Two cows standing together closely and rubbing their faces together

Inside the secret lives of cows.

Have you ever seen a cow put her problem solving skills to the test? Or heard of cows who like jazz? No? Then prepare to be amazed!
Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 7 December 2021

Behind the doe-eyed gaze of these unique individuals lies a hidden depth that might surprise you.

See for yourself…

1. They’re individuals

No two cows are alike — some are bold, some timid, some curious, some affectionate. Research has shown that from a young age, calves each react very differently to stimuli in their surroundings — reflecting their individual likes, dislikes and personality.

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Two beautiful cow calves sitting on a green grass

2. They’re smart

Cows can solve puzzles. What’s more, they enjoy it! When they work out the solution to a problem, one study found that young heifers would get excited, some even jumping into the air — seemingly in celebration of their Eureka moment. Researchers are finding that cattle are far more intelligent than people give them credit for – and may actually possess heightened brain function and decision-making abilities.

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A portrait of a cow looking towards camera
These are highly developed mammals that have been solving problems for a long, long time. If anything, it reflects poorly on us that we're surprised that these animals are smart. Of course these animals are smart.
Dr. Daniel Weary
Animal Welfare Program, University of British Columbia

3. They have best friends

In fact, they’re quite the socialites. They seek out and nurture relationships with other individuals in the herd — often forming cooperative grooming partnerships. When separated from their best buddy, they become stressed.

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Two cows in a green field

4. They have leaders

What do cows look for in a leader? Much the same things as us. Studies have suggested that intelligence, inquisitiveness, confidence, experience and good social skills all help to determine who will become the leader within a herd.

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A portrait of black young cow looking towards camera and other cows standing behind

5. They are loving and protective mums

Like humans, a mother cow and her calf share a strong and special bond — one that can form within minutes of birth. When mother cows and their calves are left to live a natural life, the calf will suckle from his mother for several months, even up to a year. Research has shown that adult cows remain deeply affected by the emotional pain of being separated as calves from their mothers, which is standard practice in the dairy industry.

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A cow kissing her cute little calves

6. Their kids are kind of like ours

In all the best ways, calves are a lot like kids! They’re cheeky, and super playful. When they want to play, they will signal to each other with their tails and a special call — so that it’s clear they mean no harm when mimicking the behaviour of adult cattle.

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Two young calves sitting on grass

7. They enjoy music

Researchers now believe that music with a slow tempo reduces cows’ stress levels. It seems that jazz isn’t off the playlist just yet either though …

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Two musicians playing music infront of group of cows

Create a kinder world for cows

Make your choices count. Cows are intelligent, social and emotional animals, but these aren’t the only reasons they deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. The fact that they are living, feeling beings capable of experiencing joy, pain and fear is reason enough.

The most effective way to help these gentle and affectionate animals is by choosing to leave them off your plate. With so many delicious and nutritious alternatives now available, it’s no wonder that more people are choosing to incorporate more animal-friendly food into their lives. Why not give it a try? Head to VegKit.com or order your free starter kit today!

ORDER YOUR FREE VEG STARTER KIT