Do Cows Like to Play?

Have you ever seen cows fighting in a paddock? Well, they may have actually been playing. Keep reading to find out more!

Sep 18, 2023By Nikita Hillier
do cows like to play

Often, when driving by fields full of cows, you will notice some of them running, bunting each other, or chasing each other. Most of the time, people who don’t know much about cows will assume that they’re fighting or acting out of aggression. However, if cows are fighting, they’re usually uncastrated males, known as bulls.

Realistically, cows and calves rarely fight. If you notice them frolicking in a field, they could be playing. We all know cows are cute animals, but do they actually like to play?

How Do Cows Play?

black and white cows field
Image Credit: Jakob Cotton on Unsplash

Whether young or old, cows love to play and frolic with their friends. In fact, they play as much as they can, whenever they can! Just like other types of animals, cows love to play with both their animal and human companions.

However, they do play a little differently than you’d think. While cats play with mouse-shaped toys and chase fluffy things on strings, cows tend to buck, chase, gallop, and even play fight when they’re having fun. Studies actually show that cows thrive on socialization.

This is proven by the thousands of videos on the internet of cows playing together. Cows’ ability to socialize greatly affects their development. As an example, cows who are allowed to thrive in a big herd environment are far more likely to play with their friends.

Cows who are raised in poor conditions where they are often isolated tend to exhibit emotionless actions. They tend to be ‘numb’ to any bit of social interaction they have. They often don’t play at all, even when given the chance.

Are Cows Friendly Animals?

black and white cow field golden hour
Image Credit: Lukas Hartmann on Pexels

Cows are very friendly animals most of the time. However, this can depend on the cow you’re referring to. It has a lot to do with the way they have been raised and interacted with.

This rule applies to most animals. All cows are completely unique and come with different personalities. So, it’s often just a sum of how they are raised and what their temperament is.

That is often what equals how friendly they are. Cows are often feared due to how big they are and how often they’re used as a means to eat. Some people also directly relate them to being aggressive due to rare cases of people being trampled by them.

It is important to remember that these things are very rare. These events are almost always caused by an outside source that scares the cows. While cows and calves are usually always friendly, it is best to avoid bulls or understand body language well.

Due to the testosterone coursing through their bodies, they often exhibit aggression. In this instance, caution is warranted. Aside from this, cows are very often kind animals unless they’re threatened.

If cows are handled from birth, they are often very friendly and loving.

Do Cows Have Feelings?

assorted cows group
Image Credit: Robert Bye on Unsplash

Of course, they do! Cows are capable of experiencing very intense emotion. However, these emotions can be quite complex to navigate at times.

This is why it is important to understand how emotions work in cattle before you attempt to interact with them. There are several scientific papers on cow emotions that are very insightful and helpful when it comes to understanding cows. Sometimes, people tend to overcomplicate it.

However, cows have very similar emotions to humans. Cows also read off of each other’s behavior. This shows significantly when the herd becomes stressed.

For example, when a cow in the herd becomes stressed, the other cows will also become stressed. The same reaction occurs when a calm cow is added to the herd. It will often stabilize the emotions of the other cows in the herd.

This is a great way to prove that cows have intense emotions and emotional behavior in groups. They really rely on each other when it comes to their emotions.

Do Cows Really Have Best Friends?

brown cattle close together
Image Credit: Doruk Yemenici on Unsplash

Yes! In fact, recent studies have shown that cows have best friends in their herds. Cows have been observed interacting with specific members of the herd instead of the whole herd at different times.

They definitely choose their friends and stick with them! Cows are able to pinpoint exactly which cows they like and stick with them. They even recognize humans who are kind to them and will make an effort to seek out these humans.

Cows have even been documented running towards their friends excitedly, just like a human or dog would run to someone they love. Cows have also been seen in the field licking each other, which is yet another way they try to bond with each other.

Cows who lick each other experience lower heart rates and increased happiness. A study performed in Kenya proved that some cows tend to only lick other cows that they consider friends.

Do Cows Bond with Humans?

cows running towards people
Image Credit: Waldemar on Unsplash

It has been proven that cows can and do actually bond with their human companions. Cows have been known for a long time to form strong and undeniable bonds with humans who interact with them on a regular basis. Cows on hobby farms see their human companions as a part of the herd and will often treat them like a cow friend by licking them or playing with them.

Cows form strong and close relationships with humans that blossom quickly. Unfortunately, cows have been seen as producers of meat and milk for a long time. This has made it hard for people to realize what cows have to offer, such as friendship and companionship.

Nowadays, cows are far more popular as companions. The word is beginning to spread about their loyalty and kindness towards humans. Humanity was the only thing creating a divide between cattle and companionship.

Nikita Hillier
By Nikita Hillier

Nikita is a huge animal lover who has grown up on a farm with many different animals, from dogs and cats to horses and cows! She has a lot of experience in the equine industry and is even in the process of studying for an internationally accredited Equine Sports Massage Certificate! In her spare time, she enjoys writing and spending time with her beloved animals!