There’s nothing quite as satisfying as having an itch scratched and researchers at the University of British Columbia say cows appear to feel the same way. A study from the animal welfare program at the school found dairy cows want to use a scratching brush just as much as they want to access fresh feed.
A scratching brush looks similar to a small bristled roller in a car wash. When the animal steps into or under the brush, it automatically begins rolling. While researchers found that the cows liked using the brush for an average of seven minutes a day, they weren’t sure how important it was to get that scratch.
That is until they used a preference test for the cows, which showed that they were willing to push through a weighted barrier to gain access to the brush just as much as they were willing to push through for fresh feed. They aren’t sure why the cows like to groom themselves. It could be to get rid of dirt or, just like most mammals, they get itchy once in a while.
It gives new meaning to the “Le Vache Qui Rit”