Funny how we could develop a discussion about cow chips (AKA cow flops) in a forum about cooking and eating...
When I was a kid my parents took me camping in the High Sierras (eastern California mountains) and we used to catch the late afternoon early evening trout fishing on inlets to Crowley Lake
. (Big trout like these inlets because their food comes floating down the stream.)
The land around the lake is also used for cattle ranching and there is a plentiful supply of cow flops. I liked trout fishing but maybe not such an enthusiast as my dad (I was a tweener, easily distracted like all tweeners) so it would get cold sometimes, and while waiting for my dad I used to make cow flop fires to stay warm.
I had heard this technique from a local resident and the advice proved out. The most important thing is to get only mature
cow flops. You would think they would smell but that's not the case at all, provided you find very dry ones. (There were a lot to choose from there.) They made a very nice fire without a hint as to the source of the fuel (although they didn't have the nice aroma of mesquite or pine). We were surrounded by wetlands so there was never any chance of the fire spreading.
Anyway cow flop fires are great to keep you warm on a cold evening, and very plentiful in cattle lands.