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Fluffy Cows: Getting Behind the Internet Sensation

06 May 2015

Pictures of pampered cattle went viral on the internet last year. A science student and beef ambassador explains they aren't a particular breed, they've just been given special attention.

A product of the cattle showing phenomena, 'fluffy cows' are simply well groomed cattle, according to Will Pohlman, a 2015 Young Beef Ambassador from Arkansas. 

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Pictures like this went viral last year during fluffy cow fever

Fluffy cows are not a single breed

Contrary to what some comments on pictures and blogs might lead you to believe, fluffy cows are simply cattle that are more groomed than average, writes Will.

Many of them are purebred breeds, such as the recognizable Angus, but many are crossbred between two or more breeds.

OK…so How so fluffy?

Fluffy cows get their fluff from intense levels of grooming. Many are washed and dried multiple times a day to keep them clean and brushed to provide the best conditions for hair growth. Most are also kept under fans or in air-conditioned rooms called coolers to keep them cool with all that hair. When at shows or other events, hair spray and adhesive may be used to stand the hair up – similar to some older human hairstyles!

Pinnacle of Care

Between multiple baths a day, a highly monitored feeding regimen of top notch feeds, spending the day relaxing in an air-conditioned barn and receiving constant grooming and other care, fluffy cows definitely lead a pampered life.

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Cleanliness and blow drying result in fluffy coats

While animal welfare is critical on all farming operations, fluffy cows go above and beyond to provide the best possible care for their animals.

So why? With all the work that goes into keeping fluffy cows so fluffy it’s easy to ask, “Why bother?” Fluffy cows are show cattle that spend the first two years of their lives being shown in livestock fairs and exhibitions, often through programs like 4-H and FFA. The project of showing livestock introduces kids to the farm, cattle and helps teach the value of hard work from a young age.

What Happens After Showing?

When cattle turn two years old, they are generally too old to show in most fairs. Some allow older cattle to show with their calf, but for most fluffy cows after they turn two they are demoted to just cows.

They’ll spend the remainder of their life in the field like any other cow and hopefully one of their calves can be a fluffy cow too.

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