Happy Cow Appreciation Day!

Did you know today is Cow Appreciation Day?

I think cows are pretty amazing animals–and having an official Cow Appreciation Day just confirms that thought!

Here are my top reasons why cows are awesome:

1. Cows give milk!

Cows have been called the “foster mothers of the human race” because they give us nutrient-rich milk. All the protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals found in milk have helped humans grow and stay strong for centuries. Milk has been an important part of human diets for a very long time (anthropologists estimate milk consumption began around 9000 BC!). Milk has long been a staple in the school cafeteria to help young kids grow up with strong bones and teeth, and now we know chocolate milk is the ideal drink to have after a workout.

2. Cows aren’t picky.

cow face with green grass 2014

One thing that is super amazing to me about cows is they can eat a lot of food humans can’t, but they make food that we can eat. Here in Indiana, we are really good at growing seed corn and soybeans, which cows can eat much more easily than people can. In fact, 70 percent of a cow’s diet is inedible to humans (we’d get quite a bellyache if we tried to eat grass or hay, for example). Cows can also recycle things like citrus pulp (from orange juice), distiller’s grains (the grains left from beer, alcohol, or biofuel production), and even “bakery waste” (stale or imperfect bread) or jelly that doesn’t quite grade high enough for a grocery store (just like factory outlet candy that is in the “reject” pile).

3. Cows know how to take it easy.

Cows spend an average of 14 hours each day laying down. A lot of us humans, with our busy on-the-go lives, could take a life lesson about sitting down and smelling the roses from cows. If you see cows on a dairy farm, they don’t generally move faster than a gentle amble anywhere they go. Every once in a while, cows can kick up their heels and get a bit frisky, but in general these lackadaisical ladies tend to settle down to their normal lives of eating, napping, and chewing their cud pretty quickly.

4. Cows appreciate the small things.

Haney (3 of 6)

Cows are very curious animals, and like little kids, are able to find the joy and interest in very small things. A new person in the barn will receive a lot of attention from the alert and curious cows. Any new equipment, decoration, or even shadow will be duly noted and observed by the cows. Cows are creatures of habit and to cater to their attention to detail, farmers spend a lot of time making sure the cows can keep to their routine. The cows normally come in to the parlor in pretty much the same order at the same time every day, so even a small variation (like daylight savings time) makes a big difference to the cows.

So raise a glass of milk today to show your appreciation for these wonderful ladies!