Cows prefer to co-moo-nicate in person, research suggests

Cattle enjoy being stroked along the underside of their neck, researcher Annika Lange says.

(CNN)Cows don't make video calls but if they did, chances are they'd hate them just as much as most of us do.

The farm animals prefer face-to-face chat, new research from Austria suggests. Cows are more relaxed after being spoken to directly by a live human rather than when listening to a recorded voice via a loudspeaker, researchers found.
"Our study suggests that live talking is more relaxing for our animals than a recording of a human voice," said Annika Lange, a doctoral student at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna and author of the study, in a press statement.
    "Interactions may be less positive when they become artificial."
    Previous research has shown that cows are quite sophisticated "co-moo-nicators" -- both among themselves and with humans. Scientists have discovered that cows make distinctive sounds when excited, lonely or looking forward to a meal, and they direct low-frequency calls toward their calves.
    They're also responsive to human voices. Calves can learn to be called by individual names and have learned to follow specific calls to go to the milking shed. They also seem to show a clear preference for handlers who talk gently rather than shout.
    This latest study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, suggests that cows prefer to listen to humans in person.