DAIRY FARMING TERMS - DEFINITIONS: What is a ...?
- Afterbirth - the placental membranes expelled shortly after the calf is born.
- Ayrshire - one of the six breeds of dairy cows.
- Artificial Insemination - Sperm from the male is physically placed in the female's uterus. Modern techniques for artificial insemination in humans were first developed for the dairy cattle industry.
- Bull - male dairy cattle, also called a sire.
- Brown Swiss - one of the six breeds of dairy cows
- Calf - a baby cow.
- Calving - the birth of a calf
- Colostrum - a creamy or pink milk that is high in carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and antibodies, but low in fat. Cows produce it in late pregnancy and in the first few days after giving birth. It acts as a mild laxative, and also helps with immunity and physical strength. Without colostrum, most newborn calves die.
- Cow - female dairy cattle, also called a dam.
- Cud - the part of food that returns from a ruminant's stomach to be chewed again.
- Dry Cow - A cow in the two months before she gives birth, when she takes a rest from milking.
- Dystocia - When a cow is unable to deliver a calf by herself (e.g., because of the position of the baby, a baby that is too large, etc.)
- Ear tags - used to identify calves, often displaying the calf's herd number, the sire, or the birth month. Sometimes tattoos or brands are used.
- Estrus - heat periods.
- Freemartin - a sterile heifer, born as a twin with a bull calf. The twin brother's hormones affect the development of the reproductive tract.
- Freshening - when a dairy cow gives birth.
- Guernsey - one of the six breeds of dairy cows.
- Heat - when a female is ready to breed (estrus). Most heifers come into heat every 21 days (range 18-24.)
- Heifer - a female cow.
- Holstein - one of the most productive breeds of dairy cows. These black and white cows originally came from the Netherlands.
- Immunoglobulins - maternal antibodies to disease found in colostrum.
- Jersey - one of the six breeds of dairy cows.
- Milking Parlor - a special room attached to a barn, where cows are milked.
- Milking Shorthorn - one of the six breeds of dairy cows.
- Parturition - the act of giving birth
- Pasteurization - a process that uses heat to destroy harmful bacteria without significantly changing milk's nutritional value or flavor. In addition to killing disease-causing bacteria, pasteurization destroys bacteria that cause spoilage, extending the shelf life of milk.
- Puberty - sexual maturity
- Silage - used to feed cows during the winter.
- Sire - the calf's father
- Stanchion - an upright bar or post, or metal stalls used in dairy barns to keep the cows still while they are being milked.
- Standing heat - when a female stands still allows other animals to mount her. It usually lasts an average of 18 hours.
- Udder - the large "milk bag" that hangs between the cows rear legs.
- Waterbag - Fetal membranes that enter the vagina, pass on to the vulva, and then rupture before the calf is born.