Read This Book: The Secret Life of Cows

Did you know that cows can express social preferences? For some people, that’s as easy as saying cows have spots. But most of us have to think twice. Rosamund Young pulls the curtain back on cows’ more charming side in The Secret Life of Cows (Penguin 2018).
There’s a lot more going on out in the field than we think. Cows aren’t just munching grass, they’re making friends, and they often make friends at a very young age. Many friendships between calves are based on where and when they are born. If three calves are all born in the same 150 square feet, the two born closest to each other will stick together. You might even see them walk around bumping into each other like they’re in a herd of their own.A sick calf knows what it wants, too. When the calf’s mother says it’s time to graze in a frigid December field, the sick calf will stay in bed, where it is warm and safe. The mother goes out to graze but comes back to check on the calf at regular intervals. Remind you of any mothers you know? The calf may as well have a thermometer in its mouth and a doctor’s note saying “I can’t graze today.”

Bottom line: The Secret Life of Cows is packed with the kind of worldly wisdom that will change your mind about cows forever.