What kind of animal do we get to know from early childhood? Who feeds us with his milk so that we grow strong and healthy? That's right, cow. A cow is a sacred animal. Residents of many countries treat her as a deity.
The Egyptians, for example, have long depicted their Goddess Hathor as a cow. Only recently have this image been changed to a woman with cow horns. It is a symbol of heaven, love and fertility. According to legend, the sun god Ra used to raise a heavenly cow from the ocean floor.
In India, this animal was and is a symbol of fertility, abundance and fertility. We, the Slavic peoples animal cows - This is the personification of the heavenly goddess and the nurse of everything on earth. In fact, it’s really difficult to find something more wholesome than grandma’s genuine fresh milk.
For several millennia, cows live next to people. During this time, people managed to study the lifestyle, habits and preferences of these animals well.. Cow pet has its own tastes in food and even in music. Yes, scientists have found that cows are true music lovers.
If they like a certain melody, and the owner will periodically turn it on specifically for the burenka, then milk yield may increase. They can recognize a melody by its rhythm. And experts in cows distinguish about 11 melodies in their lowing.
This animal belongs to the suborder of ruminants. This is a female domestic bull. Their children are called calves and heifers. Currently, in agriculture, meat, dairy and meat and dairy species of cows are used.
The weight and size of cows depends on their breed. Dwarf cows are in fashion now. They can weigh from 250 kg. The smallest is in England. Her height is only 80 cm. On average, a normal cow weighs from 750 to 1400 kg. The size of this animal depends on the direction of the farm.
If it is a meat breed, then it is, accordingly, always larger than milk. The color of cows is very different, ranging from white and cream to black. It depends on the habitat of the animal.
To buy a cow Nowadays, it’s almost the same as buying a used car. The price of a cow depends on the purpose for which it is bought. Meat is usually cheaper than dairy.
This is a ruminant herbivore. For the winter, crops are harvested for them, beets, corn, hay and silage. Dairy breeds will produce more milk if feed and mineral supplements are included in their diet. It is imperative that the cow receives a certain amount of salt and water. In the summer they are driven out to pastures, where they enjoy eating green grass.
Cow care not complicated, but it requires constant attention. Only with good care and careful attention to it can a good milk yield be achieved. If you do not keep the animal clean, it can become sick.
It is necessary to stock up on straw for the winter in order to lay it under the animal's feet. If her milking is untimely, she may be threatened with mastitis or a complete loss of milk. Mostly, domestic farming rests on this animal.
People can no longer imagine how milk, sour cream, cottage cheese and all the dishes that can be prepared with their help may not be on the table. From all this the conclusion follows, why is a cow a sacred animal in India.
A cow doesn’t eat normally, not like most animals do. She has four chambers in her stomach for digesting food. While the cow is grazing, she swallows the grass without chewing on it.
Then, when the time of rest comes, she belches out a certain amount of food and chews her teeth in a calm atmosphere. Already ground grass now only gets into the last chambers of the stomach. Bacteria and gastric juice help break down food.
Often newcomers to agriculture who want to have a cow are interested, How much hay does a cow need for the winter? Since ancient times, although they were not very literate, people calculated the approximate amount of hay. A cow needs an average of 6 tons of hay. It is important to know one more secret - the warmer the habitat of this animal, the less hay is needed and vice versa.
Reproduction and longevity
Cows live for about 30 years. At 2-3 years old they are already fully prepared for reproductive function. Inseminate cows by artificial or natural method during its hunting. Owners who know the nature of the animal will certainly notice something wrong in her behavior.
Most often, hunting is manifested by frequent lowing, animal anxiety and loss of appetite. If the cow is in the herd, she can jump on her brethren. This is a sure sign that she is ready for fertilization. Pregnancy lasts 9 months.
During this period, the cow needs special care and good nutrition. When the cow at the start of milking should be stopped. All nutrients in her body should be aimed at carrying healthy calves. It is necessary to monitor the sterility of its content.
And at the slightest sign of a cow’s malaise, you should immediately contact your veterinarian and not risk the life of the animal and offspring. As a result, one or two calves are born. Cow is a mammal animal. From the very beginning of their lives, small calves are soldered with milk and only gradually the rest of the food is introduced into the diet.
