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Cow Facts and Cow Trivia
Are cows as innocent as they seem?
Your image of cows is probably similar to mine – gentle, placid animals looking at you with those large, soft cow eyes and contentedly chewing their cud. But a recent article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 20 people a year are killed by cows in the United States.
The cows actually attack humans – ramming them, knocking them down, goring them, trampling them and kicking them in the head – resulting in fatal injuries to the head and chest.
These behaviors remind us that mother cows, like other animals, can be fiercely protective of their young. The bond between a cow and her calf is very strong and continues after the calf is fully grown. In non-commercial herds, some cows will nurse their calves for up to three years.
Want to know more about cows? Read on to discover what I have learned.
Cow facts you may already know:
• A cow is a mature female and a bull is an adult male of the bovine family.
• A heifer is a young female cow that hasn't had a calf yet. A cow can’t produce milk until she has had a calf. • Cattle is the name for the entire "cow" family.
• There are 9.2 million cows in the U.S. And only 2.1 million lucky bulls. (Source: USDA, Aug. 09).
• Cows don’t bite because they have no upper front teeth. Instead they have a thick, tough pad of skin on their top jaw. They curl their very large tongue around the grass and feed they eat. Definition of cow tongue – a variety of meat many people will not eat because it clearly crosses the line between a cut of beef and a piece of a dead cow.
• Modern domestic cattle are believed to belong to either the species, Bos taurus (Holstein, Brown Swiss, Jersey and Guemsey), or the species, Bos indicus (humped cattle like the Brahman). Some cattle are a cross between the two species.
• There are about 920 different breeds of cows in the world. They were domesticated about 5,000 years ago.
• Cows came to America with the Pilgrims. They arrived in the Jamestown colony in 1611.
• Humans and cows have the same gestation period which is about nine months.
• Milk contains 4 necessary minerals: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.
Cow facts you may not know:
• Cows are very social animals. They form large herds and just like people, they will bond to some herd members while avoiding others.
• They "moo" and use different body positions and facial expressions to communicate with each other
• A Holstein's spots are like a fingerprint. No two cows have exactly the same pattern of black spots on their white body..
• Cows can live 25 years. You can guess the age of a cow that has horns by counting the number of rings on the horns. Before counting, make sure the horns belong to a cow.
• A cow stands up and sits down about 14 times a day. That’s 11 more times than your average couch potato.
• One cow produces from 200,000 to 350,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.
• The record milk production for a single cow in a year is 55,660 pounds of milk.
• It takes about 350 squirts for each gallon of milk from a cow. I’m referring to squirts not from her head but her “udder” end.
• A cow weighs about 1,000 to 1,400 pounds.
• A 1,000 pound cow produces an average of 10 tons of manure a year. Ladies – if you marry a dairy farmer, be prepared to hear at the dinner table on a regular basis a discussion of manure.
• Cows can detect odors up to five miles away.
• Cows are able to hear lower and higher frequencies better than humans.
• Cows have almost total 360 degree panoramic vision and are able to see colors, except red. So a bull, in a bullfight, doesn’t see the red of the toreador’s cape – just the movement of the cape.
• Cows drink anywhere from 25 to 35 gallons of water each day – equal to a bathtub filled with water and eat about 40 to 50 pounds of feed per day.
• Dairy cows can produce up to 35 gallons of saliva a day.
• Cows are ruminants or cud-chewing mammals. Sheep and camels are also ruminants.
• Each day a cow spends 6 hours eating and 8 hours chewing her cud. (regurgitated, partially digested food).
• You have probably heard that a cow has four stomachs. Not true. A cow has only one stomach which contains four digestive compartments: the rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum.
• The rumen is the largest compartment and acts as a fermentation chamber. It holds up to 50 gallons of partially digested food. This is where cud comes from. Good bacteria in the rumen help the cow to digest her food and provide protein.
• The reticulum is called the hardware stomach because if cows accidentally eat hardware scrap (like a piece of fencing), it will often lodge here causing no further damage.
• The omasum acts like a filter.
The abomasum is the fourth compartment and is similar in structure and function to the human stomach. We just can’t store hardware like the cow.
• When galloping through boggy, soggy places or deep mud, cattle can run faster than horses. They have cloven hooves and their toes spread so their wide feet do not sink as deep as those of the solid-hoofed horse.
.• The temperature of milk when it leaves the body of a cow is 101 degrees Fahrenheit. The milk is then quickly chilled and stored at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Tip – to keep milk from turning sour, keep it in the . . . cow.
• Cows produce 90% of the milk in the world. Any warm-blooded animal such as goats, sheep, horses, reindeer, camels and water buffalo also produce milk.
• Today, farmers use machines to milk more than 100 cows per hour. Before milking machines were invented in 1894, farmers could only milk about 6 cows per hour.
• Until the 1850s, nearly every family had its own cow.
