January 15, 2009

Cattle farm husbandry - glossary of cattle terms

Cattle, farming, husbandry, glossary

By Dr Clive Dalton

  • Bobby calf: A calf used for meat (veal) with these specifications.
  • Has to be at least 4 days old.
  • Both sexes are accepted for slaughter, but calves under 15kg will not be collected.
  • Must be free from disease, deformity, blindness or any disability.
  • Must have been kept warm and have a dry coat.
  • A navel chord that is dry wrinkled, withered and shriveled and not pink or red, raw or fleshy.
  • Must be alert and able to rise from a lying position and capable of moving freely and sucking easily. It should not be listless.
  • Its hooves should be firm and worn flat and not bulbous with soft unworn tissue. This proves it has been able to stand up and walk.
  • Must have been adequately fed on milk or colostrum.
  • Must be free of drug residues. This is vitally important and has heavy legal consequences.
  • Must be clean and kept in hygienic conditions.
  • Boner cow: A cull cow mainly from a dairy herd that is in low condition.
  • Bull: Entire (uncastrated) male of any age from birth to maturity.
  • Run bull – non-registered bull used to mate commercial cows.
  • Grade bull – a non-registered bull.
  • Stud bull - registered or pedigree bull.
  • Marker bull – vasectomised bull fitted with a marking harness to identify cows on heat.
  • Potter bull – old bull to be slaughtered for meat.
  • Tail-up bull – bull run with cows after the AI programme.
  • Teaser bull – vasectomised bull used to locate cows on heat.
  • Vasectomised bull – an entire male that cannot ejaculate viable sperm.
  • Bullock: Castrated male (steer).
  • Calf: Young bovine from birth up to around 6 months old.
  • Calving interval: Interval between successive calvings of a cow.
  • Calving percentage: Number of calves born per 100 cows joined with the bull or artificially inseminated.
  • Conception rate: Percentage of cows that do not return to oestrus within a stated number of days (e.g. 49 or 70) after first insemination or natural mating.
  • Cow: Mature female of any age but usually over 30 months.
  • Cull cow: Cow of any age but usually old and culled from the herd for age or disease.
  • Dairy beef: Beef animal bred from cows of dairy breeds.
  • Down calver: Cow about to calve.
  • Downer cow: Cow that is unable to stand on all four feet due to disease or injury.
  • Empty cows: Non-pregnant cows.
  • Fallen stock: Dead animals that are collected for processing for fertiliser.
  • Feeder calf: a young calf that is reared for meat production.
  • Freemartin: The female of a male-female twin pair. Usually infertile.
  • Heifer: A young female up to and beyond her first calf.
  • Maiden heifer: Heifer that has not been mated or had a calf.
  • Nurse cow: Cow used to suckle calves.
  • Pregnancy diagnosis (PD): Veterinary routine to palpate the cow’s ovaries to determine pregnancy. Also done with ultrasound.
  • Pregnancy rate: Percentage of cows in-calf after a mating programme.
  • Poddy calf: An orphan calf usually from a beef cow that has been artificially reared. Usually a small poorly grown calf.
  • Rig: A male with an un-descended testicle or a steer with one testicle still intact.
  • Running with bull (RWB): Cows that are currently joined with a bull for mating.
  • Springer: A cow about to calve.
  • Steer: Castrated male.
  • Stag: Male bovine with one testicle.
  • Submission rate: Percentage of cow showing oestrus and inseminated in the first weeks of a mating period (e.g. 21, 42 days).
  • Target weight: The weight all animals in a group should reach and contrasts greatly to an average weight.
  • Vealer: A maiden heifer, steer or bull up to 14 months old, slaughtered for beef.
  • Vel: Stomach of bobby calf used for rennet in cheese making.
  • Vetted in calf (VIC): Cows diagnosed pregnant by a veterinarian.
  • Yearling: Young animal around 12 months old with two permanent incisors.

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