Are cows intelligent?

No, cows are one of the dumbest animals. Holsteins in particular have a “suicide gene”.

My experience with cows is from years of working with them on farms, some are good, after repeated action they can learn, after 20+ years of letting our breeder cows out in the same spot at the same time of year they have started to group near that gate when the time to move them comes. When they all get out of a hole in the fence, then we go to round them up they all mostly choose to go back to their home, only wanting to have a little field trip.

But I have seen the stupid about 90% of the time, Mothers abandoning their calves; others claiming and fighting over calves that are not theirs. Getting heads stuck in gates and panels, after getting released they get their head stuck again. Eating Manure while in a pasture of green grass. Having children in pools of water and letting them drown or abandoning them. Cows drowning in 2 feet of water. Breaking through fences because they are terrified of cats. Harming themselves or us because they don’t want to go out a forty foot wide gate out to the pasture. Kicking their kids when the kid is trying to get milk. Laying in manure instead of a nicely bedded shed, during rain storms. Attacking when we are trying to help them, their calves or feed them. Trampling each other during snow storms instead of going into a covered shed. Cows will try to lick you if you get near them for any length of time.

But that is nothing compared to Holstein cattle. I’ve seen holsteins eating manure, next to a feed bunk full of food. Seen them run full speed into a building, not while being chased or excited but on a Tuesday. I’ve seen holsteins drink the urine of another holstein that was drinking water. I’ve seen one tear its skin off its body after impaling itself on a gate, after breaking the gate, then going and frolocking through a manure pile so there was nothing we could do to save it. I’ve seen a Holstein impaled on its own horn, while scratching its back. And I’ve seen a great many slip and fall during the hot, dry summer days.

My favorite story is when I was removing the old metal auger feeding system with a torch. Metal smoking, glowing red hot, and a fire burning on the wood connections. A holstein came up and started licking the red hot metal, searing its tongue, causing unimaginable pain, I assume, and running away….

For a little while anyway. It came back and tried to do it again. Bringing “friends” with him this time. The cows tried to lick the burning wood and metal till we had to stop and erect a fence to stop them. So they licked the fence.

No, cows are not intelligent. I think they have their moments where they can be worked with, but they are not like horses, dogs, or even pigs which can learn commands.

