July 11, 2008

Cattle Glossary

Animal Age:
  • Calf 8 temporary milk incisors in bottom jaw
  • First pair of permanent incisors 22-34 months
  • Second pair 27-41 months
  • Third pair 33-42 months
  • Fourth pair 41 months plus
Bobby calf: Four-day-old calf fed only milk, slaughtered for its veal and stomach (vel).
Boner: Old cow slaughtered for manufacturing beef.
Breeds (Dairy):
  • Ayrshire
  • Holstein-Friesian
  • Jersey
  • Guernsey
  • Milking shorthorn
Breeds (Beef):
  • Angus
  • Hereford
  • Beef shorthorn
  • Galloway
  • Murray Grey
  • South Devon
  • Red Devon
  • Red Poll
  • Welsh Black
  • Sussex
  • Blond d’Aquitaine
  • Brown Swiss
  • Limousin
  • Simmental
  • Marchigiana
  • Chianina
  • Romagnola
  • Santa Getrudis
Bull: Mature entire male. Used from the calf stage to maturity.
  • Run bull: Non-registered bull for use in commercial herds.
  • Grade bull: Non-registered bull, usually of dairy breeds.
  • Stud bull: Pedigree registered bull.
  • Marker bull. Vasectomised bull used to identify cows in heat.
  • Teaser bull:Vasectomised bull.
  • Potter bull: Aged cull bull sold for manufacturing beef.
Buller: a nymphomaniac female that is constantly on heat.
Bulling: Term to describe a cow on heat.
Branding: Giving an animal a permanent mark. Fire branding is with a hot iron and freeze branding is with a dry ice which discolours the hair.
Bullock: Castrated male or steer.
Calf: Young animal of either sex between birth and weaning.
Calving percentage: Number of calves born or weaned per 100 cows joined with the bull.
Calving interval: Interval between successive calvings of a cow.
Close-to-Profit (CTP): Dairy animal close to calving.
Conception rate (CR): In dairy cows the percentage of cows which do not return to oestrus within 49 days from first insemination (49 day non-return rate or NRR). In beef cattle the number of cows pregnant, calving or weaning a calf per 100 cows joined with the bull.
Cow: Mature female of any age.
Cull cow: Cow removed from the herd.
Cycling: Heat or oestrus when the cow can be mated.
Down calver: Cow about to calve.
Dairy beef: Beef from an animal with dairy genes, either a purebred eg Friesian or crossbred eg Hereford x Friesian.
Dehorning: Removing the horns from an animal. It’s either done as a calf with a hot iron before 6 weeks old or as a mature animal (by a veterinarian).
Downer cow: Cow that cannot stand for a number of health reasons, eg calving paralysis.
Empty cow: Cow that is not pregnant.
Fat cattle: Cattle ready for slaughter.
Flank painting: Painting the side or flank of a cow with an antibloating substance that the cow licks off.
Freemartin: Female of a male-female twin pair. A very high percentage of them are infertile.
Heifer: A young female. Can be used from the calf stage up to after having its first calf.
Herd: Name for a group of cattle. Highland cattle form a “fold”.
Hide: The skin from a cattle beast used for leather.
Maiden heifer: Heifer that has not had a calf. Usually it has not been joined with a bull.
Nurse cow: Cow that is used to suckle calves.
On heat: Period when the cow is mated.
Ox: Old or mature steer or castrated male.
Poddy calf: An orphan calf from a beef cow that is artificially reared. May also describe a poorly reared calf.
Polled: Cattle with no horns.
Pregnancy diagnosis (PD): Diagnosis used to see if the cow is pregnant. Can be done by manual palpation or ultrasound.
Pregnancy rate: Percentage of cows in the herd which are confirmed as pregnant.
Prime cattle: Cattle that are ready for slaughter.
Run-with-the-bull: Cow that has been joined with a bull but cannot be guaranteed as being pregnant.
Rising 1 year: Animal coming up to its first birthday. Term used for mainly the young age groups of cattle.
Scrubber: Very poor animal.
Springer: Cow or heifer close to calving.
Slink: An aborted calf or one born dead. Its skin and blood may be used.
Steer: Castrated male of any age.
Store cattle: Cattle that need to grow more before being ready for slaughter.
Submission rate (SR): Percentage of cows that have been put up for insemination during the first 4 weeks of the mating period.
Tail painting: Painting the tail head of the cow to show when she has been mounted by another cow. The paint will be scuffed off when the cow has stood to be mounted and hence should be on heat.
Vetted-In-Calf (VIC): Cows diagnosed as pregnant by a veterinarian.
Weaner: Calf weaned from milk or its mother. Dairy weaners are usually 4 months old and beef calves are 6 month’s old.
Yearling: Young animal around 12 months old and with two permanent incisors.

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