Cows have besties. This sweet (meaning both adorable and amazing in this case) concept's been backed up by science and the dairy industry.
Depending on circumstances, a cow's best friend might not be another cow. Dairy cows meet all sorts of critters on farms, positioning them to bond with social animals from other species, from other herd animals to humans and goats.
Canadian country singer Corb Lund comes from a long line of cattle ranchers, so he knows his fair share about not just farming practices but also the social connections between cows and other animals.
"We had a goat named Rollie that used to hang out with the cattle," Lund says. "I think he thought he was a cow. He wasn't intimidated by them in the least, and would back them off of their hay and eat it himself. I was a fan."
But really, there's serious friendship benefits that aid cows' well-being and productivity.
"The notion that cows have best friends indicates a great degree of personality in the species, and a desire, not unlike our own, to develop deep connections with others," reads a study by Krista McLennan of Northampton University, as reported by Wide Open Pets.
Read More: Corb Lund Shares the Story Behind 'Old Men'
Further, per a 2014 study by the University of British Columbia, young calves that live alone perform worse on tasks of cognitive skill than those with a BFF (which dang near spells beef). So, encouraging these friendships helps dairy farmers and ranchers raise smarter, better livestock.
"When heifers have their preferred partner with them, their stress levels in terms of their heart rates are reduced compared with if they were with a random individual," McLennan said, as reported by the Daily Mail.
"If we can encourage farmers to keep an eye out for those cows which like to keep their friends with them, it could have some real benefits, such as improving their milk yields and reducing stress for the animals, which is very important for their welfare," she adds. "I've spoken to a number of farmers who have said they do notice bonds building among their cows and some spending a lot of time together."
For more music reflecting Lund's experiences on the family ranch, check out Agricultural Tragic, out June 26 on New West Records.