Cattle & Udders: Do we find them on both genders?

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Cattle are animal species with many similarities between both genders. For example, horns can trick you to believe a cattle is actually male instead of female. As you can find out here, that’s not exactly a correction assumption. It would be really helpful to know how to separate the genders.

So, what happens when it comes to udders? We are all aware that it is definitely a female cow feature because all female mammals have them to feed their newborns. So, we should ask ourselves the question: Do male cattle have udders as well?

What Are Udders Used For

As nature created them and many other species, cows have udders to feed their babies. In fact, female cows have much larger udders than other mammals, because their offsprings are also much larger than others.

Actually, they have four glands for just one calf, because they need to be separated to avoid injuries. The reason is that they need a big amount of milk for the calves, and it cannot fit only in two, like what happens with goats, for example.

Do Male Cattle Have Udders?

The answer to this question is no, male cattle do not have udders. The evolution made sure that only female cows would have them in order to keep their babies fed. There is no reason for male cattle to develop udders since they will never breastfeed.

The differentiation appears and actually develops at puberty, which happens at 12 years of age in cattle. Moreover, even if they are older, it is hard to separate them due to the fact that they are pretty similar animals in both genders.  So if they are younger or older, a good way to know who is what is to choose from is a big selection of ear tags you can find online.

Which are the distinctive characteristics of cattle?

There are 5 basic types of cattle out there and some particular traits to be able to distinguish them from one to the other. It is very useful for new farmers to know the details which make them who they are for the better management of the herd.

  1. Calf

Calves are the name given to very young cattle. They are called like this until they become one year old when they are named yearlings. They are pretty obvious to separate from others because of their small size.

At this age, udders haven’t been developed yet, so it is not so easy to understand if it is a female or a male. The reason for that is that they haven’t given birth yet. You can recognize a male cattle from the male genitals though.

  1. Heifer

Female cows who haven’t given birth to a calf yet are called heifers. They can be either young cows or cows which are used mainly for meat (beef cattle). They usually are 12-14 months old and as soon as they have a baby, they are called cows.

The interesting part about heifers is that they also do not have udders. They develop them when they become pregnant for the first time. It is the main feature that makes the difference between a cow and a heifer. Apart from that, they cannot be mistaken as male ones, due to the absence of testicles.

  1. Cow

Cows are the female bovines that have given birth at least to one calf. They are used for many purposes, from the beef they produce to the milk that comes from their udders. If you compare them to a bull, they look a lot more feminine with large hips and thinner legs.

In addition, the most distinctive element of cows is their large pink udder. As we said before, they are actually four large breasts that are used for milking and if you see them, they are pretty recognizable from a distance. They also have a bigger vulva than heifers.

  1. Steer

A steer is considered to be a male cattle that has been castrated. Steers provide basically meat and they are castrated before their 12 months of age, meaning puberty. Angus beef, a very popular beef in the U.S.A is made from steer bovines that mature pretty quickly and produce high-quality steaks!

You can distinguish steers from bulls from their body type. They have less muscular shoulders and neck, and they are a lot less aggressive. Furthermore, because they have been castrated, they do not have testicles. Finally, you can tell it is not a cow because it doesn’t have an udder.

  1. Bull

A bull is a full-grown male bovine with large shoulders, a lot of muscles, and quite a sensitive temper! Their purpose is breeding with female cows and they are not used for meat. They are at least 2 years old and are very large animals.

The size is a trait that makes them very different from the rest of the cattle. If you come across a herd on a farm, you will find the bull in it from the first glimpse. It will be the biggest animal there! Also, male genitals are pretty obvious, because they are also large and hard to miss.

Again, do not get confused with the horns, since they might not have any and a female cow might actually have! Additionally, male bovines might not have udders, but they have nipples. Their number is four but they are small and not very visible.

Conclusion

Udders were made from nature for a specific purpose and they do not belong to bulls or steers. Although cows are not the only mammals with an udder, they have the largest one and it is very common, when we picture a cow, to imagine her with a large udder.

All things considered, the types of cattle might have many similarities, but udders are not one of them. So, do male cattle have udders? No, they don’t, but if you search long enough you will find four small nipples there.

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