Cowology – An Excerpt

“Working cattle effectively requires an understanding of bovine behavior*1. 

Fifty years ago, the men and women who worked with stock still lived on the land. They were for the most part themselves a simple people familiar with the nature and behavior of animals. Today, most people come from urban, man-made environments. City people are often unfamiliar with farm animals and the land. Before the era of hobby herding, people acquired a dog to work their stock. Nowadays, people buy or lease stock to train their dog.

People who don’t have practical experience with livestock have a more difficult time reading them. Articles and books serve as a foundation of knowledge, but experiential learning is necessary for total comprehension.” – From Cowology, an article by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor

*1 – Understanding how bovine creatures act in a natural environment is fundamental to good stockmanship. Cows are herd animals. As herd animals, they graze and travel as a unit. Cows maintain visual contact with each other. They are also prey animals, so being in a group protects them from danger. Since being in a unit means safety, a cow singled off from the unit may become agitated and charge, thus increasing the potential for injuries to the dog and handler. They are most active in the early morning and evening.

Cows are both herbivores and ruminants (along with sheep and goats). They digest their food in two stages. First, they eat raw plant matter and then regurgitate the partially digested fodder also known as cud. Then they chew their cud. Calves – Nurse milk from mother first 6 to 8 months. Under normal conditions they graze between four to nine hours a day (depending on nutritional needs, quantity and quality of the pasture and weather).  The remainder of the time they rest and ruminate. In a natural setting, cows lie down to sleep.

See also Cattle:

Copyright © 2009 by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ty Taylor.

All Rights Reserved.

See also Starting a Dog on Cows – Part I:

See also Starting a Dog on Cows – Part II: