We Interrupt This Evening’s Program to Bring You Cows
Posted on July 29, 2019 Posted by John Scalzi 42 Comments
On my walks on my street these days, I pass by a dairy farm. Mostly the cows keep near the barn but yesterday they were down by the road, and they were very very interested in me as I walked by. I kind of wanted to pet them! But I suspect that would have been a bad idea. In any event: Look, cows. Thank you for your attention.
Most dairy cows are pretty cool about getting petted. They’re used to being handled. Cows are also super curious and you can lure them to you by lying on the ground.
From my experience living at the base of the University of California Santa Cruz (a campus whose grounds were donated with the condition that they always keep a working farm present), never walk behind a horse or cow because appalling things seem to come out of their rear ends.
From my experience cows are pretty docile. (Not necessarily the same with bulls.) I bet they would enjoy some petting. Not standing directly behind them is good advice though.
Dairy cows are pretty chill, they’re used to being handled. They would probably enjoy being petted. Warning, being licked by a cow is like being loved on by a belt sander, and some cows view humans as mobile salt licks that provide scritches. But cow slobber doesn’t smell that bad and it’s actually pretty fun. Jersey cows (best dairy cows!) are especially human-friendly. Just don’t get to close to the bulls.
COWS!! … this makes me very happy, they’re such beautiful critters who love a good nose scratch xxx
I remember as a child being occasionally stepped on by the family cow. With my foot pinned I would have to punch it saying, “Get off me you idiot!” The cow never noticed my punches, and moved on in her own sweet time. My foot was always OK.
Another memory is of the cow being in her stall. At about age ten, with both arms holding tight to her neck I still couldn’t keep her from moving her head left to right to get tasty bits of hay or grain.
I once had a herd of cows follow me across a field between the road and a neolithic monument on Orkney. It was VERY unnerving.
Reminds me of a wonderful book called “Cows: a Rumination,” by Carl Hileman. Photos and brief true stories about cows. When I was a kid visiting my grandfather’s farm in Wooster, Ohio, I used to love hanging out with the cows and the cats.
Cows can kill you by trampling if they’re protecting calves, or if they take against a dog that’s with you. (The dog is usually fast enough to escape, which is why you’re advised to let go of it’s lead if you’re threatened, and move away calmly and quietly yourself so as not to seem threatening.
They’re officially the most dangerous large animal in Britain, killing about 5 people a year (including farm workers).
John, they’re dairy cows. They probably expected you to either feed them or milk them. Either way, they’d be happy.
We had two colored as neighbors about a decade ago. They used to get loose all the time. I showed up 5 minutes late to teach my class, looked at them and said “Well, you all probably will believe me when I say I’m late because my road was blocked by cows.”.
Proofread, Jada! Cows, not colored. Geez! Way to go. I’m putting myself in the corner and wearing a dunce hat.
They may be deciding if you’re a threat that needs to be ‘stompeded’. Approach with caution.
As Fozzie Bear once said, “Nice bunch of cows you’ve got there.”
I’ve seen advertisements for a B&B that offers “cow-cuddling” as one of the amenities their guests can enjoy, so your urge to pet them may not have been too far off base.
The last time I saw cows on my walk around the neighborhood was never, but then, I live in Brooklyn so… . We’ve had several run-ins with them in rural England, however, and my wife has been freaked out by them twice.
They know their names and they like overtone flute.
Now you will have to answer Yes on your customs form about “having been on a farm/ranch/pasture”.
“I kind of wanted to pet them! But I suspect that would have been a bad idea”
Soooooooo, what you are saying is…, you didn’t have a cow, man?
For some reason, I always want to say “Moo!” to them. Like they’ll answer with a “Why, yes, that’s what I was thinking!” or some such.
The cows probably had something to tell you… maybe you are the “cow” chosen one?!? I guess you would have to say hi in a bright and cheery voice and watch for feedback.. never hurts to be polite even to cow groupées
My late cousin had a dairy farm on your road about a mile West of you. I suspect it is only a crop farm now. Over the past decade many small and medium dairy farms have gone out of business due to a continuing glut of milk and high costs. Successful dairy farms today are huge with many hundreds of cows.
