Why Do Cows Wear Bells? 7 Common Reasons

Ever heard the annoying cowbell sound emerging from the neighboring farm? Ever get bothered by the loudness of the sound? If yes, I bet you have asked Livestock farmers around you why is it necessary to put a bell around the cow’s neck? A few days back, a teenager in my neighborhood came to get an answer to similar questions. He looked pretty annoyed.

While answering the question, I thought it should be discussed here as well. So, in this post, we would be discussing why do cows wear a bell? And everything else you deserve about it.

Why Do Cows Wear Bells

Cows wear a bell for a variety of reasons but mainly the livestock keepers put a bell around their neck to keep track when the animal is grazing in dangerous hilly landscapes or vast plains.

Other than the said reason, the livestock keepers can also wrap a bell around to differentiate the cow from another identical fellow animal.

Now that you know why it gets mandatory to wrap a bell around the cows’ neck. It’s time to reveal some least-known and surprising facts.

It’s not just the cows some other animals have to wear bulky bells as well

Frankly, Cows are not the only grazing animals we see wearing bulky bells around the neck, there are some other farm animals as well.

For the record, goats, sheep, and reindeer also have to wear bells quite often for the same reason.

Wrapping bells around the farm animals’ necks are quite common in some countries

In Africa, Asia, Europe, Mediterranean areas, and Latin America wrapping bells around the cows, goats, sheep, and reindeers’ neck is breathtakingly common.

Whereas, in the rest of the world, the livestock do wear bells but not as often as in the said parts of the world.

Cows, goats, sheep, and reminders take time to get used to wearing bells

Getting used to a bell is hard for all grazing animals for two reasons:

  • Bulkiness
  • Sound

The bells that are made from iron, brass, copper, and bronze are exceptionally heavy. However, some lightweight bells do exist as well.

Such bells are made from thin flat pieces of plated sheet metal.

Whether bells are made from iron, brass, copper, bronze, or thin flat pieces of plated sheet metal the sound is alarming and loud enough to be heard from far away. Cows do not like the sound of bells instead they love music.

So, the bulkiness and sound make it super hard for the poor animal to get used to having bells around the necks.

Bells appear harmless but are they harmless?

So far most of our readers might have been taking bells as a harmless piece of metal but they can be injurious to the cows.

Typically, the cowbells weigh around five and a half pounds and that’s pretty heavy even for a giant animal like cows.

As per the research conducted recently, bells can not only lead to deafness but also discourage grazing.

The hearing function in cows is even more sensitive than humans so five and half-pound bells can effortlessly cause deafness.

In Switzerland, bells are wrapped around just not only to keep a track

In Switzerland, the cows must wear bells and the reason is just not to keep track of the animals. The bells in the said country are engineered using religious motifs to protect cattle with faith and to ward off evil.

The sound that bells make is just not annoying for the cows

If you live in a crowded neighborhood you may get complaints from your neighbors about the annoyingly loud sound bells to make.

As per the legitimate reports, a typical iron, brass, copper, and bronze bell can produce a sound of more than 113 decibels that is even louder than the legal noise(85 decibels).

Frankly, cows are not the only ones who get bothered by the sound.

Humans in the neighborhood, birds, and other farm animals find it equally louder and annoying.

The continuous mooing of cows can be annoying that’s why they wear bells.

It has come to notice that the cows that wear bells chew less

The cowbells are cruel, they do not just discourage grazing, it is noticed that the cows that are wearing bells also tend to chew less.

So, if a bulky bell is interrupting the grazing and messing with the regular chewing behavior how is it not cruel for the animal?

Bells are commonly referred to as “cow bells” even if they are not made for the same animal
As you know already, bells are not only worn by the cows, goats, sheep, and reindeer have to wear them for the same reasons as well.

The bells that are made for the cows tend to be heavier and louder than the bells designed for the sheep, goats, and reindeer.

Usually, all bells(whether they are cowbells or not) are referred to as “cow bells” and it’s due to extensive use with cattle.

Some livestock keepers believe that the bell sound scare the predators away

Dogs, coyotes, bobcats, and some other similar animals are believed to be cows’ biggest predators. Electric fencing is installed and cowbells are often wrapped around the neck to scare the predators away.

The time has changed now, only a few cows from the herd are usually wearing the bells

There was a time when most of the cows in the herd used to wear bells since the day electric fencing is introduced only one or two cows from the herd are usually wearing bells.

If one bell is enough to proude 113 decibels noise imagine what would be the situation if all cows in the herd are wearing bells?

cow-bell

Wrapping a Bell Around the Neck Should be Avoided

It’s not that hard to keep a track of animals if electric fencing is installed or you have someone to look for your cattle.

It is suggested to avoid taking bell aid if possible as it messes around with the hearing, grazing, and chewing habits.

If you have a consider a bell anyway, consider putting it around the neck for a short time. Try taking off as soon as possible.

Now that the worth-sharing information is served, it’s still not fair to end the post here. So, let’s discuss it a little more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are cowbells heavy?

Yes, most of the cowbells are heavy because they are made from iron, copper, bronze, or brass. The bells that are made from the above-mentioned material typically weigh around five pounds and a half.

However, not all bells are heavy. Some are made from thin metal as well, they are equally loud but less heavy. The livestock keepers usually prefer iron, bronze, brass, and copper bells so yes the bells are heavy.

Are cowbells cruel?

Cowbells are cruel because they are heavy and produce more sound than legal noise. To sprinkle salt to the wounds, the cowbells discourage grazing and regular chewing. So yes, these are enough reasons to call cowbell cruel. Do you know cows cry in cruelty.

Do Bells Hurt Cows?

Yes, bells do hurt cows in one way or other. The bells are heavy and produce a really loud annoying sound. The noise that cowbells produce can cause deafness. If the burden they feel and the noise they get to hear all the time is not bothersome what else would be?

Why do Livestock farmers put a bell around the cow’s neck?

The livestock farmers in Switzerland, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Mediterranean areas usually wrap a bell around the neck to keep the track of animals. A livestock farmer in Switzerland also believes that it protects the cattle with faith and wards off evil.

Do bells bother cows?

Yes, bells are heavy and noisy. Typically, it weighs around five and a half pounds and produces more sound than legal noise. How would a piece of metal that is heavy and super noisy not bother an animal that has been blessed with sensitive hearing?

Learn About Why Do Cows Have Nose Rings?

Summary

In Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa livestock farmers mainly wrap a bell around the cow’s neck to keep a track of the animal. Whereas, in Switzerland, bells are often wrapped not just to keep track but to ward off evil and protect cattle with faith.

Bells are exceptionally heavy, they typically weigh around five and a half pounds and produce more sound than legal noise. Bells can cause deafness and interrupt grazing and chewing habit. For all these reasons, cowbells are considered cruel. Bells can be avoided if the cows are allowed to graze only in a confined electrical fenced place.

  • Araceli Diamond is a Livestock expert and animal breeder. She has her own local farms for breeding and livestock nourishment. She is a research writer and answers the questions of readers.

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