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Cows Have Best Friends and Get Stressed When Separated

Scientist found that cows actually show and feel more emotion than previously believed.

Cows are bonding by sharing close connections of protection. Image: Birkir Asgeirsson/Shutterstock

Recent studies have provided evidence that cattle are made of more than meat. Rather, they have a wide array of emotions and share relationships with their fellow brothers and sisters.

In society, cows have many uses, such as beef, clothes, and milk. Those are only a few. As most probably already know, steak is a valuable resource, as it is rich in iron and, in many cases, simply provides the public with a fantastic meal.

However, as research has grown, many companies have discovered that they are useful for more than food. They can show, feel, and share emotions. While they may not do it to the extent of humans, recent studies have shown they are highly expressive animals.

People may hear the sounds of cows and believe that, like any other animal, they are simply making noise. However, recent research proves that they may be expressing themselves.

Are cows more than food or simply a supply of milk? Do they truly share connections? The answer is yes. There have been studies that show this. Cattle feel less anxiety when near others of their species. News reporters have analyzed the idea of cows sharing bonds and emotions.

In fact, The Atlantic states in Cows Need Friends to Be Happy cows “…not only recognize one another as individuals but have friends they prefer”. Another author, Sarah E Mac, helped prove the newfound status of cows in her Scientific research analysis of them.

Mac further proves that cows feel distress when separated. However, when they are together, they tend to have tranquility. Many other sites delve into the value of cows’ emotions.

The truth is that cows are more than just a resource. Cows stick together to avoid feeling endangered and to feel safe. As stated in World Animal Protection’s, Fascinating Facts About Cows, “It’s normal for them to form close bonds with around two to four others…”.

Cattle mothers and their young share close relationships with one another. One study by Lori Marino examines the deep emotion between cow mothers, heifers, and their young.

A group of cows, huddling together for a warm, connected relationship of emotion.
Cows crowded in a protective group. Credit: Pexels/Kat Smith

More research from Marino also suggests that cows can form a bond with their offspring in less than five minutes. Cow mothers can recognize their offspring for 12 minutes when separated from them after the five-minute mark.

Also explained by Marino, cows even demonstrated duress by butting when separated from their calves.

Calves use vocal cues to express distress. Also confirmed by Marino, when away from their mothers for large periods, calves feel they have been away from them longer than they truly have. Cattle demonstrate many emotions through physical and auditory methods.

Cows show many signs of stress

Cows also have different bodily movements that present their emotions. For example, according to, cows with an arched back and lowered ears tend to feel more stress than other cows. Similar to humans, they feel anxiety and fear. f

Some other signs are cows with tails between their legs. According to, holding their tell away from their legs could indicate stress or mating. The simplicity of it is that cows feel much emotion.

They can also demonstrate calm mannerisms

Allen Marino analyzes another aspect of mother cows and their calves. For example, cows, when around their calves, have less whitened eyes, symbolizing less stress for them.

While most likely view cows as a typical animal and food source, they are very playful and expressive. According to World Animal Protection’s, Fascinating Facts About Cows, they even play with balls.

Also presented in World Animal Protection, cows can form such close bonds that they usually have a cow or two watch for any potential dangers.

Cows of pastures and cows for production

Many may see all cows the same, an animal that cannot fully express itself. While they are truthful in the fact that cows cannot completely express themselves, it is clear that they show numerous signs of expression.

However true it is that there are many similarities between those born with ample pastures on which they lived their whole lives and those born for production and business, one truth stands for all of them.

Cows have many stories to share, issues they face, and emotions they express to one another. It is up to people to understand this. The only way cows could be understood as more than beef is for people to see, also, the emotion that lies under their skin.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kimberly Eubanks

    December 10, 2023 at 7:35 pm

    Very interesting

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