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Domesticated bovids that are raised for meat, milk, or hides or for draft purposes. Depending on the breed, mature bulls (fertile males) weigh 1,000–4,000 lbs (450–1,800 kg); cows (fertile females) weigh 800–2,400 lbs (360–1,080 kg). All modern cattle are believed to belong to either of two species (Bos indicus or B. taurus) or to be crosses of the two. About 277 identifiable breeds include those prominent in beef production (e.g., Angus, Hereford, and shorthorn) and dairy farming. Cattle feed primarily by grazing on pasture, but in modern farming their diet is ordinarily supplemented with prepared animal feeds. See alsoaurochs, Brahman, ox.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on cattle, visit Britannica.com.