What’s the Dumbest Farm Animal?

At one time or another, I’ve tried my hand at raising nearly every type of farm animal. Cows. Sheep. Pigs. Chickens. Care to get more specialized? Turkeys and goats, rabbits and ducks. To put it in proper perspective, let’s delve into the obscure: guinea hens, peafowl, burros and even rainbow trout. Suffice to say, if it grazes or grunts, roosts or roots, chances are it’s spent time on our farm. Because I’m a livestock farmer, people love to share their opinions about animal intelligence with me. Some folks think cows are the dumbest farm animal, while others insist it’s chickens. A vocal minority would have you believe that—when it comes to smarts—turkeys are the foulest fowl. Over the years, I’ve heard every opinion under the sun. “My grandfather used to raise chickens. You know, they were the dumbest birds…” “Everyone says sheep are stupid, but have you ever watched a cow drooling and slobbering? I mean, dumb as bricks…” “I raised goats for a few years, and they’d always get their horns stuck in the fence. You’d think that after a few times they’d figure it out…” In my line of work, I interact with animals daily. I’m just as likely to be feeding a fluffy baby chick as I am loading a thousand pound steer on the trailer, or trimming the hooves of a thoroughly uncooperative two hundred pound ram. And when things don’t go right—when the pigs tip over the new feeder and ruin their grain, or the turkeys roost on top

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4 thoughts on “What’s the Dumbest Farm Animal?

  1. Also, it pays to disbud at about 1 week- our Nubians never had a chance to get their horns stuck in the fence.

  2. Nice article. I can tell you how to keep goats off cars. Good fences. If they never get a chance to climb a car, they won’t. My Nubians came from farms with good fences. I do rotational grazing with corral panels in the farmyard and sometimes when they’re ready to head back to the barn, I just turn them loose to run on their own. My goats are never allowed to run unsupervised and thus have no interest in climbing on cars let alone pooping on them. But watch out bird feeders! If given a chance, the goats will converge and try to lick the grain out of the feeder.

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