Common Terms on Livestock Production

Important Common terms for various livestock species are described below:

Common Terms for Various Farm Animals

Livestock: The terms ‘livestock’ and ‘animal’ are used synonymously. So, livestock production and animal livestock production are the same. The most common animals under the area of livestock production are cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, pig, rabbit, and poultry. The other important animals are horses, camels, yak, and Mithun.

Ruminant: Ruminants are animals that have four compartments in their stomach. They can digest large quantities of fibrous feeds like straw, grass, etc. Buffalo, Cattle, sheep, and goats are ruminants.

Non-ruminant: Animals having a single compartment in their stomach are called nonruminants. These animals cannot digest large quantities of fibrous feed like straw, grass, etc. non-ruminants should be fed concentrate feeds (containing cereals, cereal by-products, oil cakes, etc.). Pigs are non-ruminants.

Fattening animal: Animals ready for slaughter for meat production are called fattening animals, e.g. fattening pigs, and fattening cattle.

Dairy animals: The animals which are reared for their milk are known as dairy animals. The most common dairy animals in India are buffalo, cattle, and goats.

Solipad: Animals having no cleft in their hooves are called solipad, e.g. horses.

Polipad: Animals having clefts in their hooves are called polipad, e.g. cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, etc.

Paddock: A small field in which animals are kept is called a paddock. It is also called run. Paddock is generally surrounded by a half wall and attached to the animal shed.

Lactation period: The period between parturition (giving birth) to the cessation of milk is called the lactation period. The standard lactation period in cattle is about 300-305 days.

Service period: The period between parturition (giving birth) to the next successful service (conception) is called the service period. The desirable service period in the case of cows is not more than 90 days.

Gestation period: The period between the conception (giving service) to the parturition (giving birth) is called the gestation period or pregnancy period, e.g. in cattle: 280 days, in buffalo: 310 days, in goats: 150 days, in sheep: 148 days, in the pig: 114 days.

Calving interval/inter-calving period: The period between two successive calvings is called the calving interval or inter-calving period. It is the sum total of the service period and gestation period or lactation period and dry period. The ideal inter-calving period in cattle is about 12-13 months.

Culling: The removal of undesirable or unproductive animals from the herd/flock is known as culling.

Cryptorchid: A male animal in which one or both the testicles fail to descend into the scrotal sac is known as a cryptorchid. Such types of animals should not be used for breeding purposes.

Buller or nymphomaniac: A cow apparently always in heat is called buller or nymphomaniac.

Free martin: When twin calves of different sexes are born in which the bull calf is normal, whereas the heifer calf becomes sterile. This sterile heifer calf is called a freemartin.

Open animal: The female animals that have not been bred are called open animals.

Scrub bull: A non-descript type of stray village cattle is called a scrub bull.

Stud bull: A bull that is used for breeding purposes is known as a stud bull.

Pedigree bull: The bull whose ancestral record is known is called a pedigree bull.

Teaser bull: It is the bull used for heat detection in large dairy farms. This bull is vasectomized.

Lactation curve: The graphical representation of the rate of milk secretion during lactation is called the lactation curve.

Weaning: The separation of the newborn from the mother animal and feeding them artificially is known as weaning.

Common Terms Related to Cattle

Cattle: Ruminant animals under the Bovidae family. They are also called bovine animals. The scientific name is Bos indicus (indigenous cattle of India) or Bos taurus exotic cattle.

Bull: Adult male cattle that are capable of breeding is called a bull.

Cow: Adult female cattle that can reproduce and that has had a calf is called a cow.

Calf: Newborn and very young cattle of either sex (male or female) which is too young to reproduce is known as a calf.

Heifer: Young female cattle that have not had a calf is known as a heifer. (usually, less than 18 to 24 months of age).

Bullock/Steer: Castrated male cattle that cannot reproduce are known as Bullock. (usually, used in agricultural operations).

