What is the name of a female cow

Beef / cow


What does a cow look like?

Young female cattle are called heifers. As soon as they have given birth to their first calf, they are called a cow.

They have a typical characteristic: the udder with the four teats. The milk is produced in the udder. Male cattle are called bull or bull. If they have been neutered so that they are no longer so aggressive, they are called ox.

Cattle are descended from the aurochs, which have been extinct since 1627. While the aurochs, which is also called primeval cattle, were up to 180 centimeters at shoulder height, our domestic cattle are only 125 to 145 centimeters tall.

Cattle are mammals and belong to the horned family. They are ruminants and even-toed ungulates, that is, their hooves are split in half.

Their large, curved horns, which both bulls and cows carry, are striking. However, they are absent from some of the races living today.

Unlike deer, who change their antlers every year, cattle keep their horns for life. As soon as the horns have reached their final size, they will gradually wear off at the tip. However, they continue to grow at the base so that they retain their original size.

The fur of the cattle can be differently colored: cattle come in black, white, brown, beige and piebald.

Where do cows live?

Cows are all over the world today as they are kept as pets everywhere.

Wild cattle live in dense forests, as well as in dry or marshy grasslands.

Originally cattle were steppe animals, but today they are found as pets in all climates of the earth.

What types of cattle are there?

In addition to the domestic cattle and the aurochs, the Indian zebus and the yaks belong to the genus of cattle.

The number of breeds of domestic cattle is huge. A distinction is made between two groups: cattle breeds that are mainly kept as meat suppliers and those that serve as dairy cattle. There are also races that provide both meat and milk.

In recent years we have been raising more and more Scottish Highland cattle. With their shaggy fur and long, widely curved horns with a wingspan of up to 160 centimeters, they look pretty wild.

But they are very good-natured and friendly and they can become tame and trusting.

How old do cattle get?

Cattle are fully grown at around five years of age and can live to be 20 or more years old.


How do cattle live?

Domestic cattle have been around for around 8,000 to 10,000 years; they have been found in Europe since the 6th millennium BC. This makes cattle some of the oldest domestic animals.

The earliest traces come from the Near East, where the first cattle were bred to become livestock and were used as milk and meat suppliers.

They also served as pack animals and draft animals.

In addition to domestic cattle, which were bred in the Middle East, the zebu emerged in India.

It is also called humpback cattle because it has a hump-like hump on the neck.

The zebu is likely descended from a subspecies of wild cattle that separated from our domestic cattle ancestors 300,000 years ago.

Wild cattle are sociable herd animals. They live in small groups in which there is a strict hierarchy. This is determined by fighting between the male animals.

Cattle express their mood primarily through the posture of their head and body: when threatening or trying to impress, they keep their heads and horns lowered. They also scratch the ground with their hooves.

Cattle cannot see very well, but they hear well and have a good sense of smell. For example, the animals in a herd recognize each other by their smell.

Originally, cattle were mainly looking for food at dusk. Today the domestic cattle are active most of the day.

The calves already show that cattle are social animals: just a few days after birth, they form "play groups" within the herd.

They only return to their mothers to drink.

There is a close bond between the mother and the calf: a cow only allows its own calf to suckle its udder.

The dung from cattle, also called cow dung, is an important fertilizer for the farmers' fields.

In some countries it is even used as fuel when dried.

Friends and enemies of cattle

In the protection of the herd, cattle are usually safe from enemies. They are also strong and can defend themselves well with their horns.

How do cows reproduce?

Cows can have one calf a year. Most of the time it is only one young, very rarely twins are born. A cow is around 27 months old when it has a calf for the first time.

Six to eight weeks before the due date, the suckler cow is no longer milked.

During this time the calf can double its weight. When it is born, it weighs between 35 and 45 kilograms.

Shortly before birth, the cows separate from the herd and give birth to their young in a hidden place. The first thing to see at birth is the front legs, then the head, and finally the body and hind legs.

If it is allowed to grow up with its mother, it drinks the so-called colostrum on its udder for the first two days.

After a few weeks it will start to eat hay or grass as well.

Today, however, calves often get a replacement for their mother's milk after a week so that the cow can be milked again. This substitute milk consists of milk powder and warm water.

A male calf is called a bull calf, a female cow calf.

When a calf is between five months and one year old, it is called an eater. This is because the animals grow particularly quickly during this time and therefore eat a lot.

At the age of 18 months, the calf became an adult cow.

If it is a female, it becomes a dairy cow. If it is a male, it is fattened and later slaughtered. By the way: only cows that have a calf every year also give milk on a regular basis. If a cow does not get a calf, it will no longer produce milk.

How do cows communicate?

Everyone knows the loud "moo" of a cow.


What do cattle eat?

Cattle are pure herbivores and ruminants.

They eat large amounts of grass and hay. This food is very difficult to digest. That's why they choke it up again during the rest period and chew it again extensively - hence the name ruminant. Only then is the food properly digested.

The cattle gastrointestinal tract has five sections: the gizzard, the rumen, the reticulated stomach, the leaf stomach and the abomasum. Because the gizzard is a part of the rumen, it is usually said that a cow has four stomachs.

At first, the food is barely chewed and then moves into the stomach, then it is kneaded and pre-digested in the rumen and then chopped up and mixed in the reticulum.

From there, the food is gagged up again and chewed several times. Finally it wanders into the leaf stomach, where it is ground once more.

Finally, the food ends up in the abomasum, where the actual digestion takes place.

In modern agriculture, cattle get concentrated feed made from grain in addition to grass and hay. Bread or food waste, on the other hand, is harmful to them.

Keeping cows

Most cattle live in the barn all year round. Some of them come to pasture part of the year or, as in the mountains, to high alpine pastures.

Animals that serve as dairy cows usually live in the barn. This is more practical for the farmers because the animals have to be milked every day.

Care plan for cows

When not in the pasture, cattle have to be fed every day. They also always need fresh water. The stable has to be mucked out every day. Dairy cows need to be milked every morning and evening.