This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

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What are your thoughts on this subject?
Thomas Noble
You want to see dumb study humans
Jul 14, 2018 4:08PM
Charlie Taplin
I've been farming, livestock consultant and nutritionist for 60 years during those years I milked 35 of them and because there isn't time or room enough to rebut some of these statements I will say this, cows are a herd animal, you know like "follow the leader" and eating manure, drinking urine, leaking metal and even eating poison is because they lack minerals and not being fed right.
Jul 13, 2018 4:29PM
Ed Rollins
I grew up on a farm with Holstein cows and I would disagree with what was said.
Jul 14, 2018 12:51AM
Jean Stulcke
I think every animal has their own intelligence. So no....I don’t think they are dumb. Just because they don’t think like we do, doesn’t mean they are dumb. Believe me ...I’ve seen some very dumb people too.
Sep 26, 2018 5:55PM
Mozzie Tsolaks
The above is an opinion given by a human based on human values and criteria on what intelligence is. The only being that can answer that question is another cow or like animal. So I think that as we don’t speak their language then we can never really have the true answer. Personally I don’t see dumb animals in the above response, what I see is a being exercising their free will; if they want to eat manure then so be it! If they want to stick their head in the fence why not? If they kick their calf while it’s drinking milk maybe the calf isn’t doing it right and the mother is hurting. I hope this gives another perspective on behaviour. As a teacher I need to keep this in mind all the time. 😀
Apr 26, 2019 7:00PM
Marianne Frederick Halterman
I too disagree with what was said. Some cows are smart! (Maybe that other guy's are overbred?) The cows in my pasture are Angus-Hereford cross, and they are wonderful. Come when they are called. Care for their young! Show me their calves on the third day because they are so proud of the newborns. Good animal husbandry makes all the difference, and they have a lot of room and good pasture grass, water, etc. Also, cows like music. If you treat an animal or a person like they are dumb...that's what you get. Cows should be suspicious of humans, after all we take their calves away and farm them out to breed. But dumb, no, I should say not.
Aug 29, 2018 6:22PM
Koos Gouws
I grew up with grandparents on both sides being farmers. I have to disagree with the information in this article completely. I have seldom seen any of the behaviors displayed. Our cows knew when it was time to be milked, when it was time to go to pasture, etc.
Jul 30, 2018 12:26AM
Judy Keller
Cows are very sweet and lovable. I have witnessed that. I suspect disrespect and mistreatment of the animal when I read articles such as this. No. I am not a farmer or dairy farmer. I believe that when you use animals the way that these poor animals are used, you try to make them less than a living being to make yourself feel batter about their poor treatment.
Jul 28, 2018 1:43AM
Bette Long
I don’t believe any of this. I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I did visit a dairy when I was young. I found cows to be very sweet and lovable. I think the person who shared this is not too bright.
Jul 20, 2018 10:21PM
Lucy Oakley
Totally disagree with this . My sister had milking cows for years and they were well trained, orderly, affectionate creatures who all had their own special personalities .they also knew their names as she named them all and loved her very much.
Jul 16, 2018 9:52PM
Patrick G Cox
I would suggest that the author of this answer has never taken time to actually study cows, and probably not a lot of other animals either. His measure of 'intelligence' appears to revolve around 'can it be trained to do tricks', hardly a scientific measure or approach.
Jul 14, 2022 4:10PM
Sherry Baker
Thomas Noble, ♥️♥️♥️You bet. For the most part I don’t think we should be allowed to breed!
May 1, 2022 8:16PM
Donald McBurney
jerseys are a lot smarter than holsteins.because of that they can also be more annoying.
Apr 30, 2022 2:48PM
Joe Howard
Thomas Noble. You bet Thomas. I’ve been in EMS for over 20 years and nothing compares to humans when it comes to dumb. There’s the tongue stuck to the frozen flagpole. The second degree burns from touching the surface despite the sign that says “Danger Hot Surface”. And the always funny disregard of the “Wet Paint” sign. Then there’s the “Darwin Awards” and the always funny pre-disaster request “Here. Hold my beer.”. Cows don’t have anything on the dumb stuff capabilities of humans.
Mar 21, 2022 8:29PM
This person should be nowhere near animals.
Dec 16, 2021 5:30PM
Leticia Olsen
👍🏼I love cows but I don’t eat them!🐂
Dec 8, 2021 5:48PM
Shish Ahmed
If only cows were intelligent or smart they wouldn't be bovine. Pure and simple.
Dec 20, 2020 5:12PM
Joan Kirkpatrick, Real, true Veal is unborn calf, anyway, not young.....
Dec 18, 2020 4:46PM
Dora Diaz
I believe there are different levels of what we call intelligence among every group of animals, including the human beings.
Aug 14, 2020 8:02PM
Francie Traschen
"dumb" or "smart", at least they don't torture other living creatures in factory farms so that humans can have cheaper meat to eat.
Nov 30, 2019 9:43PM
I am not swayed by this writing Cows, as well as other animals ( including humans) do things we don’t understand at times I feel sorry this man has such a poor view of cows
Nov 20, 2019 8:08PM
Jim Roach
I always say that "my cows are the dumbest in the world, which is a great frustration to me when they outsmart me!"
Sep 2, 2019 4:22PM
jack patti go
Poor cows! Dumb they may be, but I love them? Brown swiss are good for meat and milk! Holsteins are the huge milk givers, and Jersey cows' milk, is the richest, eith high butterfat! Yummy?
Jul 8, 2019 11:53PM
latanja A bolden
Cute anecdotes. Cows sound dumb
May 9, 2019 2:58PM

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