A cow's communications can vary depending on the situation, and even though ranchers have a powerful connection with their cattle, researchers are still trying to figure out what cows are saying when they moo.
According to Jared Decker, a meat cattle geneticist at the University of Missouri Columbia, he said even though the moo's coming from a cow cannot be translated in English, there will be certain times when one will be able to tell when they're communicating with one another.
Here are some of the reasons:
They are trying to find their friends.
When cows change environments, like moving from one farm to another, they will moo to try to connect with their friends as they figure out their new surroundings. They immediately start mooing once they get off the trailer that brought them to a new location, some researchers believe moos can be distinctive, leading cows to connect with each other.
They want to make a baby.
These moos are the pick-up lines of the cattle world. Bulls and cows let each other know that they are ready to get it on.
They’ve lost their calf or their mom.
Researcher Monica Padilla de la Torre and her team looked at communication between cows and their babies. When cows were separated from their babies, they made a higher pitched but when their babies were close by, the mothers have a lower frequency call, suggesting that the higher frequency call is meant to alert calves that they are being missed. The calves themselves gave a distinct moo when they wanted milk but couldn’t find their mothers.
This call can be directed toward the farmer. The cattle want to let him or her know that it’s time for some hay or grain.
They need to be milked.
Also, these moos can let the farmer know that it’s time for a helping hand.
They are stressed out.
Maybe it’s too hot, they are caught in an uncomfortable situation or they are receiving vaccination shots. Decker says he’s noticed a higher pitched, more frequent moo when cows are dealing with these issues.
So whether they’re on the ranch or in a pasture grazing or perhaps in a research institute, cows use moos to communicate. It turns out that that moo actually means something specific.