How do you know a cow is happy and healthy? She has happy lines!! No, it doesn’t mean she’s smiling. It means she has horizontal lines that are right down the side of her ribs. It looks like you took your fingertips and raked down the side of the cow’s ribs from front to back.
As you can see from the picture, the horizontal lines are subtle, but you can definitely see the pattern there.
It turns out that happiness isn’t hard to find on an organic dairy farm like Reedy Fork. Look for the lines on the lactating cow!
Farmers closely observe their cows and are pleased when they see a cow with a glossy coat and a left side that’s nicely rounded. A glossy coat means the cow’s getting good nutrition, and the roundness means the cow has good rumen fill.
When a farmer sees the ridges on a cow’s abdomen called happy lines, it’s the absolute best sign for a healthy, well-fed cow. As you may have suspected, happy, healthy well-fed cows produce great tasting milk. It turns out that a farmer’s first indication of superior tasting dairy products is when he spots happy lines on his herd.
So now you know. Happy lines tell the farmer that he has happy, healthy cows which give the best milk.
Instead of counting cows on your next road trip, you might try counting happy lines.