- Cattle are descendants of a wild ancestor called the auroch; a huge animals which originated on the subcontinent of India before spreading into China, the Middle East, northern Africa and Europe. Representations of aurochs can be found painted on the famous cave walls near Lascaux, France.
- People started domesticating aurochs between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago. Cattle were domesticated after sheep, goats, pigs, and dogs.
- Cattle were first brought to the western hemisphere by Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1493.
- Buttery and richly flavored.
- Beef is one of the most important dietary sources of iron.
- Beef is among the top food sources for protein, zinc and vitamin B12.
- A three-ounce serving of lean beef contributes more than 10% of the daily recommended value of protein, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorous, choline, niacin, vitamin B6, iron and riboflavin.
- Cows, like humans, are pregnant for nine months.
- The average weight of a calf at birth is 70-80 lbs. Now that’s a big baby!
- Beef is meat from full-grown cattle that are about 2 years old.
- A live steer weighs about 1,000 pounds and yields about 450 pounds of edible meat.
- Over 98% of the beef animal is used when it is processed.
- Cattle are ruminants. This means they have one stomach with four separate compartments. Their digestive system allows them to digest plant material by repeatedly regurgitating it and chewing it again as cud. This digestive process allows cattle to thrive on grasses, other vegetation and feed.
- A cow chews its cud for about eight hours a day.
- When an animal chews its cud it is a sign of health and contentment.
- Other ruminant animals include deer, elk, sheep, and goats.
- Colostrum, is a cow’s first milk after birth. It has twice the calories of regular milk and contains antibodies that are vital for the newborn.
- Calves are born without protection from diseases, so their antibodies come from their mother’s milk.
Cow: adult female that has produced a calf.
Bull: adult male.
Steer: adult male animal that has been castrated and cannot breed.
Heifer: young female that has not produced a calf.