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What's a "typical day" in the life of cattle?

Cows, bulls, oxen, heifers, whatever. Sun-up to sun-down, what do cattle do all day? And what do the farmers/ranchers who own them do?


Well, I was hoping for more specifics, actually. You know, time spent in the field, time spent in the barn, feeding schedules, differences in activities between different types of cattle, and so forth.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Beef cattle will graze anywhere from 8-12 hours a day depending upon how plentiful forage is. Another 8 hours or so will be spend chewing their cud with the remainder of the day sleeping or standing around pooping. Incidently, research has show that cows will take an average of 30,000 bites of forage a day.

    As far as beef operators go, during the summer they often do very little with the cattle themselves other than check on them avery couple of days. Summer is when hay is made and other crops are tended to. With a rotational grazing system, they may move the animals to a new paddock every day or so. In winter, more time is spent hauling hay and late winter or early spring is calving time. That often entails casterating bull calves, inserting ear tags and vaccinating.

    Dairy operators have a more regular schedule. Milking morning and evening and feeding grain to lactating animals means much more time is spent per day, every day.

    Specifics are rather hard to give considering there are different management systems and the climate in the U.S. varies to widely. For instance, in the deep south or Texas, winter will find beef cattle grazing green wheat fields while in Wisconsin, dairy cattle will be confined to a barn to protect them from the -30F temps. In the Midwest cattle graze pastures in summer and eat hay in the cold winter while in California, they graze pasture in the winter and eat hay during the hot, dry summer. Beef and dairy herds tend to be smaller and more numerous in the Midwest and east while they are fewer but much larger in the west. Hope this helps.

    Survey 10 different cattle producers from around the country and you'll get 10 different answers.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Are you a statistical analyst for the government??? Recently there was a study done (with government money no doubt) that reported that a majority of cattle all lay facing to the north. (My small group of cows must be abnormal)

    Sorry got a little sidetracked... You want a more specific answer than grazing for 8-10 hours a day, ruminating and deficating the remainder of the day? Just what is it that you think these cows are up to beside these basic activities? I too wondered what my cows were up to when they grouped together in the back of the pasture... there is a conspiracy theory beginning here.

    Sorry for the sarcasm here... in all seriousness, if you must know what cattle do for the day, contact the animal science departments at any of the land grant universities. Between the grad students and "government money projects" I am sure that they have data from across the country on how many times a cow gets up and down, goes to the water fountain and also the amount of time that the cow stands there staring at those grad students and wondering what they do all day.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Time spent in the field is as much as they want 24/7. Time in the barn is minimal, usually only to get their grain, to get out of snow, or if I want them locked up for a specific reason (usually to catch them). They are fed a ration of grain in the morning and evening (this more to bribe them into the barn on a regular basis than for necessity). If the pasture is good enough that's all they get from me. If I need to feed hay that is also fed twice a day morning and evening, how much depends on how many head I'm feeding and the type of hay.

    While in the pasture they munch, chew cud, play. Around the barn...pretty much the same except add that the pecking order is re established.

    The calves play, sleep, bug mom for milk, mimic mom eating grass/grain/hay till they figure that stuffs pretty good.

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  • 1 decade ago

    the cattle eat, sleep, poop, urinate, and eat some more...that is about it...

    The farmers feed and water them, make sure that they are in good health, check for pregnant ones, sell some of them, give vaccinations...

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  • 1 decade ago

    eat crap eat crap eat crap crap sleep crap

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