Dogs bark, chickens cluck, cows moo, and bulls… moo? Or do they? There are many differences between regular cows and bulls, but is the noise they make one of them?
Bulls do moo, similar to how cows moo. Bulls moo for mostly the same reasons as cows, to communicate and socialize with their herd, but bulls also make some other sounds due to their higher aggression. In addition to regular social mooing, bulls make loud, aggressive moos called bellowing.
In this article, we’re going to look at why bulls moo, how their moos differ from regular cow moos, and look at some different mooing noises bulls make and what they mean.
Do Bulls Moo The Same As Cows?
Bulls moo in the same way and for mostly the same reasons as cows, although they have some additional mooing noises that cows don’t tend to make.
Cows and Bulls are of course the same species. The only difference between cows and bulls is that bulls are males, and their reproductive organs are left intact so they can be used for breeding.
Any difference between bull and cow moos comes down to differences in cow and bull behaviors (bulls are more aggressive) and differences in size (bulls tend to be larger and more muscular than cows).
Cows are prey animals and are highly unlikely to moo in aggression. Bulls are more aggressive and may moo aggressively, unlike most cows. This type of aggressive mooing is much louder than regular cow mooing and is called bellowing.
Why Do Bulls Moo?
Bulls moo for mostly the same reasons as cows, with a few small exceptions. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons bulls moo below:
1: To Communicate With Their Herd
Although bulls are often kept separate from the rest of the herd to prevent unwanted pregnancies, bulls are still the same species as cows and are highly social. They moo to communicate with their friends and take part in social grooming, social grazing, and form complex, hierarchical relationships within their herd.
Sometimes bulls are kept together with other bulls or with steers (Castrated male cattle). This is much better for the bull since the herd provides cows and bulls with crucial social enrichment to keep them happy.
Read More: Are Cows Emotionally Intelligent?
2: They are Hungry or they have Found Food
Although bulls are sometimes thought of as solitary, aggressive creatures, bulls are herd animals at heart and work together to find food just like cows do.
Bulls have a larger mass than smaller cows and need even more grass just to maintain their weight.
Bulls make use of their herd instincts and call out to the rest of the herd if they can’t find enough to eat. They will also call out if they find something good to eat, so the rest of the herd can come and eat it too. Cows are naturally egalitarian and bulls are too, even if they can be a bit aggressive around mating season.
Bulls are usually fed with supplemental corn, soy, or oats since their huge mass makes it difficult for them to consume enough grass to maintain their massive weights.
Related Article: Can Bulls and Cows Swim?
3: Threat Display
Bulls are prey animals and are easily startled or frightened by unusual objects, but when a bull is angry or scared, they are much more likely to act aggressively than a cow.
One tactic bulls use to scare off predators is to moo loudly and aggressively. This type of mooing is called bellowing and is genuinely terrifying to hear. Regular cows may also bellow if they are faced with a predator attacking their calves and have no option to flee.
Other threat displays employed by bulls include waving their horns menacingly, pounding the ground with their hooves, making snorting or chuffing noises, and turning their bodies sideways towards any potential predators to make themselves look bigger.
Read More: Are Bulls Aggressive?
4: To Attract a Mate
Bulls vie for the attention of potential mates by bellowing at the top of their lungs and scaring off other bulls.
These shouting matches are well-documented and are usually referred to as bellowing contests and form just part of a bull’s mating display.
Related Article: Can You Ride A Bull Like a Horse?
Do Bulls Moo or Grunt?
Bulls moo and grunt depending on the circumstances. Grunting or chuffing can indicate that a bull is angry and forms part of a threat display, while regular mooing is typically just communication with their herd.
Bulls make a number of audible sounds with their nose which are distinct from mooing. Grunting, chuffing, and snorting are all signs of aggression or dominance and if you hear them, you should probably get out of the way!
What Does It Mean When a Bull is Bellowing?
If there’s one sound that defines a bull, it’s a loud, deep bellow. A bull’s bellow is easily distinguishable from regular moos, it’s a piercing
Bulls and cows are both capable of bellowing, but cows typically only bellow when they are forced to, for example when they are defending their calves.
Bulls are more agressive than cows and bellow to ward off predators.
When a bull is bellowing, it means they are angry or fearful. Bulls bellow as part of their threat display to ward off predators or when fighting with other males. If you hear a bull bellowing, you should leave them alone for your own sake!
Bulls do moo, just like cows do. Just like cows, bulls moo to communicate with their herd and when they find food, but there are some other mooing noises that bulls make that cows don’t.
When bulls are angry, they will snort and grunt. Combined with other actions like stomping on the ground and waving their horns around, this forms their threat display – the way they warn predators not to get any closer.
Bulls have another special moo which is seldom heard from regular cows. When a bull is enraged, or when they are fighting with another male over a mate, they can let out a loud, deep moo called a bellow.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.