Most of us have gone our whole life thinking the term ‘cow’ represents all cattle - we’re wrong.
Today we’re going to breakdown the difference between a heifer, a cow, a bull, and a steer.
Let’s start with the ladies first; a heifer is a female that has never had a calf. Once she has given birth to one, this new moo-ma is immediately considered a cow! A cow in our herd is typically 3-15 years old. From an outsider's point of view, just looking out into the field, how can we see the difference?
Although heifers and cows look quite similar, heifers lack the prominent hips and thick middles (ah, remember the good ole’ days?) that cows have. An even easier way to spot the difference - heifers have teats, while cows have udders.
Now for our mooscular men; a bull is a mature male, at least 2 years old, used for breeding. In a bull’s lifetime, it will typically produce more calves than a cow!
Steers on the other hand, have been castrated at a young age, before they develop a bull’s characteristics. Steers won’t be as muscular or as aggressive as their bull counterparts. Besides their general build, spotting the difference is easy, if they have cojones, they’re a bull.
Finally, don’t be fooled by the horns! I went my entire life thinking only males had horns. Many female cattle also have horns due to their specific type of breed, so don’t rule the gals out.
The next time you are out on the farm, at trivia night, or just making cow-versation, I hope you remember these simple tricks for spotting the difference between a heifer, a cow, a bull, and a steer.