TMost everyone knows that I am not fond of cows and think the only good cow is the one disguised as a ribeye. A dumber creature was never put on this earth; and yes they are dumber than chickens and you'll never convince me otherwise. Something happened the other day that gave me a new respect for cows. DH and I were headed to town when I saw something black "piled up" in one of the pastures, with a bunch of cows gathered around it. I wasn't sure what it was I saw so I had DH back up. It was a young heifer down. DH got out to check on her and she struggled to get up as he approached. He said he believes she was suffering from what the old-timers around here call "hardware disease"; cows have a strange habit of eating things they aren't suppose to, like aluminum, farm implements, etc. DH got out his cell phone and called the neighbor that the cows belong to. We lease our pastures to him so he can graze some of his herd here. We decided to keep an eye on her while we waited for him to get down here. I watched with fascination the other heifers response to the sick one. Some of them used their noses to gently encourage her to get up. Others pushed piles of hay from the nearby haystack around her and even placed some on her back. Still others licked her about her face and neck. The other members of the herd showed real concern for the member of their family that was ailing. So, I still think cows are dumber than a box of rocks, but I have a new respect for how they respond as a family group. I just talked to the farmer that owns the heifer and she pulled through. He said he had another heifer go down the next day and she pulled through as well. However, he said they are having a terrific year for calving, but a horrible year for cows. Another neighbor told him that he has lost 4 heifers this winter and a shocker for me! This huge bull that I admired every time I saw him is dead. They just found him that way in his pasture yesterday morning. DH says they need to be checking the bull for bullet holes since he rarely left his pasture near the road. So, happily the heifer is okay. I told him I will be keeping a very close watch on the rest of the herd until they can figure out what's going on.