Male bovines are called “bulls,” until they’re castrated-then they’re called “steers.” Female bovines are called “heifers” until they have a calf, then they’re known as “cows.”

How to determine if cattle are bulls, steers, cows or heifers

If you’re new to the cattle world, keeping bulls, steers, cows and heifers straight is confusing. Even though you once thought that “cow” was a blanket term used for all cattle in all situations, you’ll catch on quickly to the correct terminology.

Bulls

A bull, also known as a sire, is a mature male bovine that is at least 2 years old used for breeding purposes. Bulls are usually not used for meat.

Bulls are not castrated because they have desired traits that producers want to use for breeding. Typically, a sire will produce more calves in its lifetime than a cow, according to Extension Beef Cattle Breeding Specialist John L. Evans, Ph.D., at Oklahoma State University Extension.

Bulls are usually larger than other cattle. Th… Continue Reading (3 minute read)

10 thoughts on “Male bovines are called “bulls,” until they’re castrated-then they’re called “steers.” Female bovines are called “heifers” until they have a calf, then they’re known as “cows.””

  1. heisenberger_royale

    Remember folks. Referring to OPs mom as a heifer is factually inaccurate. She is a cow, because she produced OP.

    Jk op. Have a great day

  2. ReZpawner

    All I know is that steers is one of the two main Texan exports.

  3. nitsedy

    Next thing you know, you’ll be finding out what an ox is.

  4. Just-Call-Me-Sepp

    I never thought about it but I guess that is very useful knowledge for the farmer

  5. fangelo2

    Let me understand, you got the hen,the chicken, and the rooster

  6. NicNoletree

    Female elephants are called cows too. Male elephants are called bulls. There is not a name for castrated male elephants because none of the people attempting to do it have survived.

  7. pjwalen

    Wow, that’s really interesting! When I grow up, I’m going to Bovine University!

  8. HALF_PAST_HOLE

    So Heffer Wolfe from Rocco’s Modern life was actually a Bull.

  9. spud4

    Ox a term that primarily refers to a male bovine that has been castrated after maturity.

    Balls or not try having a 1200 pound male cow running at you.

  10. Alexstarfire

    This raises many questions about Rocko’s friend in Rocko’s modern life.

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