Cows talk to each other about the weather and food, a new study has found

Each ‘moo’ has an individual vocal characteristic 

Country Living – Lisa Walden – 23 January 2020

“Cows have been found to regularly talk to each other about food and the weather in their own language, according to a new study. 

Research conducted by a PhD candidate from the University of Sydney, discovered that each cow has its own individual moo and can change its pitch depending on how they are feeling. 

They found that cows can also depict signs of excitement, arousal, engagement and distress using their tone of voice — much like humans. 

Scientists discovered this breakthrough by listening to 13 Holstein-Friesian heifer cattle — a European breed of dairy cattle from Holland — mooing into a specially-made microphone. Using acoustic programmes, they were able to cleverly listen to how the cows would respond to the different types of pitch.

The lead author of the study, Alexandra Green, told the Daily Mail: “We found that cattle vocal individuality is relatively stable across different emotionally loaded farming contexts.” 

“We hope that through gaining knowledge of these vocalisations, farmers will be able to tune into the emotional state of their cattle, improving animal welfare. By understanding these vocal characteristics, farmers will be able to recognise individual animals in the herd that might require individual attention.”

The next time you’re out on a countryside walk and spot some cows, you might know what they’re having a natter about…”

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