• There is the same number of cows as there are people in Friesland, Netherlands.
• On August 18, 1953, four cows in Stearns County, Minnesota were picked up by a tornado and set down again unharmed.
• India has 30% of the world’s cattle, but because the cow is respected as a sacred animal, it is allowed to roam the streets in towns and cities unharmed. Is that where we got the phrase, ‘holy cow’?
• The World Championship Cow Chip Throw is held each April in Beaver, Oklahoma. Caution: do not sit too close to the field.
• Studies have shown that classical music helps cows produce more milk.
• It takes all the milk from 330,000 cows each year to fill the milk needs of Wal-Mart.
• The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that destroyed much of the city has long been blamed on Mrs. Kate O'Leary's cow kicking over a lamp. In 1997, the Chicago City Council, after much research, passed a resolution exonerating Mrs. O'Leary and her cow.
• In January 2009, a cow reportedly knocked a woman off her bike and stepped on her legs in Boulder, Colorado. The woman was not seriously injured. News sources cited the incident as the result of a "cow engaging in people-tipping.”
• It takes 21.2 pounds of whole milk to make one pound of butter.
• It takes 12 pounds of whole milk to make one gallon of ice cream.
• Speaking of ice cream, an average of 48 pints of ice cream per person is consumed each year in the U.S. – more than any other country. I have long argued that ice cream is one of the basic food groups.
• The milk bottle was invented in 1884. Plastic milk containers came later – in 1964.
• The “got milk” mustache advertising campaign began in 1995.
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Toy Plush Cow
Definitions using two cows as an analogy:
Since this is an article about cows, I would be remiss if I did not include this well-known compilation of various definitions using the “two cows” analogy:
You have two cows ,,, Your neighbor has none ... You feel guilty for being successful ...
Beyonce sings for you.
You have two cows ... Your neighbor has none ... So?
You have two cows ... The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor ...
You form a cooperative to advise your neighbor on how to manage his cow.
You have two cows ... The government seizes both and provides you with milk ...
You wait in line for hours to get it ... It is expensive and sour.
You have two cows ... The government takes both and sells you the milk.
You have two cows ... The government takes both and shoots you.
You have two cows ... You sell one and buy a bull ... You build a herd of cows.
You have two cows ... The government pays you not to milk them ... Then the government takes them both ... They shoot one, milk the other, and pour the milk down the drain ... Then they require you to fill out a form to explain why the two cows are missing.
You have two cows ... You sell one cow, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the second cow ... You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows ... You are surprised when one cow drops dead ... You spin a publicity release to the security analysts stating you have downsized and are reducing expenses ... Your stock goes up.
You have two cows ... You go on strike because you want three cows ... You go to lunch and drink wine ... Life is beautiful.
You have two cows ... You redesign them so they are 1/10 the size of an ordinary cow and produce 20 times the milk ...They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains ... Most are at the top of their class at cow school.
You have two cows ... You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent quality milk, and run 100 miles per hour ... Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.
You have two cows ... But you don't know where they are ,,, During your search, you see a beautiful woman ... You break for lunch ... Life is beautiful.
You have two cows ... You have some vodka ... You count your cows and learn you have 5 cows ... You have some vodka ... You count them again and learn you have 42 cows ,,,
The Russian Mafia shows up and takes whatever cows you have.
You have all the cows in Afghanistan ...Which are two ... You don't milk them because you cannot touch any creature's private parts ... You kill them and claim a U.S. bomb blew them up while they were in the hospital.
You have two cows ... They go into hiding ...They produce television tapes of their mooing.
You have two bulls ... Your employees are maimed and killed on a regular basis attempting to milk them.
You have two cows - a black cow and a brown cow ...Everyone votes for the best cow ...
Some of the people who like the brown cow best, vote for the black cow ... Some people vote for both ... Some people vote for neither ... Some people can't figure out how to vote at all ... Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which is the best cow.
My favorite cow joke:
A fellow was driving down a country road when his car sputtered to a complete stop next to a field filled with cows. The driver lifted the hood of his car to find out the cause. A cow standing inside the fenced field calmly said to him, “I believe it’s your generator.”
The man almost fainted. He ran to the farmhouse nearby and excitedly knocked on the door.
“One of your cows just gave me advice about my car,” he shouted waving his arms back toward the field.
The farmer nonchalantly leaned out beyond the door to glance down the field. “The white cow with the two big black spots on her?” the farmer asked slowly.
“Yes, yes, that’s the one,” the man replied.
“Oh, well, that’s Bessie,” the farmer said, turning back to the excited man. “Just don’t pay any attention to her. She doesn’t know the first thing about cars.”
© Copyright BJ Rakow 2010, 2013 Rev. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."
Readers of my book say it provided the information they needed to write a dynamic resume and cover letter, network effectively, interview professionally, and negotiate assertively. Includes a chapter for older workers.