Why Do Cows Like Music?

If you’ve ever walked out to your cows playing a song on your phone or singing a tune, they may have gathered around to listen. 

It’s strange, but any cow owner has likely noticed how cows seem to like music.  

Playing music for cows intrigues and interests them since they’re curious animals. Additionally, music can help a herd in some emotional distress as listening to music can help cattle decrease stress. Some dairy cows even increase milk production when they listen to music.

Just the right soundtrack can help a dairy farmer out quite a bit! 

Keep reading, and we’ll cover everything you need to know about cows and their music preferences.

why do cows like music

What Happens When Cows Listen to Music? 

Cows react to music in a few ways. 

At just a glance, you’ll probably see them gather close to check things out, but there are a few other benefits for them other than their enjoyment of the activity. 

Your cattle will likely reap a few benefits from enjoying their favorite tunes. 

Satisfying Curiosity

When they first hear it, their first response is likely curiosity. 

After all, cows are curious animals and love to explore in a safe environment. 

Music is a safe stimulus they can enjoy as they please or as a farmer offers it. 

It’s a great way to give your cows something to enjoy without the excessive stress prey animals often experience when surprised by something new. 

Calming Your Cattle

The right type of music can help calm a herd as well. 

Think about it this way: when a person is stressed, they might throw on some of their favorite music to relax. 

Cows can experience something rather similar. 

This can help when cows are in distress for various reasons, including helping to soothe them if they’re unwell or separated from the herd.

This has much to do with the reaction music can create in cow brains.

When a cow listens to music, its brain releases positive chemicals like endorphins and serotonin. 

This puts them a little more at ease and reduces stress. 

There is a similar reaction in human brains too! 

Increase Milk Production

In dairy herds, listening to music can also lead to physical responses. 

Namely, some farmers have seen an increase in milk production in cows when there’s some music on.

Does Singing to Cows Calm Them? 

Well, it depends. If your cows enjoy your singing, it’s not unlikely to find them enjoying your tune as you work around them or spend time with them. 

Gently humming or singing to cows has long been used to keep a herd calm and collected.

Another factor affecting this is what you choose to sing. 

Cattle farmers have often noticed slow music is better than singing to cows. 

It makes sense too! 

Something like a lullaby or a ballad would naturally sound more soothing to one of these animals than a louder, harsher tone.

What Music Do Cows Like Best? 

Choosing the right types of music plays a big role in rather your cows reap the benefits or not. 

Some music will cause more stress than it calms!

One safe bet for many is classical music. 

This is because cows enjoy more calming music and classical music boasts plenty of compositions fitting this criterion. 

More generally speaking, evidence from one study at the University of Leicester in the U.K. suggests cows enjoy music best when it has fewer than 100 beats per minute.

This often makes classical music and other gentle tunes the best choice for keeping cattle relaxed. 

Believe it or not, the study found cows appreciated Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts,” and, in keeping with the appeal of classical music to cattle, Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony.” 

Interestingly, you may also notice your herd seems to have more individual preferences! 

Like a person, these animals can show preferences for experiences, including music and songs, but this individual preference is much harder to study.

 There’s also evidence to suggest cows may remember music they’ve heard. 

Do Cows Produce More Milk When Listening to Slow Music? 

Classical and downtempo tunes are great when you want to calm your cows. 

Fortunately, for dairy cattle farmers, music can also help with milk production. 

A 2001 study from the University of Leicester found that slow music could increase milk production by 3% compared to when the cow was listening to fast music. 

So, even if you’re only worried about an increase in milk production, you’ll still want to stick to slower, more calming songs.

What Music Do Cows Not Like? 

As mentioned earlier, the University of Leicester study found anything above 100 beats per minute is more likely to frighten your cow than calm them. 

This means fast, heavy music can increase stress levels among the herd. 

This negates a lot of the positive effects of music on cattle. 

This largely comes back to cattle being prey animals. 

This makes them rather anxious creatures, and intense music can overwhelm and startle them. 

For better results in both your cow’s emotional state and milk production, it’s better to stick to downtempo tracks.

To keep cattle calm and enjoy the experience, you’ll also want to avoid music with sudden high notes as this can startle them. 

Many instruments like brass or drums are more likely to startle your herd. 

Believe it or not, your cow might love the sound of some accordion music!

Does Loud Music Stress Cows? 

Yes, playing loud music can stress your cows more than it calms them. 

So, when you’re playing a track for your herd, it’s better to let your cows come in a little closer rather than blasting the song as loud as possible. 

If you turn on a radio or music source suddenly at a high volume, you’ll startle the herd rather than calm them down.