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DrDeb
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Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
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Posted: Sun Jun 20th, 2021 06:34 am
Dear readers & students -- I've been asking everybody I know of who has experience with cattle, which I think some of you do. Has anyone seen any cattle -- cow, bull, calf, heifer, bullock, etc. -- "rest a hind leg" like a horse? Both horses and cattle have an enlarged medial epicondyle to the femur -- that's a knob that is formed at the lower end of the thigh bone -- that allows them to fix the patella upward and thus cause the hind limb to "lock" in extended position, which allows the animal to stand on that leg without effort, and then usually they also flex the other hind leg and "rest" it by setting it down on the toe.

However, there is nothing that says that the anatomy that permits this absolutely has to go along with the behavior. I myself have never seen cattle do it, but my experience with cattle is limited and so I bring the question here.

This may seem like a very strange request but in fact it pertains to a scientific study I'm currently engaged upon, so it's more important than it might at first seem. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Forgewizard
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Posted: Wed Jun 23rd, 2021 08:39 pm
I have worked on several dairy farms, tie stall, feedlot and pasture arrangements. NO, I have never seen a bovine rest a hind leg like a horse does. Bovines do tend to lie down to rest throughout their day.

DrDeb
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Posted: Wed Jun 23rd, 2021 09:25 pm
Thanks for your reply, Forgewizard. "NO" is the answer I am expecting to hear, but....if there were one instance of it, I would love to hear about it. But "NO" is good as being the normal observatrion. -- Dr. Deb

Aloha
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Posted: Thu Jun 24th, 2021 11:13 pm
No, but now I'm also curious as to why. I do recall in our anatomy classes you mentioned how a cow's pelvis is more rotationally flexible than a horse's. That the bucking steers can twist and kick the hat right off the bronc rider's head haha. So, maybe that has something to do with it? If they have the stay apparatus to keep the leg upright, but the pelvis can twist more, maybe they'd just lean so far over and fall down anyway?
DrDeb
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Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2021 06:13 am
Aloha, the idea in the study is to see if there is any correlation between leg-resting behavior and the stifle anatomy that would "theoretically" make leg resting possible. The two do not HAVE to go together, so the only way we can check on the behavior is to see if we can catch a cow doing it -- if they ever do it.

And yes, cattle do have the capability to rotate the individual lumbar joints, which horses absolutely do not; so you'll never see a bareback or saddle bronc, or even a mule, buck and kick the cowboy's hat off. But the lumbar anatomy has nothing to do with the question regarding the stifles. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Katherine
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Posted: Mon Aug 2nd, 2021 08:44 pm
Hello Dr Deb,
No, I used to farm beef cattle and have not seen this -
As Forgewizard noted, they will lie down and chew the cud many times over a day, and thinking about it (actually for the first time!) I don't believe I have ever seen cattle sleep standing up. They often stand and cud on a sunny day, with eyes half shut, but they're definitely not sleeping, merely relaxing. Hind leg(s) do not appear locked, both weighted.
Regards,Katherine





hurkusdurkus
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Posted: Mon Oct 11th, 2021 01:54 pm
Dr. Deb, I have been breeding cattle for a long time, and observed thousands of them.
As you might expect, I haven't ever seen cattle rest a hind leg like a horse does, in order to have a nap.

However, they will stand, and unweight a hind limb in a similar manner, if there is a significant, painful lameness in that hind limb. The more common instances would be footrot (bacterial infection of the skin between the claws of the hoof), hoof capsule abscess, or stifle ligament injury.

That said, they will usually prefer to rest sitting on their brisket. You can spot a lame cow easily, if you notice that all of the herd is up grazing except one, sitting on her brisket and chewing her cud, looking quite content. It is only upon getting her up that the lameness is obvious.



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