What are the characteristics of a cow?
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Q:

What are the characteristics of a cow?

A:

Quick Answer

Characteristics of cows include their large size, boxy body type and calm temperament. They have bulky, long bodies with relatively small heads. Cows can weigh more than 2,000 pounds, but height and weight can vary significantly between breeds.

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Physical traits, including color and ear placement, also vary between cow breeds. They have good peripheral vision to detect the approach of predators, and they can hear sounds at a high pitch. The average natural lifespan of cows is 25 years, but many are killed by the age of 3 as part of modern farming practices.

Cows feed mostly on grass and stems. When they eat, they curve their tongue around a plant and slice it with their bottom teeth. They are ruminants and have stomachs with four chambers to digest fibrous plants. Bacteria break down the plant material in their stomach to create cud, which re-enters the throat so the cow can chew it again. Total digestion time for a cow can be as much as 100 hours.

Research at Northampton University in 2011 indicates that cows' emotions may be deeper than previously thought. Cows can form social relationships and are typically calm and peaceful. However, the research notes they can also be aggressive bullies. Mother cows are often extremely protective of their calves, and many cows are curious about new things but afraid at the same time.

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Related Questions

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    What is a cull cow?

    A:

    A cull cow is any cow that has left the herd. The term "culling" is most often associated with the deliberate killing of undesirable cattle, but it also refers to animals that are sold off alive for any reason and those that die naturally while still on the farm.

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  • Q:

    What is a male cow called?

    A:

    A male cow is called a steer if it has been castrated and is called a bull if it is still able to reproduce. Due to the loss of their testicles, steers often exhibit physical differences from bulls, including less muscle around the neck.

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    How much does a cow weigh?

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    An average full-grown cow weighs between 1,000 and 1,800 pounds. A cow's weight varies by breed, age and individual factors. Holstein dairy cows tend to be quite large and usually weigh around 1,500 pounds, while Jersey dairy cows are smaller and usually weigh around 1,000 pounds when full grown.

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    What is a female cow called?

    A:

    Although cattle are often collectively referred to as cows, the word cow specifically refers to females of the cattle species that have given birth to at least one calf. Young female cattle that have not yet given birth to a calf are referred to as heifers.

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