You might think you know all the cool things about cows, but there are lots of misconceptions out there. We wanted to take a moment to share some of those myths and the facts that debunk them:

Myth #1: Cows have four stomachs

Cows actually have one stomach with four parts. A cow’s stomach is made up of four compartments that help them digest their food: the rumen, the reticulum, the omasum, and the abomasum. Each of these compartments has a specific role in the digestion of a cow’s diet. If you want to know more, we have a blog post that goes into more detail about how each compartment works! 

Myth #2: Cows are the largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions

Agriculture as a whole makes up only nine percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. Even though agriculture is not the largest contributor, agriculturalists and researchers alike are working to find ways to reduce those greenhouse gas emissions and make agriculture even more sustainable. 

Myth #3: Any female cow can be a dairy cow

While it is true that cow refers to cattle that is female, not every cow can be a milking cow. A milking cow is typically one of a few different breeds (i.e. not all breeds are great milking cows) and has to have given birth to a calf usually within the last year. Check out this blog post to learn more about the different types of cows. 

Myth #4: Milking cows is harmful to them

Much like humans, when a cow has a calf, they begin producing milk. The milk not only supplies the new baby calf with their nutrients, but they will produce enough milk for human consumption too. Regular milking actually keeps cows happy, healthy and comfortable. When cows are not milked regularly, they risk mastitis and other diseases and discomfort. 

Myth #5: Cows sleep standing up

Horses sleep standing up, so many people assume cows do too. Cows actually spend about half of their day laying down, but only four of those hours sleeping. When they aren’t sleeping, they are just hanging out, laying down and resting. 

Myth #6: Only male cattle have horns

Actually cattle can grow horns regardless of their sex. Horns are there for their protection, but are pretty unnecessary and sometimes harmful on the farm. Farmers will either remove the horns at birth, or they breed cattle to be hornless (aka polled).