I’d like to say that as a farmer’s wife I know lots about what goes on the farm. I know some, but I can see N’s knowledge overtaking mine soon.
When I first met the OH, and then later when we got married I used to ask all the stupid questions that had probably been going round my mind since I was a little girl. So if you’ve got some seemingly stupid cow questions (and yes, he did make me feel silly for asking them!), then you might find my OH’s answers here of help.
Q1. Do cows sitting down in a field really mean it’ll rain (I said they were stupid!)?
After he laughed and scorned a lot, I was told ‘No, they’re just all tired’. I’m not sure that’s really a great answer. Why would all cows be tired at the same time during the day time. It’s not like they do much other than chew the cud, walk up and down a field and sleep.
Q2. What determines the colour of a calf?
Turns out it’s similar to the colour of eyes in humans. Genetics and dominant colours of the cow and bull. It seems logical now, but I’d not realised it myself. So a grey calf when there’s a black bull and brown cow, is as simple as a genetic line and the dominant colour.
Q3. Why do cows always seem to face the same way when they’re standing in a field?
The OH laughed again at this and asked whether I was really asking that. Ok, I admit some of my questions probably seem really stupid, but I’m getting him well versed in answering silly questions that I’m sure N will be asking when he’s older.
It seems other people have been thinking about this a lot too over on The Guardian.
Q4. Do cows produce more milk the more they’re suckled by calves (or milked), like women breastfeeding?
Ok, so I didn’t really expect the OH to answer that one, he’s a bit squeamish at anything involving bodily fluids. So I had to turn to Google.
It seems that ‘in calf’ cows can produce up to 10 times more milk than normal, and yes that’s why dairy cows are bred from in relatively quick succession to keep up the milk yield. I couldn’t find anything that explained whether having calf suckle made the cow’s production match the calf’s needs like a mother and baby would. But it makes sense that it would.
Our cows are beef so the calves are out in the field with their mothers for much longer.
Hopefully you’re now straight on some of those questions that you might have been burning to ask. If you’ve got any other farming questions, do let me know in the comments and I’ll do an ‘ask a farmer’ update.