- Every year, approximately 36 million cattle are raised to provide
beef for US consumers. Two-thirds of these cattle (about 24 million
cows) are given hormones to help make them grow faster.
- The lifespan of cattle averages 9 to 12 years.
- However, the lifespan of cattle raised for beef is significantly shorter.
- These animals are typically weaned at 6 to 10 months, live 3 to 5
months on range, spend 4 to 5 months being fattened in a feedlot, and
are typically slaughtered at 15 to 20 months.
- Mother cattle are called cows.
- Before she becomes a mother, a cow is called a heifer.
- She usually will have her first baby at about 2 years old and the
baby is called a calf. After she has this baby, she becomes a cow.
- Father cattle are called bulls.
- Male cattle that will not be fathers are called either oxen if they
are going to be used for work or steers if they are to be used for meat.
- Cattle are ruminants. This means that their stomach has four compartments
and they chew their cud.
- Ruminants also have cloven toes and the ability to grow horns.
- Because cattle are ruminants, they can eat and digest grasses that
humans cannot eat.
- There are hundreds of breeds of cattle worldwide.
- Most cattle have unbranched horns consisting of a horny layer surrounding
a bone extension of the skull; these horns, unlike those of deer, are
- Some cattle are naturally hornless.