A vital part of farming or even living near a cattle farm is to understand why cows moo so that you can take note and maybe even resolve a potentially dangerous event from unfolding.
Cows moo for a number of reasons and most of them are valid. Even though you might not understand why, cows moo to communicate an important message to you or to other cattle.
They feel threatened
One of the most common reasons that cows moo at night is because they feel threatened, either by a person or predator.
Coyotes, mountain lions, and even wild dogs will use the cover of darkness to attack vulnerable cattle. They typically seek out calves, sick cows or senior cattle because they are the easiest to catch.
Cows that see a predator prowling about will moo loudly to alert the rest of the herd that danger is afoot.
They cannot find their calves
Cows will also moo or bellow at night when they are unable to find their calf. Even if the mother cow has been intentionally separated from its calf by a farmer, the mother cow will not understand.
The cow will continue to moo for its calf to find it, at least for a few days. Momma cows that are still in a herd with their calves will sometimes ‘misplace’ their own calf throughout the night and will moo to find them. If the calf hears its mother, it will moo back.
They are lost
Throughout the night, trees can fall on fences allowing cows to inadvertently find their way out of a pasture or enclosure. As a cow grazes unchecked outside its home pasture, it may accidentally get lost.
Cattle are herd animals by nature and while they sometimes venture out on their own for short periods, eventually they will want to be back with the rest of their herd.
Lost cows will often moo repeatedly until the rest of the herd guides the cow back with their own collective moos.
They are hungry or have found new food
Cows that are hungry will often moo, even in the middle of the night, because they are in distress and looking for food.
Cows will also moo when they find food because they are alerting the rest of the herd and they are excited about it, especially when its on the other side of the fence!
They are upset, hurt or stressed.
Cows will moo in middle of the night if they become upset, injured or if they feel stressed in some way or another. Perhaps they were moved from their regular herd of friends, or maybe a familiar cow buddy or other animal friend has been moved or passed away.
Cows that are in pain either emotionally or physically will be stressed and upset which will cause them to moo throughout the day and even through the night.
Even though you may not see an injury, a cow can have internal pain that causes it to moo incessantly.
Cows mooing at night superstition
People that are superstitious often claim that when a cow moos at night, it is an omen that someone is going to die. Some says it will be someone in your close circle, but have no fear, cows moo at night for a specific reason, not because they are superstitious.