July 14th is National Cow Appreciation Day. This is a day set aside to serve as a reminder of how special cows are.
In recent months we have posted about the importance of eating beef as part of your healthy diet, beef by-products, and the importance of dairy. So with this we will set out to teach you about the remarkable animal that is the cow itself.
- Cows, like humans, form friendships. They may also hold grudges and dislike particular individuals.
- Cows are cud chewing animals, or ruminants. Camels and sheep are also ruminants.
- The word “cow” is reserved only for female bovine. Males are called steers or bulls.
- A cow will spend 10 to 12 hours lying down per day, however only around four hours are spent sleeping.
- Cattle have almost 300 degrees of vision, allowing them to watch for humans and predators from all angles. It is nearly impossible to sneak up on a cow.
- A cow has a very keen sense of smell. They can detect odors coming from up to six miles away. This is also effective in detecting danger and predators.
- They can also hear both low and high frequency sounds beyond human capability.
- Cows and bulls are color blind and unable to see the color red. So the red flags that matadors use do not attract a bull because of their color, but because of the movement.
- Cows are very social animals and don’t like to be alone. When a cow isolates herself it is either because she is going to give birth, or she is not feeling well.
- Cattle, like many other grazing animals, have one stomach that is divided into for chambers: the reticulum, omasum, abomasum, and rumen. Having this kind of stomach allows the cattle to digest grasses and grain more effectively.
- Like humans, the cows’ gestational period is nine months. Depending on breed, a calf will weigh anywhere between 55 to 99 lbs. They are devoted mothers and will walk for miles to find their calves.
- A bovine will consume about 40 pounds of food a day and spend about 8 hours a day eating.
- A cows knees cannot bend properly to walk downstairs. So you can lead them upstairs, but not back down.
- In the US there are nearly 11 million cows and six main breeds. Those breeds are the Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein (the popular black and white spotted cows), Jersey, and Milking Shorthorn.
- The spots on a Holstein are like a fingerprint. No two cows have the same pattern of white and black spots.
- Belted Galloways are a breed of cow that are nicknamed “Oreo” cows in the US because their color pattern resembles that of an Oreo cookie.
At first glance, it may seem that cows are simple animals, but as you can see they are actually quite fascinating!
To learn even more about cows you can head over to Shamrock Farms in Stanfield. They offer a 60 minute tour of their dairy farm on an open-air tram. You may get to watch a farmer milk a cow, pet a calf, and maybe even witness the birth of a calf!
The Superstition Farm in Mesa is another dairy farm that welcomes visitors. They will first educate you about cows and dairy farming in their classroom that they lovingly call the Moo-University. Then you will go for an educational tour of the farm on a tractor pulled hayride. After the tour you will have the opportunity to be educated on how to properly hand feed some of their rescue animals such as goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, and more. After this they will take you down to their milk bar so you can try a glass of one of their 13 milk flavors. There is also a petting zoo at the farm, and they allow you to host children’s birthday parties at the farm as well.
Chick-fil-a is celebrating Cow Appreciation Day on the 14th! They are offering a free entrée to anyone who comes in dressed partially as a cow, and a full meal free to those who dress fully like a cow! You can find more details on their webpage.
Happy National Cow Appreciation Day!