Fun Facts About Farm Animals for Kids

By Kathy Mair

Cows, pigs, sheep, chickens and goats are staples of childhood learning through toys, educational television shows and cartoons. However, there is more to know about these animals than just the sounds they make and the way they look. Whether you are taking a class trip to a farm or just want to entertain your kids, fun facts about farm animals can leave a lasting impression.

Pigs

There is more to know about pigs than just mudbaths.

Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Most kids know that pigs like to roll around in mud, but they may not know pigs do this to cool off because they don’t sweat. Despite being stereotyped as dirty, pigs are actually rather clean. Given enough space, pigs will relieve themselves as far from their sleeping area as possible. Like puppies, young pigs enjoy playing with toys and with other piglets. They also like being around people and enjoy a good scratch behind the ears or on the belly. While pigs prefer to spend the majority of their day at rest, they are capable of running roughly 11 miles per hour. Pigs also communicate with each other using more than 20 different noises.

Cows

Cows form friendships within their herd.

Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Just like pictures that children draw of cows, every cow’s pattern of spots is different. A male cow’s horns feature rings, the number of which roughly equals its age. Don’t assume a cow is tired or lazy because it is lying down. This is sometimes a reaction to a change in atmospheric pressure before a storm. With a sense of smell so strong, cows are able to detect scents up to five or six miles away. Like many domesticated pets, cows learn and react to the names they are given by people. They are even known to form cow “cliques” within the herd.

Sheep

Sheep recognize individuals within their flock.

Plush Studios/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Although one sheep may look like any other to a person, members of the same flock have been known to recognize one another even after years of separation. A flock is a social group and a defense mechanism, facing threats together. When a sheep’s fleece is shaved, it must be done in one piece, with the person doing it also holding the sheep still.

Goats

Goats excel at swimming and other physical feats.

David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

Female goats have beards, just like the males. Some are born with horns and, much like human fingernails which are made of the same material, the horns continue to grow for the goat’s entire life. Goats are not only skilled swimmers; they can also climb trees and traverse a ledge as deftly as a circus high-wire performer.

Chickens

A true pecking order exists among some chickens.

Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

“Cock-a-doodle-do” is often one of the first sounds that toddlers learn. The rooster’s crow that signals the sunrise may be heard before any light is seen as chickens spot the break of light almost an hour before people do. Groups of chickens that live freely establish an order of importance among themselves to determine who eats first and who sleeps where. Chickens wash with dust rather than water and clean their feathers with their beaks.