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Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Outdoor Industries/Cattle Husbandry

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Cattle Husbandry
General Conference

Outdoor Industries

Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 1944

1. Name at least 25 parts of a steer.

Parts of a steer.png

2. What are four characteristics of a good heifer?

a) Weight of the heifer, with the ideal between 900 and 1,250 pounds at weaning time. A cow that is too small will usually produce calves that do not grow as much. Larger cows require more maintenance and feed.

b) Muscle distribution. Heifers should have smooth, even, moderately thick muscle distribution. Thick, bunchy muscling can be an indicator of light milk production.

c) Fat distribution (finish) should be even.

d) Structural soundness. Look at the feet and legs for any defects such as splay footing (hooves point out), knock knees and curled, small, or uneven toes. Legs should be straight when viewed from behind.

e) Sex characteristics. Feminine traits should be evident including long, narrow necks, refined heads and smooth shoulders. Udders should be correctly sized, with small- to medium-sized teats.

f) Breed specific charactorisics such as ears, color etc.

4-H Clubs may offer livestock judging competitions and information.

3. What is castration, and what is its purpose?

Castration is the act of removing the testicles of a bull. It is also called steering, as the animal is thenceforth called a steer.

Castration is commonly performed on domestic animals not intended for breeding for the following reasons:

  • To reduce or prevent territorial behaviour
  • To reduce or prevent aggression
  • To reduce other consequences of sexual behaviour that may make animal husbandry more difficult, such as boundary/fence/enclosure destruction when attempting to get to nearby cows.
  • To increase growth and weight of the animal.
  • To improve the taste of the meat.

4. Why is dehorning done, and what age is best for dehorning?

Cattle with horns can injur themselves, other cattle, and their handlers. They can also bruise the meat which lowers the value of the cattle. It is best done before the age of three months, as they are more easily handled when they are this young, and they also recover from the procedure more quickly. Dehorning cattle over the age of one year is illegal in many localities, as it is considered inhumane. The procedure should be performed in the late afternoon or early morning when flies are less abundant, and thus, infection less likely. It should never be performed in wet weather as it will take much longer for the wounds to heal.

5. What is creep feeding?

Beef cattle are bred to quickly build up their body mass while deemphasizing milk production. A beef cow's milk production will begin to taper off before its calf's need for it decreases, so creep feeding is introduced to fill the gap. A creep feeder is an enclosure that holds feed so that it can be easily accessed by a small calf, but not accessed at all by grown cattle.

Calves born in the early spring or late fall benefit the most from creep feeding because the availability of grass in the pasture is decreased during these times.

6. When is a calf weaned?

The ideal time to wean a calf is when it is six to eight months old, though there are a variety of factors that can affect this. In hard times, such as a drought, a calf could be weaned earier for the mother to get stronger before calving again. This will allow her secretory tissue to be restored before she calves again. Calves can be weaned as early as one month, when they begin eating grain and hay, optimal time for weaning is six months. The longer a calf is on a cow the healthier it will be and the faster it will grow.

7. What are the housing needs of cattle?

Cold weather will not hurt a cow so much as rain will. Cattle need a shelter they may enter whenever weather becomes too much for them. Such a shelter (like a barn or a simple shed) would provide enough cover. If they are able to be on pasture anytime they want then when they needed the protection of a barn they would go into it.

8. Why is it best to put feed and water at opposite ends of the pen from each other?

Cows, like Pathfinders, need exercise to be healthy. Placing food and water far apart gives them exercise.

9. Identify live or from pictures three breeds of beef cattle and three breeds of dairy cattle.

Beef Cattle



Description: Angus cattle are naturally polled (meaning they do not grow horns) and solid black, although white may appear on the udder. Black Angus are the most popular beef breed of cattle in the United States.
Angus cattle 10.jpg


Description: The Brahman has a distinct large hump over the top of the shoulder and neck, and a loose flap of skin (dewlap) hanging from the neck. Their ears are large and floppy. Bulls weigh 8001600 lbs to 1100 kgs2200 lbs. Despite their huge size, they are known as a docile breed, if handled with kindness from calfhood.


Description: This breed has been quite popular in the top end of Australia where they are more adaptable to the harsh weather conditions. The coat is almost pure white.


Description: Hereford cattle are a widely-used breed in temperate areas, mainly for beef production. Originally from Herefordshire, England, they are the most common breed of beef cattle in the temperate parts of Australia. The breed also enjoys great popularity among ranchers in the desert American Southwest of the United States and also in the centre and east of Argentina.
Hereford bull large.jpg

Texas Longhorn

Description: The Texas longhorn is a breed of cattle known for its characteristic horns, which can extend to six feet in width and have a slight upward turn at their tips, as well as for their distinctive burnt orange coloring.
Texas Longhorn.jpg

Dairy Cattle


Brown Swiss

Description: Brown Swiss is the breed of dairy cattle that produces the second largest quantity of milk per annum. The milk contains on average 4% butterfat and 3.5% protein, making their milk excellent for production of cheese. The Brown Swiss is known for their immense size, large furry ears, and an extremely docile (though some would say lethargic) temperament.
Brown swiss.jpg


Description: The Guernsey is a breed of cattle used in dairy farming. It is cream and brown in color and is particularly renowned for the rich flavor of its milk, the very rich yellow color that is richest color of any milk breed, as well as its hardiness and docile disposition.
Guernsey cattle.jpg


Description: The primary color pattern for this dairy breed is black and white, but a red and white variety, called "Red Holstein", is also maintained. They are the most common breed of milk cow in America, gives the highest amount of milk yet the lowest butterfat.
Cow female black white.jpg


Description: The Jersey cow is quite small, ranging from only 800 to 1200 pounds (360 to 540 kg), but by some measures it produces more milk per unit of body weight than any other breed, and has the highest feed-to-milk conversion efficiency of any dairy breed. The milk is highest of all breeds for butterfat. Milk is known for the high cream and rich taste. Bulls are also small, ranging from 1200 to 1800 pounds (540 to 820 kg), and are notoriously aggressive.
Jersey cattle in Jersey.jpg

10. What type of feed is required during the following:

a. First 90 days

Calfs need colustrum in the first several days. Than they switch to milk for 4-10 weeks. Than to starter feed transitioning to regular feed. Here is a detailed guide: http://www.uky.edu/Ag/AnimalSciences/pubs/asc161.pdf Also give access to grass or hay so the calf can start sampling at an early age.

b. From 90 to 180 days

Calf manna and grain are appropriate along with grass and/or hay. If they don't want to eat you can sprinkle milk replacement powder on the feed to get them interested.

c. From 180 days to selling

Hay and/or pasture.

11. How can a heifer be trained to become a gentle cow?

Regular (daily if possible) handling of the animal will generally result in a more gentle animal. Teach it to lead on a rope in the first several months.

12. Care for one or more calves for a period of six months.

Have fun.