The wisdom of farmers and their cows

We’ve been in the countryside for a few days and I was struck by a few stories told by our host. Let’s call him Farmer Dick (mostly because that’s his occupation and name).

As we were driving around a rather rainy southern Victoria, we saw a herd of cows all gathered in one corner of a paddock. They were bunched really close, all facing the same way and it’s fair to say that PJ and I were a little intrigued.

I asked Dick about this phenomenon over dinner and learned that it’s common cow behavior. When the rain is coming down persistently, they’ll bunch together and point their backsides to the weather in an effort to stay warm and also to keep the brunt of the rainfall from their faces.

Dick has another trick if he knows the wet stuff is coming, too. He likes to make sure they’re well-fed beforehand. A hungry cow will walk around looking for food and in the wet, their wandering can dig up the pasture a lot more than when it’s dry. A well-fed cow is more content to huddle with its friends and just work on digesting the food already in its belly. Farmer Dick and other farmers like him have this bond with their animals which helps them know their mood instinctively. They know when their cows are happy, when they are sad, when they are healthy, and when they need a lookover from a qualified Veterinarian. There’s something to be said about being in harmony with nature here.

Swade’s bottom line: If things are stacking up against you, just point your bum at what’s getting you down and wait until is passes.


Another story from Dick concerned some share farmers.

I can’t remember who the ‘person in authority’ was, but he came to address a group of farmers and in doing so, enquired about their relationships with the share farmers they were working with. This, of course, was none of his business as the relationship was between the farmer and contractor, but he was given a reply that satisfied him nonetheless.

He was told that the share farmers generally received a farm house that was in very good order, freshly painted and ready for them to move in and have a good, comfortable place to live as they worked the land. When the ‘person in authority’ asked if this was perhaps setting too high a standard, intimating that share farmers elsewhere would expect such generosity, he was told the following:

We expect their best, so we give them our best first.

Dick’s bottom line: Set the standard first. Show that you expect a high standard by giving generously or working diligently with your partners right from the get go.


Our thanks to Dick and Judy for a wonderful weekend.

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  1. That answered a question we had asked ourselves whilst driving around the Fernch countryside. The orher one though is why cows lie down. Is it because of the heat (It was over 30 degrees C here all of a sudden) or is there something else to consider? 😉

    1. Why cows lie down? Yepp because of the heat.
      The cows you saw where on strike… because of having to work on a beautiful, warm and sunny day. Bad pasture, earbranding, not enough rectime etc often get them tense. If a cow strike isn’t enough they will revolt.
      The latter can often be resolved with the farmer telling the cows that all Horses will be forced to stand up even while sleeping. The cows being really spiteful and gullible creatures believe this to be a true way of degrading the otherwise pampered horse and agree that this has raised the status of the cow among the farmanimals and gladly go back to work.


      Steven… Your post and it’s bottom lines made for an interesting read. Those bottom lines ought to be a Mantra for the new owner of Saab.


  2. Another reason cows lie down before the rain? They do so in order to be lying on dry ground as they wait for the bad weather to pass.

  3. What I remember about cows is that they don’t stand still when you try to rope them. I guess I was about 4 years old at that time. Call it my pre-Saab days.