Do Male Cows Produce Milk: Interesting Insights And Facts


Cows are the largest producer of milk globally. Let’s learn more about male cows. 

Male cows do not produce milk since they do not carry or give birth to calves and do not have mammary glands or udders. These male cows, formally known as cattle, are therefore largely used for deriving beef. 

Let us explore some commonly asked questions about male cows. 

Image Credits: “Black Angus bull” by brittgow is licensed under CC BY 2.0

What are male dairy calves known as?

The concept of male dairy calves may seem strange to some, but they do exist. Let’s learn more about them. 

Male dairy calves who can reproduce are known as a bull. They are needed in dairies for breeding purposes but are otherwise removed. Male cows that are castrated are known as steers and are primarily used for deriving beef. Newborn male calves are often sent to the slaughterhouse since there’s no use on the farm.

Dairy animals are assigned different terms depending on their function within the dairy setting. 

What happens to male dairy calves?

Male dairy calves are practically of no use in the dairy industry. Let’s learn more about what happens to them. 

Some male dairy calves are reared for beef or veal. Those that are not suitable for either are sent to the slaughterhouse, where they are shot soon after they are born. The dairy industry also keeps a few male calves who are later utilized for breeding purposes. However, the majority of them are disposed of.

The cruel fate that male dairy calves meet has been the subject of much debate, and many animal lovers are firmly against such treatment. However, nothing concrete has been done in this regard. 

What is a bobby calf?

Bobby calf is a frequently used term in the dairy industry. Let’s find out what bobby calves are. 

A bobby calf is a newborn calf that is more than four days old but less than a month old and is separated from its mother and sent to the slaughterhouse. They have no practical use in the dairy farm and are therefore slaughtered for consumption. Some of them are sold to be raised and then slaughtered for beef or veal.

As per Peta, around 700,000 bobby calves are killed each year, and they receive minimal care or nutrition. Their living conditions remain abysmal throughout their brief lifespan. 

What is a steer?

You might have often heard about steers in the dairy industry. Allow us to tell you more about what it is. 

A steer is a male cow that has been castrated when young and continues to develop the characteristics of a bull. These neutered cattle are not slaughtered but kept and raised for beef production. Although steers cannot reproduce, they are used for deriving meat and are therefore quite valuable.

Steers are pretty expensive and are known to produce high-quality meat, which further adds to their prestige. 

Do male dairy cows produce milk?

Cows are mammals that share numerous traits with other mammals. Let’s find out if male dairy cows can produce milk.

Male dairy cows do not produce milk. As with all mammals, it is the female cow that can reproduce or provide milk. Male cows are not born with udders and do not give birth to calves. Therefore, they do not go through a lactation period. Even female calves who are not of breeding age cannot produce milk.

As such, male cows are a surplus on the dairy farm and are sent to the slaughterhouse. 

Do male jersey cows produce milk?

Image Credits:“Jersey Bull” by muffinn is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Jersey cattle are a British breed of dairy cattle. Let’s explore whether male jersey cows produce milk.

Male Jersey cows cannot produce milk since they are not born with udders. The cow’s udders act as their mammary gland, and without it, they cannot provide food to their newborns. Therefore, like all other bulls, male jersey cows are not reared for deriving milk but serve as draught cows in some regions

All said and done, only female cows are capable of producing milk, and female jersey cows have a high fertility rate. 

Why don’t we consume dairy cows?

 A common belief is that dairy cows aren’t consumed because they do not have the same taste or quality. Let’s explore more in this regard. 

Dairy cows are only sent to the slaughterhouse once they cannot produce more calves and stop lactating. As such, they are pretty old when they are slaughtered for beef. The meat derived from dairy cows is therefore not of the highest quality and is minced to be used in hamburgers and so on. 

Bulls, young calves, and steer are popular choices for sumptuous meals like steaks and prime cuts, whereas dairy cows are used for other recipes. 

How long do male cows live?

The sad truth about male cows is their lifespan is considerably shorter when compared to their female counterparts. Let’s explore more about this. 

On average, most male cows are not permitted to live beyond the age of five. Some of them, like male jersey cows, are used as working animals, but a majority of them are sent to the slaughterhouse where they are killed to derive meat. If allowed to live, cows can grow as old as 20 years. 

It is believed that a young cow’s meat is more tender and sumptuous, and therefore most male cows are not allowed to live very long unless it is for breeding purposes. 

How to identify a male cow?

Male and female cows might look alike at first glance, but they have some key differences. Let’s check out what they are. 

Male cows do not have udders like female ones. In addition, you can search for other primary and secondary sex characteristics. A common myth is that all female cows are spotted. However, that’s not the truth, as some bulls are also spotted. 

It is not possible to differentiate between the two genders by looking at their coat coloring. Therefore, it is best to look for physical characteristics. 

What happens to male Friesian calves?

Friesian calves are quite prestigious and largely used in the dairy industry for milk production. Let’s explore what happens to male Friesian calves.

Male Friesian calves become surplus on the dairy farm as they cannot produce milk. The females are highly esteemed as they produce the largest quantity of milk among all cow breeds. However, the male Friesians are sent to the slaughterhouse where they are reared for beef or veal.

Conclusion 

Male cows are deemed useless in dairy industries and while some of them are reared for breeding purposes, the majority of them are killed for meat. 

There have been a lot of protests regarding the cruel fate of male cows, and some measures have been taken to make the process more humane. All in all, both male and female cows are smart animals who form an important part of the ecological system and must be protected. 

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