Cows are amazing. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I never wouldn’t have believed it.
It was about midnight in the early days of our first big calving season. I was out in the truck with Frances the Lab, keeping an eye out for coyotes and waiting for the next baby to be born. The truck windows were open, and I was wearing night vision goggles so I could see what was happening.
Everything seemed normal after the baby was born. The mother started eating the placenta when I heard a choking sound! The cow started weaving and falling over like it was drunk. I jumped out of the truck, not sure how to help. All the other cows had been on the other side of the field, but they ran up to her. Before I could do anything, another cow started chewing on the placenta and pulled it out of the choking cow’s mouth.
That cow saved the mother’s life! It wasn’t coincidence. I really think they knew what they were doing.
Social cows on the farm
There’s another cow we’ve got. She’s not old enough to breed, but I bought her with her mother at about three months old and let them stay together without weaning her.
When the mother had another calf, I couldn’t figure it out. The new baby looked so weak! Well, then I caught on to the fact that the older one was still nursing on her. I caught her in the act! So I moved her out, and now she’s on her own in a separate field.
She’s the kindest, quietest cow—not a moo out of her when I separated them. Cows are such friendly, social creatures. Every day, all the other cows come near where she is, just sit down and hang out near her.
People say cows are stupid, but I think they are smarter than some people.
Cows are people too
I’m a Temple Grandin believer. I admire the way she treats animals and the insight she has into their needs. We built the chute she designed on our farm and use it for all the treatments. Just because we eat animals, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respect them. They have as much right to live on this planet as we do. Maybe more.
We could learn a thing or two from the examples of our life-saving and social cows at Stepaside Farm.