COWS USE their moos to communicate with one another about how they feel.
That’s according to a new study from the University of Sydney which found the popular farm animals have individual vocal characteristics that change pitch depending on their emotions.
Researchers found that cows not only use their voice to stay in contact with other members of the herd, but also to express emotions like excitement, arousal, engagement or distress.
The study’s leader author, Alexandra Green said: “Cows are gregarious, social animals. In one sense it isn’t surprising they assert their individual identity throughout their life.”
“This is the first time we have been able to analyse voice to have conclusive evidence of this trait.”
A total of 333 cow vocalisations were recorded and analysed as part of the University of Sydney research, published in Scientific Reports.
The data was then used to examine how cows keep and use their individual moos throughout their lives, even when among each other.
Lead author Green analysed the pitch of each cow’s moo to "assess how aroused or excited the animal is in a certain situation".
"It all relates back to their emotions and what they are feeling at the time.”
"They have all got very distinct voices,” she explained.
“Even without looking at them in the herd, I can tell which one is making a noise just based on her voice."
She said animals often spoke to one another during sexually active periods or situations when they were either waiting for or denied food.
They also communicated when separated from the larger herd.
Researchers are hopeful that the findings could one day pave the way for farmers to invest more in the emotional state and welfare of their cattle.