Skyrim:Cow

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Cow
Location Wilderness, Giant Camps and Farms
Species Highland Cow Soul Petty
Level 3 Type Animals
BaseID 00023A90
Drops
Raw Beef, Cow Hide
Other Information
Health 87 Magicka 0
Stamina 33
Faction(s) Creature Faction; FarmAnimalsFaction; PreyFaction; Spriggan Prey Faction
A cow
A painted cow

Cows are large, docile, domesticated animals common throughout Skyrim, especially on farms. Attacking a person's livestock will earn you a small bounty. When killed, cows can drop raw beef and cow hide.

Occasionally you may randomly encounter a cow with strange symbols on it in red or blue paint. These cows are usually following a farmer, who is bringing the cow to a giant camp as a ceremonial gift. It is possible for the farmer to be killed upon reaching the giant camp; however, if he is not attacked, he leaves for the nearest city, saying he is going to the inn, and disappears upon entering the city. In any case, the cow is left to graze among the giants, and is never killed.

With the installation of the Dawnguard add-on, ghostly souls of cows inhabit the Soul Cairn, having been trapped in a soul gem in death.