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Cattle

Cattle

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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Bos
Species

Cattle are domesticated ungulates that are raised for beef, dairy products (milk), and leather, and used for draft (pulling plows and the like).

Young cattle are called calves. Young males are called bullocks or bull calves; young females are called heifers[?]. Ordinarily male cattle are castrated unless needed for breeding. The castrated male is then called a steer, unless kept for draft (pulling) in which case it is called an ox. Adult females over two years of age (approximately) are called cows. There is no singular equivalent to "cattle" other than the various gender and age-specific terms (though "Catron" has been proposed it is not widely accepted or even understood).

Oxen continue to be widely used for draft in less developed nations. Though slower than horses, they are easier to keep and less prone to injury. Enthusiasts in the United States continue to train oxen for competition and show.

Cattle are ruminants, meaning that they have a unique digestive system that allows them to synthesize amino acids. This allows them to thrive on grasses and other vegetation.

Cattle occupy a unique role in human history. Some consider them the oldest form of wealth. Their ability to provide meat, dairy, and draft while reproducing themselves and eating nothing but grass has furthered human interests dramatically through the millenia.

In Latin America and the western United States, cattle are often grazed on large tracts of rangeland called ranchos or ranches.

The last European wild cattle, called aurochs, were killed by poachers in Masovia, Poland, in 1627, though one breeder claims to have recreated the original gene pool by careful crossing of commercial breeds.

Breeds of cattle:

See also:



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