Cattle did not originate as a name for bovine animals. It derives from the Latin caput, head, and originally meant movable property, especially livestock of any kind. The word is closely related to "chattel" (a unit of personal property) and "capital" in the economic sense. Older English sources like King James Version of the Bible refer to livestock in general as cattle (as opposed to the word deer which then was used for wild animals). Additionally other species of the genus Bos are sometimes called wild cattle. Today, the modern meaning of "cattle", without any other qualifier, is usually restricted to domesticated bovines. Types of cattle A Hereford bull A Hereford bull An intact adult male is called a bull. An adult female who has had more than one or two calves (depending on regional usage) is called a cow. The adjective applying to cattle in general is usually bovine. Young cattle are called calves until they are weaned, then weaners until they are a year old in some areas, in other areas, particularly with beef cattle, they may be known as feeder-calves or simply feeders. After that, they are referred to as yearlings if between one and two years of age, or by gender. A young female before she has had a calf of her own is called a heifer (pronounced /ˈhɛfɚ/, "heffer"). A young female that has had only one calf is occasionally called a first-calf heifer. A castrated male is called a steer, and in the British Isles and Australasia also a bullock – although in North America this term refers to a young bull. A castrated male (or occasionally a female) kept for draft purposes is called an ox (plural oxen). In North America, draft cattle under four years old are called working steers. In the extremely uncommon situation where an adult bull is castrated, it becomes a stag. In all cattle species, a female who is the twin of a bull usually becomes an infertile partial intersex, and is a freemartin. The terms "bull", "cow" and "calf" are also used by extension to denote the males, females, and young of many other large animal species, including whales, hippopotamuses, camels, elk, and elephants. Cattle occupy a unique role in human history, domesticated since at least the early Neolithic. They are raised for meat (beef cattle), milk (dairy cattle), and hides. They are also used as draft animals and in certain sports. Some consider cattle the oldest form of wealth, and cattle raiding consequently one of the earliest forms of theft. In Portugal, Spain, Southern France and some Latin American countries, bulls are used in the sport of bullfighting while a similar sport, Jallikattu, is seen in South India; in many other countries this is illegal. Other sports such as bull riding are seen as part of a rodeo, especially in North America. Bull-leaping, a central ritual in Bronze Age Minoan culture (see Bull (mythology)), still exists in south-western France. The outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) have limited some traditional uses of cattle for food, for example the eating of brains or spinal cords. In modern times, cattle are also entered into agricultural competitions. These competitions can involve live cattle or cattle carcasses. Cattle are often raised by allowing herds to graze on the grasses of large tracts of rangeland. Raising cattle in this manner allows the productive use of land that might be unsuitable for growing crops. The most common interactions with cattle involve daily feeding, cleaning and milking. Many routine husbandry practices involve ear tagging, dehorning, loading, medical operations, vaccinations and hoof care, as well as training for agricultural shows and preparations. There are also some cultural differences in working with cattle- the cattle husbandry of Fulani men rests on behavioural techniques, whereas in Europe cattle are controlled primarily by physical means like fences. Breeders can utilize cattle husbandry to reduce M. bovis infection susceptibility by selective breeding and maintaining herd health to avoid concurrent disease. Cattle are farmed for beef, veal, dairy, leather and they are sometimes used simply to maintain grassland for wildlife- for example, in Epping Forest, England. They are often used in some of the most wild places for livestock. Depending on the breed, cattle can survive on hill grazing, heaths, marshes, moors and semi desert. Modern cows are more commercial than older breeds and, having become more specialized, are less versatile. For this reason many smaller farmers still favor old breeds, like the dairy breed of cattle Jersey. Oxen Main article: Ox Draft Zebus in Mumbai, India. Draft Zebus in Mumbai, India. Oxen (singular ox) are large and heavyset breeds of Bos taurus cattle trained as draft animals. Often they are adult, castrated males. Usually an ox is over four years old due to the need for training and to allow it to grow to full size. Oxen are used for plowing, transport, hauling cargo, grain-grinding by trampling or by powering machines, irrigation by powering pumps, and wagon drawing. Oxen were commonly used to skid logs in forests, and sometimes still are, in low-impact select-cut logging. Oxen are most often used in teams of two, paired, for light work such as carting. In the past, teams might have been larger, with some teams exceeding twenty animals when used for logging. An ox is nothing more than a mature bovine with an "education." The education consists of the animal's learning to respond appropriately to the teamster's (ox driver's) signals. These signals are given by verbal commands or by noise (whip cracks) and many teamsters were known for their voices and language. In North America, the commands are (1) get up, (2) whoa, (3) back up, (4) gee (turn to the right) and (5) haw (turn to the left). Oxen must be painstakingly trained from a young age. Their teamster must make or buy as many as a dozen yokes of different sizes as the animals grow. A wooden yoke is fastened about the neck of each pair so that the force of draft is distributed across their shoulders. From calves, oxen are chosen with horns since the horns hold the yoke in place when the oxen lower their heads, back up, or slow down (particularly with a wheeled vehicle going downhill). Yoked oxen cannot slow a load like harnessed horses can; the load has to be controlled downhill by other means. The gait of the ox is often important to ox trainers, since the speed the animal walks should roughly match the gait of the ox driver who must work with it. U.S. ox trainers favored larger breeds for their ability to do more work and for their intelligence. Because they are larger animals, the typical ox is the male of a breed, rather than the smaller female. Females are potentially more useful producing calves and milk. Riding an ox in Hova, Sweden. Riding an ox in Hova, Sweden. Oxen can pull harder and longer than horses, particularly on obstinate or almost un-movable loads. This is one of the reasons that teams were dragging logs from forests long after horses had taken over most other draft uses in Europe and North America. Though not as fast as horses, they are less prone to injury because they are more sure-footed and do not try to jerk the load. An "ox" is not a unique breed of bovine, nor have any "blue" oxen lived outside the folk tales surrounding Paul Bunyan, the mythical American logger. A possible exception and antecedent to this legend is the Belgian Blue breed which is known primarily for its unusual musculature and at times exhibits unusual White/Blue, Blue Roan, or Blue coloration. The unusual musculature of the breed is believed to be due to a natural mutation of the gene that codes for the protein Myostatin, which is responsible for normal muscle atrophy. Many oxen are still in use worldwide, especially in developing countries. In the Third World oxen can lead lives of misery, as they are frequently malnourished. Oxen are driven with sticks and goads when they are weak from malnutrition. When there is insufficient food for humans, animal welfare has low priority. Ox is also used for various cattle products, irrespective of age, sex or training of the beast – for example, ox-blood, ox-liver, ox-kidney, ox-heart, ox-hide etc.
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