Cow Care at Home
The conditions for keeping a cow at home should be such as to benefit most from it. The more comfortable she feels, the tastier and more nutritious her feed will be, the more milk will be delivered from her.
There are two ways to keep cows at home - grazing and stalling. Basically, most often these two options combine with each other in the warm season. Pasture of cattle in summer on a pasture is much more economical than keeping it in a stall.
And the benefits of it are much greater. Indeed, in the fresh air, the cow receives more nutrients that contribute to its excellent development and the quality of its milk.
Cows are grazed in two ways. Grazing is free and driven. During free grazing, the animal moves freely around the pasture and finds food for itself. With a pen pasture, its entire territory is divided into pens, in which animals graze for weeks, then move to another area.
The second option is good because the grass on the pasture is eaten and grows gradually. The effectiveness of the second method is only possible if at least eight such pens can be built.
The stable containing the cow should be lit all the time, at least with a weak light. It is better to keep the animal in a stable on a leash. The room must be warm and not damp, otherwise the animal may get sick.
In the feeder and drinker, a thorough cleaning of the residual feed should be carried out every day. A cow always needs water. If it is not possible to make a car drink in a stable, you need to water the animal at least 3 times a day. If you listen to all the recommendations and follow them you can get high profits from the cow.
From the history of domestication
This is one of the oldest tamed artiodactyls: they were tamed about 9 thousand years ago - the first were goats, pigs, sheep. First of all, people needed milking cows, because meat gave the hunt for other animals, and you can not drink milk from all animals.
The oldest traces of cattle breeding were found on the territory of the Middle East - in Syria, Libya, Israel, Iraq. The progenitor of a domestic cow is a wild bull (scientifically called it a tour).
Features of rocks of different groups
There are three groups: dairy, meat and meat and dairy. For example, 36 breeds of dairy and dairy-meat and 12 meat breeds are grown in Russian farms. All three groups have their own characteristics.
In dairy breeds, the skeleton is narrow, the skin is thin, volume udder with developed lobes. They can be kept both on pasture and in stalls. The most common Kholmogorsk breed. Also bred Yaroslavl, Tagil, brown Latvian and red steppe.
In meat - the bone has a wide, powerful neck, muscles are well developed. The udder is voluminous, but its shares are unexpressed. These cows physically grow faster, that is, they gain weight quickly.
Hereford and Aberdeen Angus animals are popular. In different countries they also hold - Charolais, Limousine, Santa-Gertrude, Kiana, Kazakh white-headed, Galloway.
Dairy meat has excellent health, they are hardy, it is beneficial to keep them because of their versatility. The combined group includes the red Tambov and red Gorbatov, Shorthorn, Bestuzhev, Schwyz, Simmental, Kurgan and Kostroma.
Coloring and physical data
The color of the cow depends on the specific breed of the cow. In the photo of cows of different breeds you can admire how varied and beautiful the colors are.
The body weight of a cow also depends on the breed. For example, recently dwarf cows have been popular - their weight is not higher than 150-300 kg, and the smallest - only 90 kg. The growth of dwarf cows at the withers is 80-100 cm.
Well, in agricultural breeds, body weight starts from 450 kg and reaches, on average, up to 750 kg, growth at the withers - 1.2-1.5 m.
A villager can easily hold up to five cows. The main thing is that there should be pastures and a reservoir near the home mini-farm - for livestock walking you need space, water and food, all this is in nature.
Despite the fact that in the summer, cows can feed themselves, dairy cows are recommended to be fed with silage in the summer. This will increase milk yield and increase the fat content of milk.
In the barn, it must always be clean, otherwise the cattle can become sick. To do this, the floor must be lined with straw, and as it becomes soiled, completely replace it with a clean one.
Domestic farm animals from time to time need vaccinations against various diseases.
About the general principles of feeding and drinking
If in the summer the cow is on pasture, she needs to be fed twice a day - in the mornings and evenings, and in the winter and with a stall - three to four times.
