are chewing their cuds.

Cows always know which way the wind is blowing from and point to it with their rears.

If you wear tennis shoes while working with cattle , every one of them will pick on you.

Cows are slow thinkers and don't like to be rushed.

Always wait till a cow has her head pointed into the squeeze chute before you use the hot shot.

Wear your baseball cap when working cattle. Cows hate western hats and will knock it right off your head and stomp on it.

Cows are not going to take you very seriously unless you are in their way.

Cows will move smoothly around a curved corral and not get frustrated. If they can find a square corner, though, they will see if they can jump out.

Don't ever let a cow think she is smarter than you are; next time she will be.

Never run from cows in a pasture unless you don't know them and they don't know you. Cows hate cowards and will take advantage of them.

Young calves will sometimes make "gorilla charges" when you have your back turned. Most of the time they will stop their charge when they see your face.

Always unwrap your hay bales before you drive into the pasture where the cows are. If you don't, you and your feed pickup may suffer a few concussions.

Thank you for stopping by!