Cattle Hair Whorls & Temperament


Temple Grandin is one of my heroes! I think she has accomplished some amazing things in her life and I admire her work with livestock. I have been reading her book, Temple Grandin's Guide To Working With Farm Animals. I have greatly enjoyed this book! I am not finished with the book yet, but to this point I have found the section on "Cattle Hair Whorls" fascinating. First of all, what is a hair whorl? A hair whorl is a swirl of hair on the animal's face or forehead. You can see here, Miss Secret's hair whorl, where the arrow is pointing.

Temple conducted a research study on cattle and the relationship between temperament and the position of their hair whorl. Her study showed that cattle with hair whorls higher than the eyes seemed to struggle more during restraint. Cattle with high hair whorls were more fearful and became more agitated easily. As you can see, in my picture of Miss Secret, she has a low hair whorl. She is a cow that will pull the bag of cubes out of the back of the Polaris Ranger when I am feeding. She is not a fearful cow! After I read about Temple's study, I began looking at the hair whorls on our cattle. I noticed that the cows we have with hair whorls above the eyes, tend to be more apprehensive and stay behind the other cattle when feeding. I found this very interesting. The next time we work cattle I will be observant of cattle temperament and the position of their hair whorl. This could allow for easy identification of cattle temperament. If you would like to read the abstract of Temple Grandin's study on cattle hair whorls visit:

http://www.grandin.com/references/hair.whorl.position.html


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