Watering a cow is very important, because 60% of its body consists of water. The water temperature in the drinking bowl for an adult animal should be at least 10-12 ° C. A cow should drink 12 to 21 times a day.
Properly prepared for calving, the cow will bring healthy offspring. In the last two months of pregnancy, which lasts like a human pregnancy - 9 months (or about 285 days), juicy grass and silage are excluded from food, and fed with clean dry hay.
During this time, milking is impossible (then the daily milk yield after calving will be higher). In winter, you must ensure that the animal does not slip, since this is in most cases leads to fetal loss.
In most countries, the slaughter of cattle is prohibited not by a qualified specialist, but by a private trader. Before the procedure, the animal should be examined by a veterinarian, and after that - take samples of meat.
Interesting about cows
In India, breeding of dwarf cows is popular - there are about 30 species of them. Their growth is not higher than 1 m. And in Scotland, the favorite dwarf meat breed is Highland: these animals have long wavy hair and very long horns, the most diverse color is spotted, black, yellow, red or bun.
Belgian breeders bred a blue meat breed - the weight of an individual can reach up to 1 ton.
And there are native breeds - the Yakut, Ukrainian gray steppe, Buryat and Siberian breeds were created by nature itself, without the participation of people.
Cows, like other cattle, belong to herbivorous animals. Due to their anatomical structure, they are capable of digesting coarse, succulent and grain feeds. Coarse fodder is characterized by a high fiber content and a low percentage of moisture (hay, twig, straw). Juicy foods, in contrast, are rich in moisture (silage, grass, beets). Grain or concentrated feeds have high nutritional value (meal, cake, granular feed, grain: wheat, triticale, barley, oats, millet, sorghum, maize).
The ancestors of a domestic cow are wild bulls, for example, a tour that has already become extinct in nature. The process of domestication of these animals began in the early Neolithic, after the domestication of goats, sheep and pigs. It occurred on the territory from Altai to India and in Asia Minor. Tours were domesticated in Asia, and zebu in Hindustan.
At first, cattle were long-horned: in this form, it spread from Asia and from the Balkan Peninsula to Africa (about 7000 years ago) and Europe (about 5000 years ago). Small short-species appeared in Europe and were known as Celtic or Iberian.
The first attempts to breed cows of certain qualities are attributed to the inhabitants of ancient Rome. Then these issues were dealt with in Great Britain, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland. So it was possible to create a wide range of modern breeds. All of them are smaller than the ancient varieties, over 3000 years the size of domestic cows decreased by a third.
- Cow (Bos taurus taurus)
- Zebu (Bos taurus indicus) - characterized by the presence of a hump on the back.
- Tour (Bos taurus primigenius) is an extinct wild ancestor of a domestic cow.
Today, about 1080 breeds of cow, 121 breeds of zebu and 29 hybrid breeds are known. Dairy, meat and mixed meat and dairy breeds were bred depending on the needs and food supply of a particular breeding region.
Cow - This is a herd animal. Each herd has its own dominant hierarchy, which is formed during clashes between individuals. Once established, it remains unchanged in this herd. In general, the herd lives together and obeys its leader. To communicate with each other, domestic cows use special odors and pheromones. With the help of developed sense of smell, they distinguish the emotions of their relatives, especially fear and excitement. Head positioning is another means of communication. She expresses the mood of the animal (subordinate, anxious). The mooing or roaring of cows is used to express suffering (with delayed milking), hunger, thirst, calling a calf or a relative.
About a third of the day the cows spend on the pasture, another third are engaged in chewing gum, the rest of the time they rest.
Etymology of the name "cow"
Cows are members of the artiodactyl squad. It includes ungulate mammals with distinct fingers. Cows have characteristic cloven hooves (consisting of two middle fingers of each leg). Cows belong to:
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- the Bovidae family (bovids, which also includes antelopes, sheep and goats),
- subfamily Bovinae (also includes buffalo and antelopes of the genus Western Canna),
- Bovini species (includes cattle, bison and yaks),
- the genus Bos - from bos, the Latin word "cow".
