Sometimes, of course, a smart farmer can put this animal delusion to good use. My neighbor Floyd Dexter does this regularly. Like all Vermont farmers, he gets his hay baled and under cover as fast as possible. Sometimes this means a few bales at the edge of a field aren’t quite dry enough and develop a musty odor. Cows don’t fancy hay with a musty odor. So Floyd keeps one little section of fence that has only three strands of barbed wire – instead of four – permitting the cows to get their heads through more easily. Then he puts the musty hay outside.
Confronted with tasty grass on the inside, and maybe a couple of bales of good hay in the feeder, the cows form a long row, heads through the fence, and eagerly chomp musty hay. According to Floyd, the cows reason like this: That hay is out of our reach because he doesn’t want us to have it. Therefore it must be exceptionally good. So even at the risk of tearing our necks on this wire, let’s spend the rest of the day trying to steal it. And they do.
Reader’s Digest, March 1985, pages 47, 48