The Cattle Essay Research Paper The CattleThe

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The Cattle Essay, Research Paper The Cattle The cattle are domesticated herbivorous mammals that constitute the genus Bos, of the family Bovidae. The cattle are of great importance to humans because of the milk, meat, leather, gelatin, glue, hides and other items of trading they produce. Cattle today are divided into two species: B. indicus, which originated in India and is characterized by a hump at the withers, and B. taurus, which originated in Europe and includes most recent breeds of dairy and beef cattle. The common characteristics of cattle can be provided through classification. They belong to the order Artiodactyla (even-toed, hoofed mammals) and the suborder Ruminantia (decreased number of teeth, with the upper incisors missing and a four-compartmented stomachs).

Like others of the family Bovidae, they have paired, hollow, unbranched horns that do not shed. Other Bovidae that are so closely related to true cattle that they can still interbreed include the anoa, bison, gaur, Indian and African buffalo, and yak. The wild cattle, B. primigenius, of Europe were first domesticated in southeastern Europe about 8500 years ago, which European cattle descended from. The zebu, or Brahman, cattle, B. indicus, were domesticated in southern Asia about the same time. Early records show that cattle were used for sacrifice, draft, milk, meat, and sport. Modern breeds of cattle were formed during the mid-1800s, and most modern breeds were formed in the latter half of that century. The definition of a breed is used to indicate animals that posses

distinctive identity in color, size, conformation, and function. Cattle with similar characteristics, however, were present in these areas even before the idea of breeds became dominant. Today about 274 important recognized breeds exist, and new breeds continue to evolve (Encyclopedia Britannica). The male cattle is first a bull calf and if left intact becomes a bull. If the bull is fixed he becomes a steer and in about two or three years grows to an ox. The female is first a heifer calf, growing into a heifer and becoming a cow. Dairy cattle are those breeds that have been developed primarily to produce milk. The achievements of careful breeding have been outstanding because the individual high-performance cows could produce more than four times the average amount of milk and

butterfat. In North America the major breeds of dairy cattle are the Holstein-Friesian, Brown Swiss, Ayrshire, Guernsey, and Jersey. The ancestors of these animals were imported from Europe, where similar cattle exist today. The Holstein-Friesian came from Holland, the Brown Swiss from Switzerland, the Ayrshire from Scotland, the Jersey and Guernsey from England. The major breeds show distinctive characteristics that may be used for identification. The Holstein-Friesian is the largest; a mature cow weighs at least 1500lb (Britannica). It is followed by the Brown Swiss, Ayrshire, and Guernsey. The Jersey is the smallest, with a mature cows weighing 1000lb (Britannica). Breeds also differ in color. The Holstein is black and white, although some may be red and white; the Guernsey is

fawn, white markings and a yellow skin; the Jersey may vary from a light gray to a very dark fawn, usually solid in color but sometimes with white spots. The Brown Swiss varies from a very light grayish-brown to dark brown; and the Ayrshire can be red, brown, or mahogany with white. Breeds also differ by volume of milk produced and milk composition. Holstein-Friesians produce the largest volume followed by the Brown Swiss, Ayrshire, Guernsey, and Jersey. Milk in the Jersey contains the highest concentration of fat followed by Guernsey, Brown Swiss, Ayrshire, and the Holstein. Beef cattle have been bred and selected primarily for the production of meat. Many breeds have been developed or adapted for special conditions. The major breeds of registered beef cattle in North America