Does a cow need horns
The size and weight of the cow depends on the breed. Adult males weigh 450–1800 kg, and females weigh 360–1100 kg. Bulls and cows have horns, they are short in many breeds, and grow to incredibly large sizes in Texas longhorns and African ankole-vatushi cows.
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Some breeds breed without horns or trim horns at a young age. Cows are known for large mammary glands (udders), which have four nipples.
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What and how cows eat
Cows are grazed (they feed) on the grass. They have a wide mouth and adapted teeth for eating hard vegetation. Adults have 32 teeth, but there are no upper incisors and fangs. Cows have a sticky pad in their mouths that helps rip grass. The crests of molar teeth move parallel to the tongue, and thus, chewing is more effective and performed in circular movements.
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The most specialized adaptation to eating vegetation in cows (and other ruminants) is their massive four-chamber stomach, which acts as a fermentation tank. Inside the rumen, the largest chamber of the stomach, bacteria and other microorganisms digest hard plant fibers (cellulose).To help in this process, cows repeatedly burp and re-chew food before it enters the rest of the digestive system through other gastric chambers.
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This process, called “chewing gum,” shakes the feed in the animal’s digestive tract (digestible material) and helps absorb nutrients. Having spent time re-chewing, cows avoid the need to chew freshly picked food. This allows them to quickly pick up a large amount of grass while in a vulnerable position upside down.
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Species and breeds of cows
Domestic cattle are bred for meat, milk or skins or used as draft power in Europe, India and Africa. Some other animal species, such as the Asian buffalo, Tibetan yak, guayal and banteng of Southeast Asia, as well as the bison of North America that live on the plains, were domesticated or tamed and are used for breeding cows.
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All modern cows are of the following types:
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- Bos taurus (European species, one of the representatives is Shorthorn and Jersey),
- Bos indicus (Indian zebu species, such as the Brahman breed),
- obtained by crossing the first two (for example, santa gertrude).
Cow breeds, known today, did not always exist, and many were recently bred.
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Determining the breed of a cow is a difficult task due to the cross-breeding of animals, although the term is widely used, it is well understood and associated with cows. Typically, a breed is understood to mean animals that have been selectively bred for a long time so that they have a distinctive identity in color, size, body shape and function, and these or other distinctive characters are preserved in the offspring.
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The breeds are created by generations of breeders seeking to create and maintain a certain type of cows with the desired characteristics. This is achieved by working on the principle of "like generates like." Only in relatively recent times has the science of genetics, and especially population genetics, contributed to the creation of new breeds of cows.
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In continental Europe there are many old breeds - for example, Charolese meat and Norman dairy and many others, but British breeds have become the basis for creating huge herds of cows around the world that supply a lot of beef and dairy products to the market.
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Cows are reddish brown, mahogany, the shade varies from light to dark on a white background. In some bulls, the color is so dark that it seems almost black. The spots, as a rule, are serrated at the edges, small and scattered throughout the body.
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These are medium-sized cows, in adulthood they weigh more than 550 kg, are strong, hardy, calmly stand in stalls on dairy farms, and adapt to milking machines due to the shape of the udder, not prone to leg problems.
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Few other breeds compare with the ability of Ayrshire cows to feed in adverse feeding conditions or climate. Cows do not have yellow lard, which reduces the value of the carcass, so ayrshires are grown as gobies. Breed milk has a moderate fat content.
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Cows are usually light brown, although they are almost gray and dull black. They may also have white spots that cover most of the carcass. A real Jersey cow always has a black nose and an almost white muzzle around its mouth. Strong legs are less prone to injury.
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Cows are relatively small in size, about 400-450 kg.
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The breed of jersey produces milk more efficiently than other breeds. This is especially important in countries where feed is scarce and makes the breed a profitable option for agriculture.
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The breed is recognizable thanks to the black-and-white or red-white pattern, milk production, large body. A healthy Holstein calf weighs 40 kg or more at birth. A mature Holstein cow weighs about 680 kg. The normal productive life of the Holstein breed is six years.
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Cows produce more milk than other breeds. They have an unmatched genetic ability to improve without a biological ceiling. Genetic improvements of 1 to 2% per year are absolutely realistic.
