Monday, 15 June 2015

Can animals tell the time?

Every night (we are definitely creatures of habit) at around ten o'clock, the farmer goes down the yard to shut in the hens.   He takes Tess with him and leaves her wandering about in the yard for her last mooch before bedtime.

Every night at about five minutes to ten Tess gets out of her basket, stretches, yawns, shakes and goes and sits by the farmer - and nudges his leg.  If she could speak I am sure she would say ' come on it's ten o'clock'.

Exactly the same procedure in the morning when the farmer goes for his morning walk around the farm, starting at eight am.   At five to eight Tess gets out of her basket, repeats the procedure and sits by him.

When the farmer opens the back door on both these occasions one of the farm cats (Blackie) is sitting on the doormat waiting for a bowl of milk.   The other farm cat (Creamie) is waiting a few yards away, too shy to come nearer.

Thinking back to our days as a Dairy Farm (before we had foot and mouth), it was exactly the same with the cows.   They would be waiting in a line at the pasture gate at six in the morning and again at four in the afternoon.

What hidden clock prompts animals to being able to tell the time?

18 comments:

Tom Stephenson said...

Nature Watch.

A Heron's View said...

I am sure that animals are aware of time or perhaps better described as the regular frequency of events that are important to them.
For example our dog knows when it is time for his daily feed and also seems to know when it is our shopping day, similarly the cats start to demand their feeds if we are a bit late in serving it up.
So yes they have an awareness of time.

Bovey Belle said...

Our cats can tell the time - but it doesn't stop them trying it on for an extra midnight feast when I can't sleep and go into the kitchen around 3 or 4 a.m. to make myself a hot drink! Animals (humans included) are creatures of habit . . .

Cro Magnon said...

I'm convinced that Bok has a hidden clock somewhere, he's just the same as your Tess. The cat is a reasonable time-keeper, but not as fastidious.

jinxxxygirl said...

Oh i know Jinx our cat has an inner clock... ofcourse my hubby would tell you he has an inner clock too as he can miraculously wake up when he needs to...

thelma said...

It is just our tummies rumbling, I'm the same, no need for a clock. Food is so important for dogs, cats and everything else animal like, we are all tuned into the rhythms of the world and more importantly ourselves.....

Joanne Noragon said...

It's the routine. My little daughter knew Monday we washed, Tuesday we ironed, and Wednesday she stood at the door waiting to go the the communal play room.

Heather said...

Perhaps we are all creatures of habit whether we have four legs or two. Or maybe the animals adopt the habit from observing routines. However, we had an elderly spaniel years ago who would put herself to bed at 10pm whether we showed signs of going to bed or not.

Heather said...

There should be the word 'our' before 'routines' in that second sentence.

Mac n' Janet said...

If we're not up at a reasonable hour, and being retired we often sleep in, the cat comes to get us up so we can feed her. She, at least, has a stomach clock.

Terry and Linda said...

Weather is the constant in every farmer's life that is for sure. And I think routine is the other. Animals function by routine and so do I!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
https://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/sherlock-boomer


LOVE your Header!

Rachel said...

I had a cat that got up every evening at 9.30 pm and sat by the stairs door knowing that it was my bedtime. She never ceased to amaze me that she did this, on time, every night. The cows on the farm were very good timekeepers, as you say, they would come up for milking at the right times twice a day. They used to take a week to adjust to the changing of the clocks. Lovely words in that post.

angryparsnip said...

Lovely post today.
Tess is such a big help.
I have to keep a routine for all of thehamish's meds.
But it also helps with Watson's dementia.
I think it is comforting for him.

cheers, parsnip

Frances said...

I have no cat, no dog, but there are birds living in the treees outside my NYC bedroom window. I think that their early song wakes me before the alarm clock's beep...or perhaps its the sun's rising that does it.

It's more intriguing for me to think about your Tess having an internal clock that also markes evening hours. How does switching over to summer time affect Tess's routine? Or even full moons.

I truly enjoyed this post. Much to mull over. xo

The Weaver of Grass said...

Frances - I must keep an eye on Tess when the clocks change - I never thought of that,
but read Rachel above for what she has to say.Seems we all agree and also seems we all agree that on the whole we all need that order and routine - I know we certainly do. Anything else and I am out of sorts all day.

Maggie Christie said...

I'm not sure if they can tell the time or not, but my dog has been known to nudge my leg to let me know that I've lost track of it and am about to miss the school run. I think they've got some kind of internal clock and use all sorts of clues to tell the time. Scamp isn't affected by the clocks going forwards or backwards, so I can only assume he counts forwards from when the girls go to school in the morning.

Countryside Tales said...

Hey Weaver, thanks for the follow and for your comment.

I agree- animals are creatures of habit and know the timings of their people. If my husband is working away the dogs don't like it at all, they get unsettled and look to the door every now and then from the time he would usually be back asking where he is. Similarly, if my youngest isn't downstairs by 8 on a school morning Poppy (JR) will sit at the foot of the stairs whistling for him.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to everyone for responding.