Cattle, Cows and Oxen


  • Scattering primroses on the ground and hanging a piece of mountain ash or rowan to the door protects cattle from witches.
  • Tarring cows behind the ears and at the root of the tail prevents witches from stealing their milk.
  • You’ll have bad luck in your dealings if you see a woman before a man while driving cattle to market.
  • It’s bad luck to strike cattle with your hand instead of a stick.
  • It’s bad luck to make an offer for an animal that isn’t for sale.
  • On Christmas Eve cattle acquire human speech.
  • You should tell cattle about deaths in your family.
  • If a cow breaks into the garden there will be a death in your family.
  • Giving a piece of mistletoe tot he first cow who gives birth after New Year brings good luck to the whole herd.
  • Cows to be sold should be pushed backward out of the barn or they may prove sterile.
  • White cows are bad luck if you own one and if you see one, spit 3 times to protect yourself.
  • A cow giving birth to twin calves is bad luck, especially if either has a white streak on it’s back.
  • Carrying the tip of a calf’s tongue (the Lucky Tip or Lucky Bit) in your pocket will protect against danger and ensure you are never short of money.
  • Stepping over a calf that is lying on the ground is bad luck for you and the calf.

Cattle as weather omens:

  • Cattle or cows seen feeding close together or lying down near each other are omens of rain.
  • Cattle or cows resting on high ground are omens of fine weather.
  • Expect fine weather if you hear a cow hitting their tail against a fence.

Cows (milking):

  • Singing in the milkshed prevents milk from flowing.
  • A new person in the milk shed deters cows from giving milk.
  • Failing to wash your hands after milking means you’ll get no milk next time.
  • It’s bad luck to milk a cow that is to be sent to market.

Cows (lowing):

  • If you hear a cow lowing after midnight, death is coming.
  • It’s a death omen if a cow lows at a person 3 times.

Cow cures:

  • A cow’s breath can cure consumption.
  • Burning a calf alive protects the rest of the herd from witchcraft and disease.
  • Hanging the diseased leg of a deceased calf near the chimney protects from witchcraft and disease. (ewww)

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