New study: Cows talk to each about how they feel

Alexandra Green from the University of Sydney through her research is telling farmers that cows have individual vocal characteristics and change their pitch depending on their emotions.

She says “Cows are gregarious, social animals. In one sense it isn’t surprising they assert their individual identity throughout their life.”

Through her study that recorded 333 samples of cow grunts and moos, she establishes that cows use individual voices to keep in contact with the herd and express emotions like excitement and distress.

Talking about the animals Ms Green said: “They have all got very distinct voices. Even without looking at them in the herd, I can tell which one is making a noise just based on her voice.” She believes the sound they make relates to their emotion and what they are feeling at that time.

Previous researches have shown that mother cows and their calves communicate through sounds that are specific and individualistic. Green’s research takes this further by detailing how cows keep their individual moo throughout their lives.

Her study observed that cows communicated with each other in various situations such as during mating period or when kept away from the heard or while waiting for food. The study has been published in scientific reports. Green hopes that her research will help farmers “tune into the emotional state of their cattle, improving animal welfare.”

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