Cow – Terms And Tips

CowTermsI have been doing a lot of research on cows.  This week has been about Dexters.  They are a heritage miniature breed originally from Ireland.  While looking for breeders, I have been coming across some terminology that I have never heard of.  Below is a list of cow terms that you will find when looking at cow breeder websites.

  • Cow: This is a female that has had at least one calf.
    • Tip: Did you know that as the cow gets older and has more calves through out the years, she will produce more milk?
  • Heifer: A heifer is a female animal that has never had a calf. Once a heifer has a calf, she automatically becomes a cow.
    • Tip: If you want to buy a heifer that has been bred, make sure that you find out who the bull is.  You don’t want the heifer to have a difficult delivery or require vet intervention because the calf is too big.
  • Bull: A male that is used for breeding.
  • Steer: A male that has been neutered.
  • Heterozygous Polled: One gene for horns.
  • Homozygous Polled: Two genes for polled
  • Scur: An incompletely developed horn growth.

For more on the genetics of horns, click on this article called “The Genetics of Horned, Polled, and Scurred Cattle“.

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