• Adult cattle sleep very little.
  • The sleeping pose is all four legs tucked under and head turned to face the rear.
  • Cattle must be well settled and comfortable before they will sleep. This has big implications for housed stock and design of cubicles.
  • If animals are disturbed at night, they will sleep more during the day.


  • Cattle use a range of body signals to communicate with each other.
  • Their eyes have a key role. They use eyes down to show submission, and eyes up to show confidence.
  • Cows on heat use mounting behaviour to signal to other cows and the bull.
  • Bulls use at least 5 signals with their heads:
    • Normal relaxed position
    • Friendly approach before grooming by another cow
    • Threat approach – watching you with one eye and snorting
    • Submissive avoidance – pretending not to look
    • Withdrawal from conflict and head toss with snort
  • The tail also slightly raised in heat and mild panic.