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Old 17-06-2010, 14:13   #1
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Do Cows Always Face Downwind ?

Well, it may or may not be known to you that cows are supposed to face off wind in breezes so I went driving around the hills this afternoon trying to find some to explore and validate whether is fact or fantasy? And what kind of cows are better indicators than others? Do Hereford's "heave to" at 20 kts or 10 kts? Are Holsteins more reliable than Ayrshires in rainy conditions?

Anyway, it got me thinking about the kinds of rare advice and knowledge we hear and hold dear, as it applies to weather or reading the sea. Please feel free to post your own ( incl practical ones - reading sea and sky, and riding lows).
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Old 17-06-2010, 14:22   #2
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They do always face in same direction dont they I was thinking about this just the other day

WikiAnswers - Why do cows face the same direction

"an animal grazes with its tail to the wind. This is a natural instinct, so the animal may face and see an invader; and invader from the opposite side would carry out its scent to the cow, in the wind."

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Cattle shown to align north-south

"In the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, scientists say the Earth's magnetic fields may influence the behaviour of these animals."
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Old 17-06-2010, 14:24   #3
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Do cows always face down wind?

No, but most cruising sailors do...

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Old 17-06-2010, 14:26   #4
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I think the bigger question is:

1. Why do you care?

2. Why would you ask a sailing forum?
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Old 17-06-2010, 14:32   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ViribusUnitis View Post
I think the bigger question is:

1. Why do you care?

2. Why would you ask a sailing forum?
That's the way to contribute to a conversion

How about the Red Sky saying; anyone have any input as whether this has any truth?
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Old 17-06-2010, 14:37   #6
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Originally Posted by ViribusUnitis View Post
I think the bigger question is:

1. Why do you care?

2. Why would you ask a sailing forum?
Because wind direction is somewhat relevant to sailing perhaps?

In a coastal race near farming land, knowledge of wind direction on shore might be very useful, as indeed it might be to a coastal cruiser.

FWIW, I haven't noticed any such orientation issues with local dairy cows. They stand however they like. Perhaps because they have no natural predators here (New Zealand).
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Old 17-06-2010, 14:39   #7
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No this is important to know because if they don't face downwind, it might not always be pleasant to be in their wind shadow.

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Old 17-06-2010, 14:39   #8
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ViribusUnitis - because its found in many sailing books as a means to judge the wind direction close to shore sheesh! get a grip. And you're missing the point, I'd like to hear others from people.

Don - Red sky is absolutely true.
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Old 17-06-2010, 14:41   #9
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Paradix - I think in the southern hemisphere dairy cows rotate clockwise, while in the northern hemisphere counter-clockwise.
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Old 17-06-2010, 14:41   #10
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I've never seen it in a book for judging wind on shore. I guess I can learn something new everyday. I have no idea how you'd see the cows though. At least in Texas, the shore is so dang flat, they're ususaly out of sight as soon as they're off the beach.

So my experence with cows, which I do have a fair bit as I've been around them most of my life, is they do that when there is a strong wind that tends to hurt. Such a a cold december wind, or in a dust storm.

Apperently the butt isn't as senstive as the nose. When the wind is light or shifts alought, they don't seem to care much at all.

If the cows want to move someplace, they point in that direction, regardless of which way the wind goes. My experence is they're a bit like large playful dogs.
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Old 17-06-2010, 14:43   #11
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Not sure about the wind thing, but many years ago a friend who was a Texas dairy farmer and cattleman tried to convince me that the dairy cows establish a pecking order and return to the barn for milking in the same order every morning and afternoon. Being a skeptical city boy, I had my doubts. However, Virubus Unitis, to make this forum-related, I did take him sailing once.
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Old 17-06-2010, 14:46   #12
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See ➥ Maritime Weather Sayings

And ➥ Weather Wisdom

I've also read (somewhere?) that cows generally face North.

Red at night ...


In mid-latitude regions, weather systems usually move from west to east.

When the sun is low in the sky, at dawn and dusk, sunlight travels through more atmosphere than at other times of day, resulting in scattering by water vapour, water droplets, dust particles etc. in the air. The (shorter) red wavelength is better able to go on a direct course, and be reflected back off clouds, whereas the blue light is more scattered before reaching the cloud and is therefore less visible. So, we see the clouds as red as the light that is reaching them is primarily red.

If there is broken cloud in the morning we may look to the west and see red light reflecting back from the cloud, i.e. 'red sky in the morning'. As the clouds are coming towards us there must be a chance of rain, at least an increased chance compared with the cloudless period we had just enjoyed.

Likewise for 'red sky at night'. If we see red clouds in the evening they will be in the east and have already passed us by, giving a good chance of clear skies and fine weather ahead.
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Old 17-06-2010, 14:48   #13
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Weather Proverbs

Weather proverbs, including the red sky one.. interesting read
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Old 17-06-2010, 14:54   #14
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Good stuff here. I like the cow hurding note by ViribusUnitis - can be used to judge wind conditions (high vs low)
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Old 17-06-2010, 14:54   #15
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Sheep move upwind.

a good thing to know is some grazier is ever stupid enough to have a sailor go round up his sheep.

Just go up to the windward fence and pick a good looking one.


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