COWS FROM A-Z
A fact about cows for each letter of the alphabet.
Click on highlighted word for more information/
A IS FOR ART
B IS FOR BREEDS
There are over 800
BREEDS of cattle which were bred by humans for specialized uses. There are many
miniature miniature breeds. A
Rare Breed Livestock, Miniature, and Pet Expo is held each year at the Fairgrounds in Tennessee. A breed of cattle called
Beefalo is part domestic beef cattle and part American bison. The largest breed of beef cattle in the world is the
Chianina from Italy.
C IS FOR COLUMBUS
The continent of North America did not have cattle until
Christopher COLUMBUS brought them on his second voyage to the New World. Cows were brought to
Australia from England.
D IS FOR DAIRY
DAIRY cows are used for milk products and there are several
breeds including Jersey, Guernesy, Holstein, Brown Swiss, and Ayshire.
Holsteins have been raised in Holland for more than 2,000 years and make up a large percent of American cows.
Jersey cows originated in England,
Ayrshires originated in Scotland, Brown Swiss originated in Switzerland, and Guernesy originated in France. Take a virtual tour of
The Story of Milk. Wisconsin is known as
America's Dairyland. Visit a
E IS FOR ENSILAGE
ENSILAGE is chopped-up cornstalks and corncobs, grass, and other vegetation. It is put into big silos in the summer. Cows
eat grass in the summer and graze day and night in the pasture. In the winter they stay in the barn most of the time and eat hay, ensilage, and grain.
F IS FOR FAIRY TALES
G IS FOR GAME
H IS FOR HORNS
Most cows grow HORNS. Some are short and some are curved. Others are long and sharp. Sometimes the horns are cut off when they are young. An Ayrshire’s horns are long and beautifully curved up over the head. Longhorns were named for their wide long horns. Horns have been made into
drinking horns and
I IS FOR ITALY
ITALY means “calf-land” and refers to Hera, the Great Mother, in her form as a cow. The “horn of plenty” was used in ancient Rome to symbolize good things given by the Great Cow.
J IS FOR JOKES
There are many
JOKES about cows. The
Cow Dance is just that - cows dancing!
K IS FOR KOUPREY
KOUPREY is a wild animal and a close relative of cattle. It is in danger of extinction along with three other species.
L IS FOR LEATHER
The hide of a cow makes tough durable
LEATHER. Cows have two toes on each foot which form the
hoof. The hooves of cows provide glue and gelatin and the fat can be burned for light a heat.
Beef by-products are used in hundreds of everyday items.
M IS FOR MYTHOLOGY
Cows and bulls have been part of MYTHOLOGY since the beginning of time. The cow usually represented the moon and the bull the sun. A cow was the symbol of
Isis the nature goddess of Ancient Egypt. In Ancient Crete
bull leaping was a popular sport. The
Druids used bulls for religious purposes in Ancient England. The
Ankole-Watusi can be traced back 6,000 years and are known as the “Cattle of Kings”. The
Brown Swiss is also one of the oldest cows in the world and may be related to a breed that existed in the Bronze Age. The
Festival of Cows is held in Nepal.
N IS FOR NAMES
There are many
NAMES for cows. Bossie and Bessie are common names for dairy cows. Bossie comes from an old Latin, Bos Taurus, which means ox. The first Beanie Baby cow was named Bessie and in Wisconsin there ia a giant cow named Bessie. A calf’s mother is called the “dam”, and his father is called the “sire”. Male calves are called “bull calves,” and female calves are called “heifer calves.” Bulls are always called bulls and are very dangerous when they are grown up. Heifers are heifers only until they have their first calf and then they are called cows.
O IS FOR OXEN
There are five species of
OXEN. The term oxen includes buffalo and bison. The
Aurochs were the ancestors of domestic cattle and are extinct. All surviving oxen but the kouprey have been domesticated.
P IS FOR POEMS
Q IS FOR QUEEN
QUEEN of England maintains a herd of
Highland cattle at
Balmoral Castle. Cows follow a strict form of etiquette and every cow is a queen to all the cows below her. One cow in a herd is the boss and status seems to depend on the ability to push and shove. A cow establishes her rank soon after joining the herd. Cows at the top of the social order usually do not have to walk as far for food as low-status cows. Cattle can be "broken to lead" or trained to be lead with a halter.
R IS FOR RUMEN
RUMEN is where food goes when a cow swallows the first time. It softens things up, is regurgitated, chewed as cud, and swallowed again. Then it goes to the other three stomachs. Cows can digest almost any kind of plant food because they are ruminant animals and have four parts to their stomachs. A cow only has teeth on its bottom jaw at the front of its mouth. In the back it has large molars top and bottom.
S IS FOR SACRED
In India, Hindus believe the cow is
SACRED and cattle are treated with great respect. The sale of cows is prohibited. During festivals cows are painted and decorated. The Zebus cows is the sacred cow. It has a characteristic hump behind its head. In Japan, Sacred Cows are set up in the middle of rivers to reduce the speed of the current.
T IS FOR TRIVIA
A lot of TRIVIA is available about cows. Several states have
Salem Sue in North Dakota is the World's Largest Cow.
Chatty Belle in Wisconsin is the world's largest talking cow.
Turkey Hill in Pennsylvania has 3 giant cows. A special type of Harley-Davison motorcycle was called a moo-glide. A line of
Lamborghini automobiles named Mirua has a bull on its emblem. Each cow produces at least fifteen tons of manure annually and most of it is used as fertilizer. It has also been used to plaster walls of houses and dried for use as fuel for cooking. Cows have been on postage stamps.
Manatees are aquatic animals that are called Sea Cows.
Tucows is an internet site that provides downloads of programs.
U IS FOR UNUSUAL
UNUSUAL cows include the
cow-bird which is really a bird and named for their feeding habit of gathering near cows to feast on the insects those animals attract. The
Dutch Belted Galloway has unusual coloring – the head is pitch black, the middle is white, and they have black tongues. A
dogcow is an icon used on a Macintosh computer.
V IS FOR VOCAL
At least 6 different VOCAL sounds by cows have been identified. Cows communicate sounds to express a variety of moods. The
moo is the most familiar. There are several
Talking Cows in the United States. Each language has a word for
W IS FOR WEATHER
Folklore claimed that animals including cows can forecast the
WEATHER. Some sayings were "scratch ear, shower very near" and "thump ribs with tale, thunder lightening, and hail".
More folklore about the weather.
X IS FOR XING
In many places it is necessary to put a sign
Cows XING to alert motorists to the possibility that a cow or cows might be crossing the road.
Y IS FOR YAK
YAK is one of the most hardy breeds along with the
Skottish Highland Cow.
YAKOW is a combination of a yak and a cow and is common in Tibet where domesticated Yak is found.
Z IS FOR ZOO
Cows in my neighborhood
Thank you to the many people who made the webpages I linked to.