Calving: The act of parturition (giving birth) in cattle is known as calving.

Down calver/Springer: A female animal ready to give birth is known as a down calver/springer. The term is specially used in the case of cattle at their advanced stages of pregnancy.

Herd: A group of cattle is called a herd.

Beef: The meat of cattle is known as beef.

Veal: The meat of the calf is known as veal.

Common Terms Related to Buffalo

Buffalo: Ruminant animals under Bovidae family. They are also called bovine animals. The scientific name is Bos bubalis or Bubalus bubalis.

Buffalo bull: Adult male buffalo which is capable of breeding is known as a buffalo bull.

Buffalo cow: Adult female buffalo that can reproduce and that has had a calf is known as a Buffalo cow.

Buffalo calf: Newborn and very young buffalo of either sex (male or female) which is too young to reproduce is known as a calf.

Buffalo heifer: Young female buffalo who have not had a calf is known as a heifer. (usually less than 18-24 months).

Buffalo bullock: Castrated male buffalo that cannot reproduce is known as Bullock. (usually, used in agricultural operations).

Calving: The act of parturition (giving birth) in buffalo.

Herd: A group of buffalo is called a herd.

Carabeef: Meat from buffalo is known as carabeef. It is also called buffen.

Common Terms Related to Goats

Buck/Billy: Adult male goat which is capable of breeding is known as buck/billy.

Doe/Nanny: Adult female goat which is capable of breeding is known as doe/nanny.

Kid: Newborn and very young goat of either sex is known as a kid.

Kidding: The act of parturition in goats is known as kidding.

Flock: A group of goats is called a flock.

Chevon: Meat from goats is known as chevon.

Common Terms Related to Sheep

Ram/Tup: Adult male sheep, capable of breeding.

Ewe: Adult female sheep is known as a ewe.

Lamb: Newborn sheep and very young sheep; also the meat from a young sheep is known as a lamb.

Wether/Wedder: Castrated male sheep.

Gimmer: Female sheep between first and second shearing is known as grimmer.

Lambing: The act of parturition in sheep is called lambing.

Fleece: Wool covering of sheep.

Mutton: Meat from a sheep is called mutton.

Common Terms Related to Swine/Pig

Boar: Adult male pig, Which is capable of breeding.

Sow: Adult female pig that has had litter is called a sow.

Piglet/Pigting: Newborn and very young pig of either sex.

Gilt: A young female pig that has not had a litter is called gilt.

Barrow/Stag/Hog: Castrated male pig.

Farrowing: Act of parturition (giving birth) in a pig.

Pork: The meat of a pig is called Pig.

Common Terms Related to Chicken/Fowl

Chicken: It is the major species of poultry bird, also known as fowl. Its scientific name is Gallus domesticus. In India, the term poultry is used as synonymous with chicken, as chicken accounts for more than 90% of the poultry population. The Indian poultry industry is chicken-oriented.

Cock: Adult male chicken, capable of breeding: it is also called a rooster.

Hen: Adult female chicken.

Chick: Newborn and very young chicken of either sex.

Pullet: Young female chicken less than a year old.

Cockerel: Young male chicken less than a year old.

Capon: Castrated male chicken.

Laying: The act of giving eggs by a chicken is known as Laying. It is also called oviposition.

Broiler: Meat type birds; young chicken of either sex that has tender meat usual age of 6 weeks [weight: 1.5 kg-2.0 kg]. It is also called a fryer.

Layer: Egg-type birds; female chicken from 18-20 weeks of age and usually up to 72-80 weeks for commercial egg production.

Flock: A group of chickens.

Straight-run chicks: Unsexed chicks including male and female.

Cull bird: A bird rejected from the flock due to inferiority or unproductiveness during rearing or at the end of the laying cycle in a layer farm.

Hatchability: The percentage of eggs that hatch from the total eggs set.

Hatchability: The percentage of eggs that hatch from the total eggs set.

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