Although they are typically referred to as “cow bells” due to their extensive use with cattle, the bells are used on a wide variety of animals.
The primary reason that goats and sheep wear bells is so that farmers can find them. Pastures can be large, hilly, and covered with tall grass, so seeing every sheep and goat is not always easy. Bells help the farmers find out of sight animals and ensure none get lost.
Bells make it easy to find a single sheep, and they also make it easy to locate the entire herd. Without seeing their sheep or goats, farmers can tell that they are in the proper location by listening for the sound of their bells, and they can react to any problems quickly thanks to information they can pick up from the bells.
You don’t always need to put a bell on an animal to protect it. Sometimes it’s to protect you. Rams can be aggressive and like to sneak up behind you and attack, which can hurt. If you place a bell on the ram, you will be able to hear it approach.
Another good reason to put a bell on sheep or goats is to deter predators. Some bells are quite loud, especially when compared to the normal noise a sheep or goat makes, and it might be enough to scare away a dangerous predator. The sudden ringing can alert you to the danger.
If you use a herding dog to keep the sheep in position, there is a good chance the bell ringing will alert the dog to the danger so we can quickly get involved with protecting the animal. You can even train the dog to react to this type of ringing if it doesn’t do so naturally, making it one of the best reasons to put a bell around your sheep or goat’s neck.