Cow Tipping – The Urban Legend

Have you ever heard of someone going cow tipping?  Is cow tipping fact or fiction?  I grew up on a farm and as a young kid I can remember people on the school bus telling the tale of going cow tipping the night before.  Were they yanking my chain?  Or, did they really go do this?  Let’s take a deeper dive into the urban legend of cow tipping.

What is Cow Tipping?

As the story goes, cow tipping is the act of sneaking up on a sleeping cow at night and tipping it over. Cows lying on the ground cannot get up quickly.  Because of this, the pranksters can then make a run for it.  The pranksters will then easily escape the bovine’s wrath in the get away car!

How Do Cows Sleep?

Cattle are able to sleep lightly on their feet.  However, they can’t lock their knees like horses can do.  Since the cattle are sleeping lightly, they are easily awakened by approaching strangers in the dark.  The fact is, cattle sleep deeply only while lying down on the ground.

Weight of a Cow

Have you considered how much a cow weighs?  Because cattle are large animals, full grown cattle easily weigh well over half a ton.  One study conducted by Margo Lillie, a zoologist at the University of British Columbia, and her student Tracy Boechler concluded, due to the force it would take to push over a cow, that it’s impossible to be done by a single person.  They concluded it would take at least four people (and more likely five or six) to be able to apply enough pressure to tip over a cow.

Is This Dangerous?

Sneaking up on a dozing cow is almost impossible.  While cattle doze they are easily startled.  If a cow is part of a herd, there is always a cow that is fully awake and ready to sound the alarm that an intruder is present.  This could be very dangerous as it could start a stampede and the cow tippers could be easily trampled.  If the herd has a bull, well, let’s just say attempting to tip a cow could be very dangerous to your health.  DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DO THIS AT HOME!!!


Cow Tipping – The Urban Legend is it fact or fiction?  All in all, cow tipping is most likely just a fun fictional story.  I don’t doubt that there are people in this world who have attempted to do this.  It’s probably a great story to tell friends and family that they went out cow tipping during a drunken stupor.  However, it’s very unlikely that they were successful in actually tipping a sleeping cow!

If you are a fan of cows, check out our cow-related inventory at this link:

Barnyard World – Cow Inventory

If you would like to read more about cow tipping, check out this link:

Wikipedia – Cow Tipping  

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