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Below is a random selection of interesting or unusual facts about Cattle

bullet Cattle are extremely curious creatures and investigate anything and everything.
bullet Cattle have one stomach but it is divided into four compartments, the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum, the rumen being the largest compartment, this arrangement helps cattle to more efficiently digest grains and grasses.
bullet Cattle are ruminants, this means that they have a digestive system that allows them to digest foods, which would otherwise be indigestible, by the process of repeated regurgitating and rechewing of food referred to as "cud". The cud is then reswallowed and further digested by specialised microrganisms in the rumen. The rumen holds up to an incredible 50 gallons of partially digested food.
bullet Cattle chew their cud for up to 8 hours each day and they spend approximately six hours eating.
bullet Cows eat about 40 pounds of food each day and drink 30 gallons of water, approximately a bathtub full.
bullet Cattle drink water by the use of a sucking action, they do not lap up water like a cat or dog.
bullet Cattle have an almost total 360-degree panoramic vision.
bullet It is estimated that there are approximately 920 different breeds of cattle in the world which collectively number an estimated  1.3 billion animals world wide. Amongst the most popular dairy and beef breeds are: Dairy, Holstein-Friesian, Jersey, Guernsey, Brown Swiss, and Ayrshire. Beef, Hereford, Brahman (or Zebu), Aberdeen-Angus, Shorthorn, Santa Gertrudis, Galloway, Africander, Charolais, and Simmental.
bullet On average a cow of about 1000 pounds will produce as much as a staggering 10 tons of manure each year.
bullet Cattle have an incredible sense of smell, they can detect odours up to five miles away and can they can hear low and high frequency sounds better than humans.
bullet In common parlance bulls, heifers, cows, calves are collectively called cows, however the correct terms is cattle. Unlike sheep, cattle may only be used in the plural; You cannot refer to one cattle as one would say one sheep. There is no singular other than to use the gender or age specific terms, such as a bull, a cow, a heifer, a calf.  A young female before she has had a calf of her own is called a heifer, after she has had one or two calves, the number depending on locality, she is than called a cow, the young of both sexes are called calves until weaned. The adjective applying to cattle in general is usually bovine.
bullet A cow's udder has four sections to hold her milk.
bullet The gestation period for a cow is nine months, which is the same as humans.
bullet Did you know that cows, are curious, bear grudges, love each other baby sit for one another, have friends and are intelligent, sentient. For more information refer to: Sentence in Cattle
bullet cows are good mothers and have been known to walk for miles to find their calves.
bullet Cattle where domesticated about 5000 years ago and are, with the exception of those found in southeast Asia, descend from the aurochs a species of wild cattle which evolved in India about two million years ago and which became extinct in 1627. Very different to modern cattle they where formidable creatures, strong and fearless, huge in stature, the bulls measuring as much as six and a half feet at the shoulder, and weighing 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lbs) with very long horns.
Augsburg depiction of an aurochs.


bullet Many Palaeolithic European cave paintings depict aurochs, such as the one below found at Lascaux and Livernon in France.
bullet In natural circumstances cattle can live 25 years or more.
bullet Cows spots are all uniquely different, there are never two with the same pattern of spots or makings.
bullet The world record for the heaviest bull, a Chianina which is an Italian breed of cattle, named Donetto was an amazing 1,740 kilograms (3,836 lb) He was exhibited at the Arezzo show in 1955.Chianina are among the world's largest breeds of cattle and for centuries were used as draft animals.
bullet legend has it that Boston grew up along well worn cow paths, the paths cows used to walk, which accounts for the general disorder and crookedness of the layout. According to the chair of the Boston Conference Committee Boston is: "a walkable city, although rarely in a straight line. The roads, and sidewalks, were laid out following old cow paths, Native American trails and long-gone shorelines. Getting “lost” is part of the enjoyment of discovering the City."
bullet Cattle have appeared on banknotes. The example below is from the Chinese Nationalist bank, the Farmers Bank of China.


