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Are you afraid of white lines? On jumping and dancing

Young cows need to learn many things. Why are they afraid of the white lines on the road? Before you read any further, take a moment to think: do you know the answer?

Stress-free stockmanship training

Cows see the world in a different way than we do. Understanding their perspective and the fears and habits that go along with it is the key to stress-free cow handling. That is what we teach in our Stressfree Stockmanship courses.

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Ready for the answer?

The animals in this video are clearly showing they are very, very careful about where they walk. Especially if the path is new to them: unknown terrain can be dangerous! Snakes, holes, slippery surfaces, swamps; cows don’t know what they can expect.
It also shows that their view is more blurry than ours (cows see only about one third of what we see).
They cannot tell the difference between a white line on the road and a crack or an obstacle they could trip over.

Some people suspect that this impaired vision is also the reason behind the ‘cow dance’ when cattle is allowed back into the field for the first time after winter. We often see their jumping and running around as a sign of happiness, but there is a chance that it is partly a way of examining their surroundings.
It might be possible that cows run and jump around on the ‘new’ surface to see where it is safe; a ‘Try or die’ method, if you will! This suspicion is supported by the fact that cows rarely stay outside for long after they have been released in the field; more often, they return to the barn voluntarily after they have ‘danced’ around for a while.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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