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20 Interesting Facts About Farm Animals

Surprising and unique facts about livestock and poultry
Scott Bish

Just like you, here at Tractor Supply, we care deeply about the horses, cows, sheep, chickens, and other animals that live on our farms.

Whether livestock and poultry provide your family a source of income or companionship that makes your homestead feel complete, it’s fun to think about the many ways in which they’re so unique.

Here’s a list of 20 unusual and fascinating facts that remind us just how special our barnyard friends are.

Farm Animal Facts

1. Alpacas express themselves with humming, neck posturing, ear and tail positioning, and head tilting. They also have excellent eyesight and hearing.

Alpaca

2. An adult male alpaca's upper and lower incisors and lower canines (yes, alpacas have canines, too!) develop into fighting teeth or fangs that can grow to more than 1 inch long.

3. Cows have an acute sense of smell and can detect odors from up to 6 miles away.

cow


4. Cows can see at a nearly 360-degree angle, allowing them to watch for predators.
5. Chickens aren’t completely flightless; they can get airborne enough to make it over a fence or into a tree.

rooster

6. Chickens are not as "bird-brained" as some believe: They’re able to communicate with at least 24 vocalizations that each have a different meaning.

7. Chickens have a built-in compass. Their magnetic sense of direction, which allows them to orient themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field, develops at an early stage of life.

8. Goats are agile creatures: Some can jump over 5 feet.

9. Goats have four-part stomachs, which allow them to digest weeds, bushes, and vines that other animals can’t. In fact, goats are great for clearing land.

10. While humans focus on vocalizations, horses’ posture, gestures, and expressions are extremely important in indicating their emotions.

horses stick head out stall

11. While nearly all vertebrates can vomit, horses cannot.

12. Pigs have 15,000 taste buds. In comparison, humans just have 9,000.

piglets play in mud


13. We don’t usually correlate pigs with speed, but adult pigs can run up to 11 mph.

14. “Breed like rabbits” is rooted in facts. Rabbit gestation is only 30 days, and the average litter can be as big as 12 babies. Male rabbits can reproduce as early as 7 months old, and females can reproduce as early as 4 months old. That means a female rabbit can produce as many as 800 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in a single year.

rabbits peak out of hutch

15. Rabbits communicate with each other through scent marking and touch.

16. Sheep are social animals that instinctively flock together and follow a leader.

sheep

17. Sheep can recognize human faces.

18. One pound of sheep’s wool can produce as much as 10 miles of yarn.

19. Adult turkeys can run up to 25 miles per hour and can fly up to 55 miles per hour.

turkeys gather on farm

20. The average turkey grows 3,500 feathers.