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Cows adapt to keeping on closed farms, partial and free grazing. Also, living conditions do not matter, animals feed in the highlands and in lowlands.
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A large head with a long fringe (which seems to cover the eyes), long and dark horns make the breed memorable and unusual.
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The cow has a double layer of wool - downy undercoat and long outer fur, it reaches a length of 30 cm and is covered with oils that repel moisture. In hot, dry climates, Highland cows drop thick fur and then grows new when humid, cold weather returns.
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The coat color is black, spotty, red, yellow and grayish brown. The breed is hardy with a natural and unique ability to graze effectively on poor vegetation pastures. It is distinguished by longevity, many cows breed at the age of more than 18 years, give birth to 15 calves for life. Maternal instinct is developed, even first-generation heifers rarely abandon offspring.
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Adult bulls weigh about 800 kg, cows - 500 kg.
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They give beef non-greasy, with marble, tender and juicy pulp with a characteristic taste. Cow meat is healthy, nutritious, lower in fat and cholesterol, and higher in protein and iron than other cow breeds.
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The breed is born without horns. Cows are black or red, although black is the dominant shade, sometimes white appears on the udder.
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The breed is resistant to severe weather, undemanding, easy to adapt, good-natured. The specimens ripen early, after slaughter they get meat carcasses with marbled beef that tastes good. Angus breed is used in crossbreeding to improve the quality of animals. Females have a good ability to give birth and raise calves. They are also used as a genetic foundation, since the dominant gene conveys qualitative characteristics.
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The breed of cows is colored from dark red to red-yellow. White looks contrasting against this background:
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Cows with white sides and white markings below the knees and hocks are also common. Most animals have short, thick horns that usually bend along the sides of the head, but in Hereford and Great Britain they bred a Hereford hornless cow.
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Mature males weighing up to 800 kg, females about 550 kg.
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This breed is energetic and famous for longevity, females produce calves over the age of 15 years. Bulls give birth in a herd up to 12 years or more. Many breeders keep animals until they die from natural causes.
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Hereford breed lives in the Arctic snow of Finland, tolerates the heat of the Northern Transvaal, resists the harsh climate and coarse grasses of northern Uruguay or the subtropical zones of Brazil.
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Belgian blue cow
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Large animal with rounded outlines and pronounced muscles. The shoulder, back, lower back and sacrum are muscular. The back is straight, the sacrum is sloping, the tail is pronounced. He has beautiful, strong legs and walks easily.
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The color is white with blue and black, or a combination thereof, red is present in some genotypes. The breed is known for its calm temperament.
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The weight of an adult bull is from 1100 to 1250 kg. Cows from 850 to 900 kg.
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Belgian blue in crossbreeding programs with other dairy or meat breeds increases specimen productivity by 5 - 7% compared to the maternal line.
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The color is from gold to red with white, and is either evenly distributed or pronounced in spots on a white background. The head is white and often a white stripe appears on the shoulders.
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Cows of the breed weigh about 700-900 kg, and bulls - 1300 kg.
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Breeding for the production of milk and beef at minimal cost has created a balanced breed that is easily adaptable, has strong muscles and good survival. Humility and good maternal qualities are other characteristics of the breed.
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When breeding, the Simmental breed provides good growth and, therefore, the best beef yield for crossed offspring, improves the quality of meat with white fat and excellent marbling, and improves milk yield.
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The light brown body, creamy white muzzle and dark blue pigment of the eyes help the breed withstand extreme solar radiation. They are strong, prolific, long-lived, easily adaptable and balanced in structure by the hooves and limbs of a cow.
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The breed provides a good yield of milk and meat.
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Cheese makers love milk from the Swiss cow for the best ratio of fat and protein among dairy breeds.
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When the cows are ready to give offspring
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The heifer reaches puberty at the age of 6 to 15 months, depending on the breed, but it is not used for breeding until 18 months. Too early pregnancy will worsen growth and reduce fertility and milk yield.
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How long does a cow’s pregnancy last?
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It depends on the breed and gender of the calf. The duration of pregnancy is from 279 to 287 days. For most breeds, the term is 283 days. Cows carrying bulls have a longer pregnancy than cows carrying heifers.