Random cow facts.


I couldn’t come up with a good idea about what to blog about today so I went to the Dairy Carrie facebook page and asked for ideas on what to blog about. Natasha wanted to know about the whole cows have 4 stomachs thing and that got my gears turning about all the random things about cows that most people probably don’t know. Sounds like a great blog post to me!

Cows DO NOT have 4 stomachs. 

They have one stomach with 4 compartments. The Rumen, Reticululum, Abomasum and Omasum are where the feed that a cow eats is digested. This little fact is important to remember when you hear someone say that cow’s can’t digest corn. A cow’s stomach is a lean, mean, feed digesting machine!. If you want to know more about what cows eat check this out.


Cows clean their noses out with their tongues.

Cows vurp, a lot.

Vurp: to burp and vomit at the same time.

Sounds gross but it’s just how a cow does it’s thing. A cow will eat it’s food and then as part of the digestive process it will regurgitate that food and chew it some more. It’s called “cud”.

A calf weighs anywhere from 50lbs to over 100lbs at birth. Smaller breeds like Jerseys will usually have smaller calves. Heifer calves are usually smaller than bull calves.

Cows only have teeth on the bottom, kinda.

Yep it’s true, a cow doesn’t have teeth on the top… at least in front. They do have upper and lower molars in the back of their mouths used for grinding up what they eat. Calves are born with their teeth already in place and they are sharp!

A calf can stand up and walk in as little as 30 minutes from the time it’s born.

Cows are pregnant for 9 months. 

Calves take the same amount of time to bake as human babies. On most dairy farms we have cows that calve all year round. Some dairy farms and almost all beef farms calve seasonally. This means that calves are only born in spring or fall.

Cows can have twins and rarely triplets. However multiple births are hard on cows and sometimes one or more calves will not survive.

Cows get up back end first.

A horse has to get up with it’s front end first. A cow has to get up with it’s hind end first. When farmers work with builders to design buildings for cattle they have to keep things like that in mind so that they design comfortable stalls for cows to get in and out of. Cow comfort is a huge deal to dairy farmers. So much in fact that we even have people that research and develop new ideas and ways of doing things that increase cow comfort.  (If you are a dairy farmer reading this I highly suggest clicking on that link!!!!)

I need more ideas! What do you want to me to blog about?
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13 Comments on Random cow facts.

  1. Natasha Lang
    October 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm (7 years ago)

    Love it! Thanks Carrie!

    • dairycarrie
      October 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm (7 years ago)

      Glad I could answer your question!

  2. Eddie Borst (@eddieborst)
    October 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm (7 years ago)

    Hi Carrie, It has been awhile since I have been to your blog and I have to say I miss it. You do a great job at keeping the public informed so they have more confidence in the choices they make when it comes to feeding their families. I do have a couple of questions, maybe I am overthinking this like I usually do. I clicked on your link to one of your past posts that shows what goes into your feed mix. As you know I worked in the ethanol industry for awhile and my questions are about Brewers grain, Distillers grain, and Alcomp. When we make ethanol from corn there are products left over that are used to make feed, DDG’s are dried distillers grain, then there are modified distillers grains where some of the syrup, which I assume is similar to Alcomp, is added back to the dried grain to modify its nutrition value and taste. How do these grains and syrup differ from Brewers grain, Distillers grain and Alcomp. I am thinking that maybe they are very similar if not the same since ethanol is actually alcohol. Thanks again for doing what you do to agvocate for the farmer and the consumer.

    • dairycarrie
      October 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm (7 years ago)

      Thanks for stopping back Eddie. You’re correct that DDG’s and Brewer’s grains are similar. From what I understand DDG’s are a byproduct of ethanol or alcohol production and Brewer’s are from beer production. However since these are both made with different ingredients they have different nutritional profiles. So they aren’t exactly interchangeable ingredients.

    • Ryan Goodman
      October 22, 2012 at 3:56 pm (7 years ago)

      Eddie, it’s a great question on distillers grains, which have a lot of inconsistency as a livestock feed. Part of my research actually involves feeding cows DDGs. Most the University programs in the Corn Belt region have great informational pages on DDGs and their uses as feeds. Here’s one from Ohio State – http://ohioline.osu.edu/as-fact/distillers.html and another from Indiana – http://incorn.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=43 Hope those help!

  3. Belinda
    October 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm (7 years ago)

    Common misconception we have discovered around the shows with the city folk is that only bulls have horns, cows don’t!!!! Lost count of the times I’ve had to correct this over the years, and not just with kids, a lot of adults!!!!

    • Belinda
      October 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm (7 years ago)

      Just remembered one guy, asked me about a certain cow, tried telling him no it was a bull, he replied but it dosnt have horns, after explaining to him, that only polled animals have no horns, everything else does, we just remove then, he still didn’t believe me, don’t think he was still 100% convinced after pointing out the bulls huge set of nuts!!!!

      • dairycarrie
        October 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm (7 years ago)

        If you do a search at the top of this page for Polled I have talked about this one a little but good point!

  4. Jackie
    October 25, 2012 at 8:08 am (7 years ago)

    How about sanitation. Peta types think farms are dirty because we don’t bother to clean up.cows poop a lot! Calf sanatation. Like not touching nipples on new calf bottles & keeping huch walls clean. Difference between calf & cow grain. & why v may need a skidsteer or hip lifters to help a cow or bigger calf to its feet. & that bull calves are treated well. On the farm i work at they get the same care as heifers! Grrrr! I want to shake some ppl!

    • dairycarrie
      October 25, 2012 at 9:27 am (7 years ago)

      Good ideas Jackie! I did a post about hip lifts a few weeks ago.

  5. Jackie
    October 28, 2012 at 11:49 am (7 years ago)

    Did not find the post. 🙁 a week ago or so a cow lay down to nap and found that she could not get back up. I found her at 4:30 in the morning. A little bruised from tring but ok. Hip lifters helped her.same ting yesterday. A 9ish yr old gal slipped in the pack pen. Putting sand around her helped her do it her own self. I sure am getting an education!

  6. advocate4ag
    March 27, 2013 at 9:45 pm (7 years ago)

    Teaching some great stuff again Carrie! Love it!