Cow magnets, but not for your fridge


Ever wonder what types of weird things dairy farmers and cattle ranchers buy to help them do their job?

Cow magnets.

And, no, these aren’t cute little magnets in the shape of a cow that say “Bessie” on them. These phallic devices are used to help prevent “Hardware Disease,” a common ailment that occurs when the cows ingest metal while feeding (from staples, bits of bailing wire, etc.). When Hardware Disease hits, the cows lose their appetite and stop making milk or gaining weight. So what do these cow magnets do?

“Cow magnets help prevent this disease by attracting stray metal from the folds and crevices of the rumen and reticulum.”

Yes, but how do they work?

According to one commenter: “[T]he magnets are administered orally… the magnet stays in the cow’s stomach, keeping the hardware in a (relatively) safe clump.”

Well, there you go, then.


9 Responses to “Cow magnets, but not for your fridge”

  1. diane sayres

    how does the cow magnet stay inside the cow’s stomach for the life of the cow? my son is doing a science project on magnets and we don’t have an answer to this question!

  2. Hope

    My parents don’t think that farmers feed their cows magnets. My friend’s dad even said that farmers do. But my parents STILL don’t think it’s true. HELP! PLEAES!
    What do I do?

  3. Denise

    Hope, some people like to live in denial. It’s comfortable, it’s safe, and it can be free of slaughterhouses, pre-teen prostitution, and magnets swallowed by cows, among other things. You might need to go as far as finding a video or an unbiased source.

  4. anna

    wow poor cows f it stays in no more milk!

  5. Delia

    Take a quick trip to any livestock feedstore and you will see cow magnets on display for sale. If not ask the clerk about them. It’s pretty easy to prove.

  6. Barleyspoog

    My father was a veterinarian with a large animal practice.

    Yes, cows are fed cow magnets. This is done by way of a “balling gun”, which is basically a 24-30″ long non-magnetic stick ( which allows you to put down the cow’s throat without losing a finger or otherwise harming the animal.

    Once inside the stomach, the magnet will attract all ferrous material, and because of its size (roughly the size of a man’s index finger), it keeps the material (which is much smaller) away from the folds of the folds and crevices of the stomach. The magnet will stay in the cow’s stomach for the entire life of the animal, and is usually retrieved once the animal is slaughtered.

    Hope this helps.

  7. Ryan

    Usually retrieved”? Does this imply that there are times it’s not and the magnets are still there when the cow is killed?

  8. David

    So, then there must be a pile of magnets outside the slaughter house? Where are they stored? Are their warehouses full of used magnets? Anyone have a photo? Do they get re-used?

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