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Ox

Oxen (Bos taurus) (plural of ox) are cattle trained as draft animals. Most often they are adult, castrated males. Usually an ox is over four years old due to the need for training and for time to grow to full size. The term steer is used to describe animals of the same species and gender when raised solely for meat. Oxen are used for plowing, transport, hauling, grain-grinding, and wagon drawing. Oxen are sometimes used to skid logs in low-impact select cut logging.

Oxen are most often used in teams of two. A wooden yoke is fastened about their necks so that the force of draft is distributed across their shoulders. Oxen are chosen from calves with horns, since the horns hold the yoke in place when the oxen back up or slow down a wheeled load going down hills.

Oxen must be painstakingly trained from a young age. Their teamster must fashion or purchase as many as a dozen yokes of different sizes as the animals grow.

Oxen can pull harder than horses but are not as fast. There are still a substantial number of them in use worldwide.


The ox is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar, in which each animal is associated with certain personality traits.



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