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Calling the cows

Posted 2/27/2016 11:11am by Mrs. Funny Duck.

I recently came across this neat video of something called ‘Kulning’ which is this olden day type of Nordic cattle call. When you hear it, it gives you goose bumps, shivers down your spine, and brings a smile to your face.  It is a beautiful, haunting sound. 

The idea behind Kulning was it was a way to communicate over far distances and call your livestock in. The high pitch of it carries better. In the short video I made today, I mention this awesome clip I saw of a woman Kulning out in the woods. Here it is, and I highly recommend you watch it. It’s really, really neat.   

Now, I sing my cows to the barn in the summer when they are out grazing and it’s milking time, but it doesn’t sound anywhere near as cool as someone who knows how to do this Kulning stuff.   When I sing my cows in, it’s more likely to elicit guffaws of laughter rather than tingles down your spine. 

I’ve always called them in a high pitch for a few reasons. I can’t whistle worth a darn, I can call louder in a high pitch than in a regular pitch, I always felt like a high pitch carried better through the trees and over the pastures, and I talk and sing to all our critters in a higher voice, so then they know when I’m talking to them.  My regular voice is for people, and when I use a high pitch voice all the livestock look up and pay attention to me. Incidentally, the high pitch works quite well on kids too.

So, this morning before milking, I went out to the far gate of the winter pasture and called the cows. I wasn’t sure if it would work. In the winter, the cow shelter is near the milking barn, so other than trips to the water dish, hay rack, and barn, they don’t really walk around much. As well, like most livestock, cows are creatures of habit. At milking time, they are waiting at the gate before I even arrive.   

They were waiting at the barn gate this morning, and I began to call them over to where I was. They both turned and looked and me, and pushed harder at the gate trying to get in the barn thinking I was calling them to hurry up and get inside. I called again but this time, they not only looked up, one of them bellowed at me. Probably wondering what on earth I was doing over there.  

A few more calls and I remember how to sing them in properly (it's been about 5 months or more since I've had to call them anywhere), and Suzie our lead and boss cow started to walk out to find me. This is why she is our lead cow. This girl is smart, and always ready to do what we ask.

Lucy, still back at the barn was curious, but somewhat confused. Not all cows are quick to learn new things, and here I was asking them to do something I had never asked before. Lucy is a most sweet and generous cow, but about as fast as a bag of hammers tied to a rock when it comes to learning new things.   

By the time Suzie was most of the way over, I stopped calling and ended the video so I could go and give her a treat for being so accommodating. After all, she was trekking out over the snow for no reason other than I had called her there, and now I was feeling bad for having had her make the trip.  

A few minutes later in the barn after I had milked her, I played back the video to watch it. I should have waited until I got to the house, because when the clip got to the part where I was calling, Suzie turned around in the milking stall and walked right over to where I was stood watching the video! Such a good girl.

So, here is our video me singing the cows in. Enjoy, and don’t laugh too hard!