For five months, University of Sydney PhD student Alexandra Green spent time in the field, literally, with 18 Holstein-Friesian heifers, recording and studying their sounds. While it's been known that cow moms and calves use unique vocalizations with one another, Green confirmed that cattle "also maintain individual voices in a variety of emotional situations," from chow time to periods when they are isolated from the others in the herd. From the University of Sydney:
Cows 'talk' to one another and retain individual identity through their lowing…
The conclusion of the research is that farmers should integrate knowledge of individual cow voices into their daily farming practices.
"We found that cattle vocal individuality is relatively stable across different emotionally loaded farming contexts," Ms Green said…
"We hope that through gaining knowledge of these vocalisations, farmers will be able to tune into the emotional state of their cattle, improving animal welfare," Ms Green said.
image: Lynne Gardner/University of Sydney
(Thanks to University of Sydney for inspiring the headline!)