Cow Tipping

For the life of me I cannot find an answer to this question already, so I’ll ask.

What exactly happens when you tip over a cow? I know its done a lot as a prank in country areas. I would try some, uuuh, first hand experimentation but I’m quite far away from any cow farm. Anyways, what happens? Do they just get back up or are they stuck, upside down, until some old farmer finds out?

If they can’t get back up how do they sleep and get up?

And if they can get up, whats the point?

If this is asked somewhere else, sorry, but I can’t find it…

Um, did you try a Straight Dope archive search?

A search on “cow tipping” turned up this article by Cecil:

Is there really such a thing as cow tipping?


Here Cecil’s answer

There is no such thing as cow tipping. Cows don’t sleep standing up.

Cow tipping is an urban legend, and we all know that the only thing more fun than an urban legend is duping people into believing it is true. Even Cecil is prepared to believe it is true based merely on secondhand stories. Where is the documentary evidence? I challenge anyone to show me a videotape of a cow being tipped over. I will even gladly transport someone to a nearby field of cows, and provide the video camera.

Just because they don’t sleep standing up doesn’t mean they don’t stand up. Cows do stand around quite a bit, and small ones can indeed be tipped. A certain rather rednecky friend of mine does indeed have a poor quality night-shot video of doing just that.

The cow said, “Moooo,” and got back up.

yeah right. A friend of a friend of your second cousin says he has a blurry tape of a small cow being tipped. Or maybe it’s a big dog.

Knocking over a calf isn’t “cow tipping,” not in the way it is normally described. There is no such thing as cow tipping.

I will gladly take anyone who thinks they can tip a cow out to a nearby field where they can try to prove they can do it. Afterwards, we’ll go on a snark hunt.

No, a friend of mine showed me the tape in which he tips over a standing cow. I’m no cow expert, but the thing was maybe 300 pounds, certainly not a full grown cow.

I’ve heard this argument for many years. All I can possibly add is an invitation: I will be wrestling approximately 50 head of cattle this spring, and anyone who wants to attempt to tip one over, or muscle it through a gate, or even hold it for the castration, is welcome! Come one, come all!

Don’t you mean “snipe” hunt? We used to take moron’s cow-tippin’, the fun was watching them (usually drunk)running through the pasture, stepping in manure, chasing the cows in the middle of the night!

Something I’d like to interject from having grown up with dairy farmers for neighbors:

Cows have internal organs that are rather, um, loosely connected. It is possible for a cow to get a condition whereby the stomach becomes displaced, or even twists shut, a condition which is potentially fatal. The farmer will treat it by rolling the cow over onto its back in an attempt to make the stomach regain its rightful spot. Ain’t that easy to do, and you’ll need help.

I wonder if some wiseacre first thought of it after witnessing some farmer treating his cow’s disarranged guts.

This is apparently called an abomasumal displacement or torsion, and and this source acknowledges the rolling of the cow onto its back, though it claims that it’s likely to be a temporary solution, and suggests you should have a veterinary surgeon stitch the stomach in place:

We won’t mention the various treatments for bloat.

Chas.E, in a film RED SKY AT MORNING there is such a scene a few times.

This is about cow tipping, not necessarily ‘sleeping cow tipping’ But at night they are less likely to run from you cause they can’t see you coming.

      • handy, , -it was in a movie, so it’s real? Is that a regular movie, or a documentary?
  • A friend who worked at a stockyard said that some of the cows were always awake at any one time. When someone would cut through the property, even at night, the cows would all begin to move around and make noise. -So maybe you could sneak up on one cow, but surprising a bunch might be pretty hard.
  • Also when angry they can be hazardous. Unless you’re experienced at rodeo foolishness, it’s not wise to play with cows. - MC

Just thought you might like to try cow tipping for yourself Chas.E.

Now let’s go bag us some snark (snipe are indigineous to the other side of the country).

MC, its a film based on the book of the same name, but it’s pretty old. They did it in the film a couple times.

It surprises me that there is no or org.

Can’t get your fill of cow tipping discussion? Go here!

I hafta speak up. I grew up in Iowa. Not on a farm, I was a “city boy” in a town of maybe 2500 people when the County Fair was on. I spent lots of nights with friends on dairy farms. My alma mater, Iowa St. has a dairy farm, and I had plenty of friends with too much time on their hands.

I have NEVER FREAKING HEARD of COW TIPPING outside of the internet.

I have raised beef cattle for more than 25 years. I also am famiiar with dairy cattle. A few quick facts about cattle:

they sleep only 2 maybe 3 hours per day. (they dont sack out and sleep all night like humans do)

they sleep lying down for usually 30 min to 1 hour at a time

it is difficult to sneak up on them when they are asleep because they stay in groups and there are always several awake looking out. the “lookouts” alert any others of danger(people or animals approching) by making sounds or moving.

their night vision is better than human night vision

they are too heavy to tip over easily

even a sedated cow has to have her legs tied together to throw her down( unless she is so heavily sedated thet she just goes down on her own)