When passing fields or farms, we usually see groups of cows huddled together in a tight mass. This happens more often on hot summer days or in the fall when the temperature drops.
Cows like to huddle. But why do animals do this? Why do cows huddle together when having a lot of space to spread out evenly? Are they defending predators? Getting ready for a coming cold winter? In this article, we’ll explain more.
Why do cows huddle together?
In fact, there’s a bunch of reasons for the question of why do cows stay in groups. This is called the herd instinct, and mostly for their sense of security. If you ask me how to activate that instinct? Well, it will depend on the context.
Cows huddle together due to a sense of security
This is the most common reason to explain why cows often huddle together. Herd animals like cows, goats, and sheep feel safe in numbers! As cows can’t do much when it comes to an actual fight, being part of a herd makes them less vulnerable to be attacked by enemies.
When gathering, cows will stay close to protect their calves while bulls will roam far to get an eye on approaching dangers. It’s the same reason why we see other cattle traveling in groups for safety.
Huddling keep off flies and other insects
If the cows are all bunched up, the chance is the bugs are bad in your barn or within that area. As a reaction to those stinging and biting insects, your cattle start to stand close in a group and swish their tails over the head of others.
Those swatting tails can keep flies off of your cows easily due to the good airflow from movements. Huddling also reduces the insect burden since bugs can go for a bunch of cows instead of only one.
Cows are social animals and seek the sensing of belonging
Staying as a group helps them to socialize and have conversations with other cows in the herd. Nothing but gossip time! However, these conversations aren’t meaningless.
Some farmers realized that putting cows together for socializing makes them better to work with. Cows huddling together could be a surprising way to increase the relationship among the herd and maybe, the teamwork of cows?
Cows huddle to seek fresh air
If you’re raising cows or other cattle in a barn, the reason why do cows stay in group could be their behavior of seeking fresh air. Cows always huddle together in the part of the barn where fresh air exists and avoid the areas that lack refreshment.
That behavior starts quite abruptly in most cases when your sensitive cattle sense the air in one place to be moist and warm, even unpleasant sometimes because of unexpected gasses.
Cows huddling for other things
It’s said to have a couple more reasons for cows bunching up. As sensitive cattle like cows can foresee the change of weather, humans know that when they start staying as a group, a storm or rain is coming near.
One else fun fact about cows huddling together is that they found something that interesting and want to share with the whole herd. As well as being such a social animal, cows are quite curious sometimes!
What should you do? Check the ventilation!
Who doesn’t want the best for your animals, right? And the best thing is to provide them a proper environment that they can comfortably live in.
When doing barn raising for cows, it’s not a good signal to have cows huddling together looking for fresh air. These cases happen when an object affected the ventilation of the barn. This led to insufficient ventilation that is quite troublesome and could cause more damage than most dairy farmers know.
Because of bad ventilation, cows first have to spend more energy on cooling down, somewhat causing heat stress. It also increases the number of bacteria and viruses that exist in the air causing hoof problems and udder infection. Also, lacking fresh air is considered not ideal for animals since it leads to higher concentrates of ammonia.
What needed to be done in this situation? Check the ventilation and improve your cow barn, right now! The foundation is to have an expert setting up a ventilation system for the whole barn. Then farmers could plan to have heat stress management for their cows to grow better.
Why do cows huddle together? The reasons behind this will depend on the exact situation in which your cows are dealing with. No matter the reason is, cows staying as a group mostly isn’t a good signal and it can even affect the growth of your dairy animals.
Be sure to read through this article carefully and double-check with your lovely cattle to fully understand their behavior of bunching up. Let’s get back to us with your own excellent solution for this herd instinct of your cows, we’re always willing to hear more!