Black Angus Cow 2016-11-30T16:09:57+00:00

black_angus_cowBlack Angus Cow

Bos taurus taurus angus

Description

The Black Angus is a large polled (hornless) breed of beef cattle with a solid black color and a short, compact body.

Size

The Angus is relatively short in stature compared to other cattle breeds. Average market weight is 1,000-1,300 pounds.

Adaptations

  • Cattle are ruminants (animals with four stomachs). When they first eat their food, they chew very little. This partially chewed food is swallowed and enters the first stomach (rumen). Then the food is regurgitated into the mouth where it is more thoroughly chewed. This is called “chewing the cud”. The food then passes through the remaining three stomachs for complete digestion.

Diet

The diet of beef cattle consists of grain and hay. Although they are heavier than dairy cattle, they are actually fed less because they do not have the high-energy needs of a milk-producing cow.

Reproduction

Calving typically occurs in the spring. After a 9 month gestation, a cow gives birth to one calf. Twins are rare and undesirable because they are small and weak. Calves are generally kept with the mother until weaning age, which is 4-5 months.

Shelter and Space Needs

Cattle have a reasonably high tolerance for cold weather, although they do need to be provided with shelter from extreme weather. Cosley Zoo’s cows have stalls in the barn where they spend the night and an outdoor yard which they share during the day.

Life Expectancy

Because they are domestic animals which are raised for human use, the life expectancy of cattle is uncertain.

Importance to Man

Black Angus beef cattle are popular with ranchers due to their ease of keep and large amount of meat produced. Numerous byproducts can also be made from the bone, hooves, hide, hair, and fatty acids. These byproducts include gelatin, film, baseball gloves, shampoo, cosmetics, and crayons.

Fun Facts

  • The Black Angus breed originated in Scotland in the mid-1800s.
  • Producers are able to use 98% of the bodies of beef cattle, either for meat or other byproducts.
  • The sports of baseball, football, soccer, volleyball, and basketball all depend on cattle products – cowhide is used to make the balls! (Although a football is commonly called a “pigskin”, it is actually made from cattle leather).
  • Beef cattle produce a lot of meat – one animal can provide enough ground beef for 1,500 quarter-pound hamburgers!