The Secret Life of Cows

The Secret Life of Cows

by Rosamund Young


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"Within a day of receiving this book, I had consumed it... Absorbing, moving, and compulsively readable."—Lydia Davis

In this affectionate, heart-warming chronicle, Rosamund Young distills a lifetime of organic farming wisdom, describing the surprising personalities of her cows and other animals

At her famous Kite's Nest Farm in Worcestershire, England, the cows (as well as sheep, hens, and pigs) all roam free. They make their own choices about rearing, grazing, and housing. Left to be themselves, the cows exhibit temperaments and interests as diverse as our own. "Fat Hat" prefers men to women; "Chippy Minton" refuses to sleep with muddy legs and always reports to the barn for grooming before bed; "Jake" has a thing for sniffing the carbon monoxide fumes of the Land Rover exhaust pipe; and "Gemima" greets all humans with an angry shake of the head and is fiercely independent.

An organic farmer for decades, Young has an unaffected and homely voice. Her prose brims with genuine devotion to the wellbeing of animals. Most of us never apprehend the various inner lives animals possess, least of all those that we might eat. But Young has spent countless hours observing how these creatures love, play games, and form life-long friendships. She imparts hard-won wisdom about the both moral and real-world benefits of organic farming. (If preserving the dignity of animals isn't a good enough reason for you, consider how badly factory farming stunts the growth of animals, producing unhealthy and tasteless food.)

This gorgeously-illustrated book, which includes an original introduction by the legendary British playwright Alan Bennett, is the summation of a life's work, and a delightful and moving tribute to the deep richness of animal sentience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525557319
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/12/2018
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 407,907
Product dimensions: 5.47(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.64(d)

About the Author

Kite's Nest Farm is on the edge of The Cotswold escarpment. It is run by Rosamund Young, her brother Richard, and her partner Gareth. Nature is left to itself as much as possible and the animals receive exceptional kindness and consideration. Kite's Nest Farm produces beef and lamb from 100% grass-fed animals which are butchered and sold in the farm shop.

Table of Contents

Foreword Alan Bennett xix

Introduction 1

A little bit about ingenuity 24

Alice and Jim 25

Mothers and daughters 28

Jake 33

Unusual behaviour needs investigating 39

A little bit on names and more on grieving 40

A brief note about sleep 44

Different kinds of mooing 49

Cows make good decisions 52

Bovine friendships are seldom casual 59

But bulls are a completely different kettle of fish 63

Fat Hat II 67

Cows have preferences 76

Eye contact 78

Cows remember 80

A little bit about horses 81

A digression on sheep, and pigs and hens 81

Difficult carvings - cows are never wrong 89

Dizzy and her family 91

Something happens here every day… 93

Physical communication 96

Notes on grooming 97

A word about milk 100

Calf games 100

Amelia 102

Hens like playing 106

There's another side to hens 107

Amelia again 112

A brief note on birds 114

Self-medication 116

Dorothy and her daughter, Little Dorothy 122

Twenty things you ought to know about cows 129

Twenty things you ought to know about hens 130

Twenty things you ought to know about sheep 131

Twenty things you ought to know about pigs 133

Kite's Nest Farm 135

Bibliography 139

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