Picture of Frankie taken by Wanda Embar at
A cow is a mature female and a bull an adult male of a bovine
family. A heifer is a female cow that hasn't had a calf yet. Cattle is
the name for the whole "cow" family.
There are about 920 different breeds of cows in the world. They were domesticated about 5,000 years ago.
Cows came to America with the Pilgrims.
Modern domestic cattle are believed to belong to either the
species Bos taurus (like Holstein, Brown Swiss, Jersey and Guemsey),
or the species Bos indicus which are humped cattle like the Brahman.
Some cattle are a cross between those two species.
The smallest type of cow is a breed called Dexter, which was bred a small
size for household living.
Cows can live 25 years. You can guess the age of a cow that has horns by counting the
number of rings on the horns.
Cows have almost total 360 degree panoramic vision and are able to
see colors, except red. They can detect odors up to 5 miles away. Cows can hear lower and higher frequencies better than humans.
Per day, a cows spends 6 hours eating and 8 hours chewing cud. A
cow doesn't bite the grass, but she curls her tongue around it. A cow
has no upper front teeth.
The average cow drinks about 30 gallons of water and eats about 95
pounds of feed per day.
A cow stands up and sits down about 14 times a day.
Picture of Rose taken by Wanda Embar at
Picture of Gretta and Kevin taken by Wanda Embar at
The mean gestation period of a cow is between 279 and 290 days.
The bond between a cow and her calf is very strong and continues after
the calf is fully grown. In non-commercial herds, some cows will nurse
their calves for up to 3 years.
A cow weighs about 1400 pounds. A 1000 pound cow produces an
average of 10 tons of manure a year.
Cows are very social animals. They form large herds and will
bond to some herd members while avoiding others. They "moo"
and use different body positions and facial expressions to communicate
with each other.
A Holstein's spots are like a fingerprint. No two cows have
exactly the same pattern of spots.
A cow has one stomach containing four digestive
compartments: the rumen, reticulum, omasum and
abomasum. The rumen is the largest compartment and acts as a fermentation
chamber. The abomasum is last of the four and is comparable in both
structure and function to the human stomach.
Cows have cloven hooves. In galloping through boggy places or in
deep mud, cattle can
run faster than a horse. Their toes spread, and therefore their wide
feet do not sink so deep as do those of the solid-hoofed horse.
Picture of Freedom taken by Wanda Embar at
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