Cows, Magnets, and Magnetism

This definitely falls into the bizarre-for-me category of information. 

<a href=""l target="_blank" ><img src="" align="left" alt="" /></a>Thanks to <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">@Carl_Ingalls</a>, I learned today that farmers - in the west, at least, not sure about Sri Lanka - <a href="" target="_blank">feed magnets to their calves</a> at branding time. That magnet then stays in their rumen or reticulum and stays there for the life of the cow. 

Why? Yeah, it sounds odd to us non-farmers, but really, it's a very good idea. 

That magnet then attracts the odd bits and pieces of barbed wire, nails, staples, and so on that cows will eat. Left to their own devices, that barbed wire, nails, staples, and so on can cause the cow medical problems - and it's called hardware disease. 

That's interesting bit of information number one. 

Now for interesting bit of information number two and me wondering how related they are. 

Cows, when left to their own devices, <a href="" target="_blank">will align themselves</a> <a href="" target="_blank">north to south</a>. Magnetic, not geographic. 

BUT when the cows stand next to power lines, which have a mild electromagnetic field of their own, cows are geomagnetically confused and point in whichever direction tickles their fancy. 

Do the magnets in the cow's rumen or reticulum affect this geomagnetic tendency in cows? Why or why not? 

What happens to cows that are near super magnets? What if there was a super magnet in a space ship that was transporting cows and it was turned on? Would the weight imbalance cause the ship to... what? Have steering problems? 

And, more importantly, how can or will you, as a writer, work information like this into your stories? 
Author: LMAshton
Howdy! I'm a beginner artist, hobbyist photographer, kitchen witch, wanderer by nature, and hermit introvert. This is my blog feed. You can find my fediverse posts at

8 thoughts on “Cows, Magnets, and Magnetism

  1. You are very right about the cow magnets. Ranchers in the the USA only use them if a cow gets sick. The magnets are the size of a man’s first finger. Smooth and round. Used to play with them when I was a kid.

  2. No, hadn’t heard about magnet-hats on alligators, either. I’m beginning to think I’ve been too sheltered! 😀 And of course, now I have to research that…

    Thanks for commenting and enlightening me, Kira. 🙂

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