As others have said, most domestic cows, and certainly dairy cows are used to human interaction and are fairly docile. But my cows can get a little forceful if they don’t think I’m passing out the sugar cow treats fast enough. I’ve been headbutted bu more than a few in my lifetime. If you stay on your side of the fence, the worst that I’d wager you’ll receive is a slimy licking.
You can tell you are still a city boy at heart. I grew up on a farm with cows and sheep and pigs and dogs and chickens and cows were probably the least dangerous of all of those. I once got butted over a fence by a ram protecting his ewes; we’ve all heard the stories about pigs being used to dispose of dead bodies; I never had a problem with any of our dogs but other people’s dogs could be pretty vicious; and chickens, well, let’s just say “pecked to death”.
Perhaps they were hoping you’d write an “Android’s Dream” sequel — but with cows instead of sheep as major characters. Certain to be even more “a-moo-sing”.
Regarding licking, I never had the cow lick my head, but that’s where the term “cow lick” comes from for some hair on a boy sticking up.
For a while our cow was alone. Then she would come to see me if I approached, and my brother would walk with his arm over her.
When the cow sniffed a person or dog, it was always three sharp intakes, followed by a big shocking blow out.
Dairy cows tend to be fairly docile. If you walk up to the fence and wait, they probably would have come up to you to sniff and lick you.
On the other hand, a dairy farm would be utilizing the services of a bull every once in a while, and you absolutely do NOT want to be in the same pen with them.
Looking at the pic again i have to ask:
Are they dairy cows for milk?
Or are they steers for beef?
They are all directly facing the camera so it might just be the angle, but i dont see any udders in that picture.
Steers are pretty mellow too. And no need for a bull.
Maybe take some baby carrots on the next walk.
Love the cows! <3
Cows can be quite lovely and they like to be scratched on the top of their heads.
Bow to the cow! Especially if there is cheese or steak involved.
They look small and slim, they’re probably heifers, i.e. young cows that have never calved. Heifers are known to be very curious.
My grandparents and 2 uncles owned small dairy farms in Minnesota. As kids, we spent hours in the barns and pastures. The cows were friendly, usually docile and enjoyed head scratching. Amused by the multitasking cow on far left of photo. Checking you out while continuing to graze.
These are not cows, they are vigin heifers and they are always curious what ever is new!
So, being pedantic, because why not. Those are not yet cows (mature females), to do appear to be heifers (young females – those look like tweenagers). As long as you’re moving slowly, they totally would have let you pet them. They may want to lick you and those tongues make cat tongues seem smooth by comparison and have a lot more surface area.
Nice photo of Chick-fil-A’s marketing and advertising department.
Eat Mor Chikin!
My grandmother raised black angus cattle. When the critters were about a year old they’d be weaned and put on regular grass, feed, and water. They would follow you anywhere if they though you might bring them anything to eat or drink, like 800 lb dogs. Very easy to start walking in the meadow and find yourself surrounded by large beasts. I thought it was cool, but mom was scared I’d get my toes squashed.
Know who else likes cows? Queen Elizabeth II, that’s who! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXGeft7khSo
When I was a kid, I got hired by a dairy farmer to paint the word “COW,” in bright orange, on the sides of his cows. It seems that opening day of deer season brought out a lot of the once-a-year hunters. I will never know how they could mistake a cow for a deer, but every once in a while some guy would shoot a cow, and his explanation would be “I thought it was a deer.”
I was travelling in Costa Rica last month. Our bus went by some cows, and the bus driver opened his windows and yelled “moo” to the cows. Some things are universal.
Well Marky, I heard about a fed up, frustrated farmer who painted all his cows with “cow.” Then his tractor got shot.
It was a John Deere.
The NSA knows that many subversives have abandoned the cities to hide in the countryside. NSA has now enlisted the USDA to cope with this problem. You are the object of cowvert surveillance.