For the past few weeks, David has been quizzing me on animal classifications. For example, a female goat is called a doe. Easy enough, right? All I have to do is sing that age-old tune…doe a deer, a female deer….except replace deer with goat. Doe a goat, a female goat…hmm, just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
So, almost every night David asks, “What is a male goat with its testicles?”
“Horny?” I reply laughing to myself.
David usually shakes his head trying to conceal his own laughter.
Eventually we have gone through all that applies to our little farm at this point and I feel proud to be a farm girl.
Here is the break down thus far: (only for your own personal enjoyment. No quizzes, I promise!)
A male goat is a buck. Same as a deer. Yes, this was confusing to me at first and I found myself thinking, ‘Wait, so are deer and goats of the same species? I’m so confused!’
In the same family we have a yearling which is a goat or a sheep between the age of 1-2.
A kid, well that is a baby goat. A lamb, of course we ALL know what that is. A baby sheep! (they are so cute, right?)
A wether is a male sheep or goat that’s been castrated (neutered).
And an ewe is a female sheep…
Are you still with me?
Let’s move on…to cows. Or those things we all have called cows for years and years. By the way, we are getting one and a calf too!
Overall, two or more is a cattle but this does not apply to one. ‘Cows,’ which are only female (will get to that later) are what we predominately see in pastures because most males are castrated at birth and then slaughtered for meat before the age of three.
A heifter is a young female animal under the age of three that is either close to calving or has had no calf at all. Sometimes a young female that has only had one calf is called a first-calf heifer.
A Springer is a heifer close to calving.
Young cattle of both sexes are called calves until they are weaned from their mothers and then they are often referred to as weaners (insert laughter here) or feeders until they are one years old. After that, they too are called yearlings or stirks if between one and two years old.
A steer is a male that has been castrated and a bull is an intact male (meaning they still have their balls or as I like to refer to them, the horny ones)
A calf is a baby.
And finally, the confusing one. So, contrary to what we’ve all be raised to believe, a cow is only a female animal that is over two years of age and has had a calf. This term is also used on other larger animals such as whales and hippos.
I turn to David, “Wait, so I’ve been wrong all this time? A cow is not a cow just because it looks like a cow?”
“It is if it’s a cow!” Says David
And now I’m confused all over again.