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Uploaded:2017-06-29
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Did you know that there were over 200 types of cows? Join Jessi and Squeaks as they discuss some cool facts about these amazing animals.

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SOURCES:https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/domestication/
http://www.jyi.org/issue/our-furry-friends-the-history-of-animal-domestication/
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/March2012/120327-cattle-traced-back-80-animals
http://www.cambridgeblog.org/2016/02/cattle-domestication-from-aurochs-to-cow/
http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle/
Can you guess what animal I’m thinking of?

It’s big, with black and white spots, and it sounds like “Moooooooo!” [Squeaks thinks it’s a cow] You got it, it’s a cow! It’s actually only the girl animals that are called cows.

The boys are called bulls or steers, and baby cows are called calves. When you put them all together, they’re called cattle. Cattle are some of my favorite farm animals, and they’re pretty awesome!

The animals themselves are amazing, and there’s a whole story behind how we humans started having them on our farms. Cattle come in all shapes and sizes. It’s like how there are lots of different kinds, or breeds, of dogs.

There are big ones, small ones, extra fluffy ones, ones with certain colors or patterns... Cattle are like that too! The black and white spotted kind are a breed called the Holstein.

But there are also cattle that are brown, like Jersey cattle, or red, like this Devon bull. cattle are also reddish, and they have big humps on their backs, kind of like camels! Other kinds of cattle have huge horns, and some are really fluffy!f The furry cattle are my favorite kinds. There are well over 200 kinds of cattle, and they’re all unique! [Squeaks squeaks] I agree, Squeaks!

Some cattle can be pretty cute! But even though they’re cute, cattle aren’t really pets. They’re farm animals, which means that a lot of the time, people keep them so that the cattle will make them food.

People have been living with and taking care of cattle like this for a very long time. You see, long ago, people lived near a relative of today’s cattle — an animal called an aurochs. People knew that aurochs could make milk that was good to drink, and meat that was good to eat, but the young aurochs could get attacked by predators — that is, other animals that wanted to eat them, like wolves.

In order to get food from the aurochs, people would watch out for them, and keep any predators away from them. Soon, people began working so closely with the aurochs that these ancient cattle felt pretty safe with the humans. The aurochs would let people take their milk, and people would have something to eat and drink when they couldn’t find food growing around them.

The aurochs began to rely on humans for safety, so they slowly became what we call domesticated, meaning that these cattle lived with humans and weren’t very afraid of them. People had already domesticated some other animals, like dogs and cats, but cattle and other farm animals are a bit different. People take care of farm animals in return for what they give us for food.

From cattle, we can get things like milk, butter, cheese, and enjoy a hamburger That allows people to have food all year round, even when the crops they plant aren’t growing food. It also allows the cattle to be a little safer out in the open. It’s a trade!

Cattle are still very important to many farms. People all over the world want to drink cow’s milk, eat cheese and ice cream, and eat beef. Farmers raise their cattle in all kinds of ways.

Some farmers keep huge herds, and others only have a few cows. But even the smallest farm uses science to help take care of their cattle! Farmers can keep track of what makes their cows healthy and strong.

They can measure out just the right amounts of different foods to help their cows grow really big. Farmers can even use medicine to keep their cows healthy. [Squeaks chimes in] Exactly! Those are all ways that farmers have to think like scientists sometimes.

Farmers also have to keep track of other animals that cattle can live with on a farm. Cattle can live with goats, sheep, horses, and lots of other animals that like to group up together in a big herd. These animals all have to get along and feel safe with each other.

They’ll usually stay in their herd together as they all try to find plants to eat and watch for predators. The farmers taking care of them need to keep track of all of their animals’ needs, from the biggest to the smallest. Each animal provides something for humans, and in return we take care of them What’s your favorite farm animal?

Have you ever visited a farm or milked a cow? Have a grown-up help you leave a comment, or send us an email at kids@scishow.com Thanks and we’ll see you next time here at the fort!