Cow: What You Should Know

Domestic cattle are known to us primarily as dairy cows from the farm. It is a species of cattle in the genus. The domestic cattle were bred from a group of free-ranging, wild aurochs. People keep domestic cattle to be able to eat the meat and use the milk. In many countries, domestic cattle are still used as draft animals.

The term “cow” is too imprecise for scientists. In many animals, the cow designates the female, adult animal. So it is with elephants, whales, deer, and numerous other animals.

The male animal is the bull. The ox is a castrated bull. So he was operated on in such a way that he can no longer make a cow pregnant. That’s why he’s a tamer. The female is the cow. The young animals are first called calves and then cattle when they are bigger. The name “cattle” then describes the life stage of an animal. Bulls weigh over a tonne, and cows around 700 kilograms.

All cattle have horns, including domestic cattle. When a calf is born, they consist of a tiny point, much like the root of a tooth. A horn will later grow from this on each side. Most farmers today remove this tiny dot with acid or with a hot iron. So domestic cattle do not grow horns. The farmers are afraid that the animals will hurt each other or that they will hurt people. However, this only happens if the animals have too little space.

Where do domestic cattle come from?

Our domestic cattle are bred from a group of aurochs. Aurochs lived wild in an area that stretched from Europe to Asia and the northern part of Africa. Breeding began about 9,000 years ago. The aurochs itself is now extinct.

People then realized that it was easier to keep pets than to hunt wild animals. Especially when it comes to milk, you need animals that are always nearby. This is how people captured wild animals and adapted them to live near humans.

How do domestic cattle live?

Domestic cattle originally ate grass and herbs found in nature. They still do today. Cattle are ruminants. So they only chew their food roughly and then let it slide into a kind of forestomach. Later they lie down comfortably, regurgitate the food, chew it extensively, and then swallow it into the correct stomach.

With this diet alone, however, the cattle do not provide as much meat and milk as the farmers would like. They therefore also feed them concentrated feed. First of all, this is grain. Most of the corn in our fields is fed to domestic cattle, either just the cobs with the kernels or the whole plants. Much of the wheat is also cattle feed.

Male and female cattle can be kept together well until sexual maturity. According to this, a herd of cows can only endure a single bull. Several bulls would constantly fight each other.

What breeds of domestic cattle are there?

Breeding means that people have always selected the most suitable cattle to produce young. One goal of breeding was cows that give as much milk as possible. A cow needs about eight liters of milk a day to feed a calf. Pure dairy cows were bred to give up to 50 liters of milk a day with concentrated feed.

Other breeds were bred to produce as much meat as possible. However, the most popular are breeds that provide as much milk as possible and at the same time as much meat as possible. The question is what to do with the many male cubs. That’s pretty much exactly half. Domestic cattle that give a lot of meat and the females also give a lot of milk are called dual-purpose cattle.

The cows of dual-purpose cattle give about 25 liters of milk a day. The males are fattened. They reach a weight of about 750 kilograms in a year and a half and are slaughtered soon after. That gives about 500 kilograms of meat to eat.

How do domestic cattle reproduce?

The cows have a menstrual cycle: about every three to four weeks, an egg cell is ready for two to three days. Then, when a bull mates with a cow, fertilization usually occurs. Unlike other animal species, this can happen at any time of the year.

Often, however, it is not a bull that comes by, but a veterinarian. He injects the semen of a bull into the cow’s vagina. A record bull has brought it to two million young.

The pregnancy of a cow is called the gestation period. It lasts about nine months. Most of the time she gives birth to a single calf. This weighs between 20 and 50 kilograms, depending on the breed. After a short time, the calf gets up and suckles milk from its mother. It is also said that the cow suckles the calf. Therefore, cows are mammals.

Young bulls become sexually mature at around eight months, and cows at around ten months. You can then make young yourself. After birth, milk is produced in the mother’s udder. The calf gets this first, later the farmer draws it off with the milking machine. Cows always have to have calves, otherwise, they stop giving milk.

Cattle live about 12 to 15 years. It’s just that when they get older they don’t give as much milk. Therefore, they are usually slaughtered after six to eight years. But that doesn’t give very good meat anymore.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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