Cattle Terminology

Cow Terms – Adult Bull Heifer & Female Bovine Cattle

Are you one who breeds cattle? or are you merely interested in cattle? Or perhaps you want to research cattle? This article comes in handy to you in whatever category you may fall into. This is because the knowledge of the cattle terminologies the article provides is essential for everything that concerns cattle.

The terminologies help you sound like an expert in cattle breeding. It makes it easy to distinguish one cattle from the other according to their characteristics. It also allows you to understand cattle generally.

Generally, the same cattle terminologies are used in various parts of the world, although there are slight differences in their definitions.

This article focuses on the differences in the definition of terminologies between the UK and other countries with British influence like Australia, Iceland, the United States, New Zealand, and Canada.

Various Cattle Terminologies 

A Bull

A bull is an intact adult male that is not castrated and can produce offspring. In Australia, people refer to an unmarked, wild, young bull as Micky. While in Canada and the United States of America, Maverick is the name people call a bovine of any sex that is not branded.

A Cow

On the other hand, a cow is an adult female who has given birth to one calf or more. A mature female with one calf is called a cow in some regions, while some areas refer to adult females with two or more calves as a cow.

Young Cattle

In some areas, young cattle of either sex are called a calf until it is weaned. After it is weaned, it is called a weaner till they are about one year old. In other areas, especially with male beef cattle, young cattle are known as feeders or feeder-calves.  

Afterward, these young cattle are called stirks or yearlings when they are between age one or two. In the USA, castrated male cattle is called a steer while an older steer is called a bullock in other areas of the world. However, people in North America refer to older steers as young bulls.

Micky bulls that were captured, castrated, and later become lost is referred to as Piker bullocks.

Japanese Ox

 The term “Japanese ox” is employed by Australians to refer to steers who feed on grain and falls in the range of five hundred to six fifty kilograms in weight. Such steers are usually used for meat trade in Japan, hence the name ‘Japanese ox.’  

Draft Cattle

Draft cattle below four years of age are referred to as working steers in North America. In New Zealand, Canada, and Australia, a bull’s late or improper castration makes the bull become a coarse steer called a stag. In some other countries, male cattle that are not entirely castrated are called rigs.

A bull or castrated male or sometimes a female kept to be drafted is known as an ox. The ox may also refer to adult cattle’s carcass products, for example, ox-liver, ox-blood, 0r ox-hide.

A heifer or a cow close to calving is labeled as a springer. In all species of cattle, a female usually become an infertile partial intersex if it is the twin to a bull. Such cattle are otherwise called a freemartin.

Obsolete Terminologies 

Obsolete terms in cattle terminologies include; beef (referring to young ox), beefing (referring to young animal suitable for slaughtering), and Neat (referring to horned oxen where neatsfoot oil can be gotten). 

On the other hand, polled, poll or pollard cattle are still used to refer to naturally stray cattle and for cattle that have been disbudded in some other areas.

Beef cattle are cattle raised by humans for consumption. In the United States, older term ‘beef’ is still used to denote cattle of either gender in their beef cattle industry.

In some parts of New Zealand, Canada, Britain, and Australia, people refer to single cattle with unknown gender as Beast.

There are certain cattle raised mainly to produce milk; those cattle are named diary or milking cattle. At the same time, cattle explicitly bred to provide milk for a single-family is known as a milker or house cow. 

The general adjective that applies to cattle is usually bovine. Other terms, such as cow, calf, and bull, are also used to indicate other large animals’ age or gender aside from cattle. Examples of such animals are elks, hippopotamuses, elephants, camels, and whales.


We strongly believe that by now, you are familiar with the different cattle terminologies around the world. Ensure that you study the terminologies in terms of their differences in usage in various parts of the world so that you do not mix it up. 

Although in most cases, only the American usage differs from that of Britain and other countries across Europe. 

Master these terminologies and become a pro!

You May Also Like

Five Precepts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *