cattle


cattle
cattleless, adj.
/kat"l/, n. (used with a pl. v.)
1. bovine animals, esp. domesticated members of the genus Bos.
2. Bib. such animals together with other domesticated quadrupeds, as horses, swine, etc.
3. Disparaging. human beings.
[1175-1225; ME catel < ONF: (personal) property < ML capitale wealth; see CAPITAL1]

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Domesticated bovids that are raised for meat, milk, or hides or for draft purposes.

Depending on the breed, mature bulls (fertile males) weigh 1,000–4,000 lbs (450–1,800 kg); cows (fertile females) weigh 800–2,400 lbs (360–1,080 kg). All modern cattle are believed to belong to either of two species (Bos indicus or B. taurus) or to be crosses of the two. About 277 identifiable breeds include those prominent in beef production (e.g., Angus, Hereford, and shorthorn) and dairy farming. Cattle feed primarily by grazing on pasture, but in modern farming their diet is ordinarily supplemented with prepared animal feeds. See also aurochs, Brahman, ox.

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 domesticated bovine farm animals that are raised for their meat or milk, for their hides, or for draft purposes.

      A brief treatment of cattle follows. For full treatment, see livestock farming: Cattle (livestock farming). To browse cattle by breed, see below.

      In the terminology used to describe the sex and age of cattle, the male is first a bull calf and if left intact becomes a bull; if castrated he becomes a steer and in about two or three years grows to an ox. The female is first a heifer calf, growing into a heifer and becoming a cow. Depending on the breed, mature bulls weigh 1,000–4,000 pounds (450–1,800 kg), and cows 800–2,400 pounds. Males retained for beef production are usually castrated to make them more docile on the range or in feedlots; with males intended for use as working oxen or bullocks, castration is practiced to make them more tractable at work.

      All modern domestic cattle are believed to belong to the species Bos taurus (European breeds such as Shorthorn and Jersey) or Bos indicus (zebu breeds such as Brahman) or to be crosses of these two (such as Santa Gertrudis). Many contemporary breeds are of recent origin. The definition of a breed is difficult and inexplicit, although the term is commonly used and, in practice, well understood. It may be used generally to connote animals that have been selectively bred for a long time so as to possess distinctive identity in colour, size, conformation, and function, and these or other distinguishing characteristics are perpetuated in their progeny.

       Selected breeds of beef cattle Selected breeds of dairy cattle Selected breeds of beef cattle Selected breeds of dairy cattleA comparison of selected breeds of cattle is provided in the tables.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cattle — Cat tle (k[a^]t t l), n. pl. [OE. calet, chatel, goods, property, OF. catel, chatel, LL. captale, capitale, goods, property, esp. cattle, fr. L. capitals relating to the head, chief; because in early ages beasts constituted the chief part of a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • CATTLE —    Cattle had been reared since the Neolithic in central Italy, although it has recently been suggested by geneticists that some of the white cattle distinctive of northern Etruria today may have had a more recent eastern Mediterranean origin.… …   Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans

  • cattle — mid 13c., from Anglo Fr. catel property (O.N.Fr. catel, O.Fr. chatel), from M.L. capitale property, stock, neuter of Latin adj. capitalis principal, chief, from caput head (gen. capitis; see HEAD (Cf. head)). Cf. sense development of FEE …   Etymology dictionary

  • cattle — [n] bovine animals beasts, bovid mammals, bulls, calves, cows, dogies*, herd, livestock, longhorn*, moo cows*, oxen, shorthorns, stock, strays; concept 394 …   New thesaurus

  • cattle — ► PLURAL NOUN ▪ large ruminant animals with horns and cloven hoofs, domesticated for meat or milk or as beasts of burden; cows and oxen. ORIGIN Old French chatel chattel …   English terms dictionary

  • cattle — [kat′ l] pl.n. [ME & Anglo Fr catel (OFr chatel) < ML captale, property, stock < L capitalis, principal, chief < caput, HEAD: orig. sense in var. CHATTEL] 1. Archaic farm animals collectively; livestock 2. domesticated oxen collectively; …   English World dictionary

  • Cattle — Cow redirects here. For other uses, see Cow (disambiguation). For other uses, see Cattle (disambiguation). Cattle …   Wikipedia

  • cattle — n. 1) to breed; raise (esp. AE), rear (BE) cattle 2) to drive; graze; round up cattle 3) to brand cattle 4) dairy; prize cattle 5) cattle graze 6) a head of cattle; a herd of cattle 7) young cattle are calves 8) female cattle are cows 9) male… …   Combinatory dictionary

  • CATTLE — The domestication of cattle began in prehistoric times. Ancient Sumerian inscriptions refer to the raising of cattle, and from the third millennium B.C.E. they are depicted in Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian drawings as used for plowing (see… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • cattle — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ beef, dairy ▪ Highland, longhorn, shorthorn ▪ native ▪ wild ▪ …   Collocations dictionary


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