bullet For more detail click the image above.
bullet Cattle have appeared on postage stamps. The example below is the United States one dollar stamp of 1898 trans-Mississippi issue. Known as the "Black Bull", this is often considered the finest design ever seen on a US stamp.
bullet For more detail click the image above.
bullet Cattle are considered sacred in a number of world religions including Hinduism, and the ancient religion Zoroastrianism and also the ancient religions of Egypt and Greece. In Egypt animals where sacrificed except the cow because they were sacred to the Goddess Hathor the protecter of women and goddess of joy. Hathor was the goddess of the sky, in  her cosmic role as the creator of the world she, it was believed, enclosed the sun with her breast in the evening. Bulls where identified in Norse mythology with both Thor the god of thunder and also Freyja the goddess of fertility. In Hinduism, the cow is revered as the source of food and symbol of life and may never be killed. The cow is honoured at least once each year on Gopsatami, the day lord Sri Krishna, an Hindu Deity symbolizing universal love, had permission from his father to take charge of the cows and became a qualified cowherd, before this day he was a keeper of the calves. It is a holy day when cows are washed, decorated and given offerings in the temple, Hindus however do not worship the cow. They do not eat beef and the cow is a protected animal in Hinduism and many rural families have least one cow who is often treated like a member of the family. Nonetheless there is often a shocking incongruity which may surprise many visitors to India who will see cows walking the streets often undernourished and neglected living off garbage. Moreover there is now a thriving beef and leather trade in India, for more information please refer to: Abuse of cattle in India
bullet The Cow was also venerated by Mohandus Gandhi: "I worship it and I shall defend its worship against the whole world," and that, "The central fact of Hinduism is cow protection." he also said described a cow as  "a poem of compassion"
bullet Cattle are members of the ox family.
bullet The ox is one of twelve animals included in the cyclical Chinese Zodiac calendar. Those born in the year of the ox are said to poses certain attributes or characteristics described as: dependable, calm, methodical, patient, hardworking, ambitious, conventional, steady, modest, logical, resolute, tenacious but can be stubborn, narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, demanding.
bullet Taurus a major constellation in the northern hemisphere and the second sign of the western zodiac is represented by a bull. In ancient cultures, the year began with Taurus. Those born between April 21st and May 22nd are said to born under the sign of Taurus the bull and are said be  practical, patient, persistent, strong-willed, solid, affectionate, warm-hearted, kind, generous ,trustworthy  determined, reliable, stubborn, creative, bad tempered, idle, loyal, possessive.
bullet The Maasai tribe of East Africa traditionally believe all cows on earth where given to them by God.
bullet Cows, or a least a cow was connected with the founding of Durham cathedral in 995. Legend has it that monks carrying the body of St Cuthbert where led to the location by a milk maid who had lost her Dun cow, the Cathedral was built upon the spot where the cows was found resting.

Here is the story. Forced to Flee their monastery on  the Island of Lindisfarne because of Viking raids the Monks, taking with them the coffin of the revered St Cuthbert, the Lindisfarne gospels and other treasures had wondered for a century throughout the northeast settling only temporary before establishing a permanent settlement at Durham.

According to the twelfth century chronicler
Symeon of Durham  the whole occurrence was the result of divine intervention. He recounts that the coffin of St Cuthbert came to a miraculous halt at Wardon Law, and  no one was able to move it. The Bishop of Chester-lee-street decreed a period of three days of fasting and  prayers to the St. According to the account of St Bede, during this fast a miraculous vision of St Cuthbert appeared to Eadmer one of the monks instructing him to take the coffin to Dun Holm, which would later be called Durham.  Now able to move the coffin they made their way to Dun Holm however they did not know where it was, and asking people they met on the way proved fruitless as no one it seemed knew the location or had even heard of the place. Fortunately they happened to over hear a milk maid asking another milk maid if she had seen her dun cow, which had wondered off. During this conversation the monks heard the other maid mention that she had seen the cow roaming about near Dun Holm. Thus by following the milk maid they where able to find Dun Holm, a wooded Hill located on a peninsula formed by a gorge-like meander of the River Wear, where the magnificent cathedral of Durham stands today.

You can see an eighteenth century stone carving depicting the milk maid and her dun cow on the north wall of Durham Cathedral

Wikimedia commons user R.R.Kennison licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic

bullet The wild cattle of Chillingham

The Chillingham cattle are thought to be the only survivors of the herds of wild cattle which once freely roamed through the forests of Great Britain. In modern times, now only numbering a herd of 80 animals, they live in a beautiful enclosed 365 acre parkland at Chillingham in Northumberland which has been their home since the 13th century

Painting  by Edwin Landseer:The Wild Cattle of Chillingham (1867, Oil on canvas)

Important please note:

I am not an animal expert of any kind just your average person who loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in mind that the information included in this website has been researched to the best of my ability and any misinformation is quite by accident but of course possible.

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The banner is a cropped portion of a painting by Potter, Paulus 1625-1654