Do cows in a field have a 'bathroom'?

Let’s say 50 cows share one large field. When one of them has to take a dump, does it wander off to a certain spot? Do the cows come up with a bathroom area or do they just let it fly right where they are? Do the cows wander around the field all day eating grass and steppng in each other’s crap?

They pretty much lift tail and drop poo where ever they happen to be standing.

I see you have never been in a cow pasture. Cows don’t think about it, make arrangements, and go. It is more like a garbage shoot where things can get ejected suddenly and efficiently at any time. They do it anywhere and the others are happy to walk in it. Cow plops tend to be pretty evenly distributed wherever the cows congregate (they are herd animals BTW and don’t like to go off on their own).

To take advantage of this trait, some organizations have a high-brow, high-stakes game called cow pie bingo or some variation on that. A large pen is marked off with squares and people bet on those squares. They let the cow into the pen and whatever square it plops in first, wins. Even experienced farmers have trouble handicapping that one.

Oh, cow patties aren’t that bad BTW. They are strict herbivores and the plops are basically just unseasoned fertilizer. When I was a kid, we used to pick up the dry ones and throw them like a frisbee at one another. They don’t smell bad and they are rather light so it isn’t that bad. However, I think this is a universal phenomenon from what I have been told. Those fights will always escalate to the wetter stuff if it goes on long enough just like an arms race gone bad. From there, the principles of MAD take over and things get ugly.

So why is human waste so offensive?

Think about all the shit that we eat versus the grass and feed that cows do. There’s your answer.

It is basically just a carnivore/herbivore distinction. Cows and horses and sheep have digestive systems that are good at breaking down only a small range of things. The poop is basically comes out ready to sit for a while and be bagged as a great, inoffensive fertilizer. Dogs, cats, and humans have a more varied diet that includes meat. I know why herbivore poop is rather inoffensive. I can’t quite say why omnivore poop is still bad even on a vegetarian diet but it is.

So cows eat grass that have other cows poop covered all over it? Also, it we ate nothing but grass, our bowel movements wouldn’t smell like they do now? I find this quite hard to believe…

I said it probably wouldn’t be true. The question is still unanswered for anyone that wants to swing by. The herbivore poop part is easier though. Their bodies are designed to take a limited range of rather low-energy materials in, extract as much as possible from them, and let the rather inoffensive byproduct flows as it needs to.

Cow manure isn’t very offensive at all. In fact, I bought approximately 1200 pounds of it this spring in various composted forms and fertilized many plant beds. I spread it with my hands and it smells like rich dirt. Cow manure in pastures dries over the course of a few days and it is basically just fertilizer then too. It is only the fresh ones you have to watch out for. Also, cow pastures tend to be big so, while it is wise to always look out for fresh ones, they shouldn’t be every ten feet. It is closer to the barn and feeding areas where concentrations tend to get high. Those areas are where they get the cow manure to sell BTW. The actual pasture isn’t in bad shape at all.

They generally avoid an area about a foot in diameter around a pie. But some parasites have evolved that catapult out of the pie into the clean grass around it, to be eaten by a cow and continue their life cycle.

Some wags:

a omnivore’s digestive system is shorter then that of a herbivore and has less time to break fully down and vegitables take longer to break down, needing that extra lengh and come out not fully ‘done’. We lack the abilty to re’chew’ cud like cows, so less is actually digested. Vegitarians don’t eat the same as cows do, but include many refined products and flavorings.

Are you saying that manure that’s sold for landscaping comes from areas that are most likely concrete? Cuz I was going to ask how it would be harvested from a grassy area, with the grass removed.

Cows most definitely do not care where they let loose their bowels. One of our calves recently got a faceful when he was nursing from behind. He was only a couple of days old, so he was still all spindly, and looked really pathetic. Mr. Stuff and I took pity and wiped him off with some nice clean straw. I don’t know if he felt better, but I certainly did.

Unless it’s been sitting as anaerobic sludge in the bottom of the manure pit for three months. Yech.

Then why do compost heaps reek so bad?

They don’t if done properly. They actually smell good (to my nose, at least). One that reeks probably went anerobic, at which point all microbiological hell breaks loose.

You just think it’s offensive, because you’ve been culturally conditioned to think that.

As odors go, that odor is not especially strong.
It’s just that we humans have been conditioned by our culture to find it particularily offensive. Possibly that serves as a sanitation, disease-prevention purpose.

Well, I can’t speak to where any particular manure sold for landscaping comes from, but indeed it’s likely to be that removed from, say, a dairy barn. Which most likely has concrete floors. Alternatively, it might come from the corral of a feedlot where due to population density the shit piles up pretty deep until it’s cleared out with a bobcat or some similar device. Nobody would try to collect manure for composting from an actual pasture.

In spite of what’s been said in this thread, fresh cowshit doesn’t have a particularly pleasant aroma, though it admittedly hasn’t a patch on pigshit when it comes to reek.

Feedlots and dairy operators sell manure for fertilizer. The cattle in these places are unlikely to ever see a blade of grass.

Bullshit! (Or cow manure).
Relatives of mine operate a dairy operation with hundreds of dairy cows. Those cows go out into the pasture every morning after milking, and come in again each evening. They even follow each other inside in the same order every day, and tend to know their own stanchions (stalls) and go in the right ones on their own.

But these cows are out in a pasture eating blades of grass nearly every day.
The owners even claim that when the weather is bad enough that they have to keep the cows inside for several days, the cows become discontented and give less milk. (And they’re probably right; they have electronic records of how much milk each individual cow gives at each milking.)

Second the Bullshit call.
Even if a dairy producer doesn’t have an actual pasture, he likely feeds alfalfa or a similar grass for roughage. Sure, it may be harvested and dried, but it’s still an actual and whole plant.

I don’t think the point of your post was to disparage the condition of dairy cows, but I had to be pre-emptive. PETA has eyes everywhere.