AMY KIRK: Checking Out the LadiesThere’s no other animal that gets looked at more than cows. Ranchers spend a lot of time analyzing the looks of their cows.
By: Amy Kirk, The Daily Republic
There’s no other animal that gets looked at more than cows. Ranchers spend a lot of time analyzing the looks of their cows.
A few hours after the chores have been done my husband will tell me, “I’m gonna go have a look at the cows.” It seems to be what he enjoys doing most with his free time and is a relaxing leisure activity among cattle owners.
Whenever we drive by our herd my husband will slow the car down in order to get a good look at our cows. I’ve noticed he can’t help but stare at the really good lookin’ ones. Don’t get me wrong, he enjoys seeing other cows too, like the neighbors’ herd, cattle pastured along interstate or someone’s livestock featured in a magazine, but he favors looking at cows with his brand. Whether ranchers admit it or not, they all compare cows.
Throughout the year our herd gets observed individually and as a whole but to my husband’s credit, he does do more than enjoy surrounding himself with bovine beauties and staring at their body types. After he’s given them the eye, he checks anything that affects their looks including the pasture they’re grazing in, their mineral supplement, lick tubs, salt blocks, and their water tanks.
Once calving season rolls around he gets to be a bit of a stalker. He’ll watch them from the house with binoculars and will give chase to the cows that begin to look matronly. If it’s going to be a cold night he’ll recruit me into helping him get these ladies in the barn in case they decide to calve during the night. Some cows are oblivious to his advances and fall right into his plan to get them in the barn while other cows try to run away from his advances.
Americans far removed from the land have no idea how serious livestock owners are about the way their cows look. All ranchers like looking at a cow’s body and will do whatever it takes to provide quality feed to keep them looking attractive. Super model cows get noticed for their fine feminine qualities: growth and frame, the length of their hips, nice hind quarters, perfect-sized ears, long narrow neck, smooth shoulders, and adequately sized udders; just an overall good shape and carriage to her, and a nice-looking head is always easy on the eyes.
These qualities are determined by scoring a cow’s body condition which ranges from 1 to 9. A Body Condition Score (BCS) of one is the body equivalent of Angelina Jolie and a 9 is the complete opposite. The perfect bovine body is a 7, or the cow equivalent of a Marilyn Monroe body. Even though livestock owners strive for a whole herd of Marilyn Monroe-ish looking cows, regardless of what kind of body score our cows have, they all should feel good about themselves. My husband gives all our cows the eye whether their body score is ideal or not.
The best way to flatter a rancher is to tell him he’s got himself a good looking herd of cows. Acknowledging that his cows are good looking is an ego stroke. It doesn’t matter who the rancher is, if you haven’t noticed yet, it’s all about the cows with these guys.