Dairy cows get moody as teenagers too, according to the first study to investigate the development and stability of personality traits of cattle from birth to adulthood.

Researchers found dairy cows have stable personalities as calves and adults, but their moods become much more changeable during puberty.

Researchers said their findings were relevant for the management of commercial dairy cattle, given that the personality of domesticated farm animals has been linked with productivity, health, and welfare.

The study found that calm cows consumed more feed, produced more milk, and had improved growth, compared to more reactive cows.


Personality traits were highly consistent during the earlier and later rearing periods, but not across the puberty period.

Similar to findings in other species across taxa, personality may change in cattle around sexual maturation, possibly due to major physiological changes or external management factors around this time.