Glossary of Terms

Vaccine for the immunisation of cattle and sheep for the prevention of pulpy kidney disease, tetanus, black disease, malignant oedema and blackleg, collectively sometimes referred to as the Clostridial diseases.
Vaccine for the immunisation of cattle as in 5-in-1 above, plus Leptospirosis caused by L. hardjo and L. pomona.
A "traditional" breed of cattle, originally from Scotland, the cattle were initially small, squat, muscly and very hardy.  These days they are much larger but in many herds still have a shortish squat appearance, but due to the influence of bulls and semen from America, there are many herds which have approached the size of some of the taller "exotic" breeds.
The Animal Health Board, a statutory body which manages the Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) control programme, known as TBfree New Zealand.  Its role is to eradicate TB from farmed cattle, deer herds and wildlife.
usual name used for the three islands of New Zealand in te reo Māori (language of Māori).  Rough translation is "long white cloud".
male cattle animal.
Bovine Viral Diarrhoea, an illness which can be caught by healthy animals and make them unwell for a short time, but if caught during some stages of pregnancy, can lead to abortion, still birth or deformity, or the birth of a Persistently Infected calf.  Such an animal is always infectious and usually dies within the first two years of life, but not always.  A vaccine is available and is generally recommended for breeding bulls, so that they do not spread infection around, should they contract it for the first time during a breeding season.  An animal which has never come in contact with the infection is referred to as naive, and that status can be used to refer to a whole herd, like ours.
Further information can be found here.
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Scours caused by a protozoan parasite, in some cases progressing to "bloody scours".  Our calves contract Coccidiosis every year and often it runs its course with no great effect on most of them.  More detail here.
first milk of any mammal.  Colostrum is the "starter pack" for a baby ruminant, containing maternal antibodies, without which the baby may be susceptible to environmental diseases, to which it may be exposed as soon as it is born.  Calves and lambs need to drink colostrum within the first 24 hours of life, during which time the gut allows the antibodies to pass directly into the baby's bloodstream.
when referring to cattle or their breeders, implies that the animals are raised for the beef market, as opposed to being stud animals sold specifically for breeding.
female cattle animal after she has reared her first calf.
remove from the herd, either to sale or to meat works for slaughter.
nothing to do with cows on bicycles!  Cows and sheep are spoken of as cycling when they are in oestrus, i.e. on heat.
Treatment for parasites.  Can be in any of three forms: injectable, oral or pour-on (simply dribbled onto the back of the animal and enters the body via the skin).
Ear tags
Two-piece plastic tags which are applied to the ear of a sheep or cattle beast.  The New Zealand Animal Health Board (AHB) now requires all cattle to be individually numbered and tagged for the purpose of tracing animals with TB (bovine tuberculosis) back to their herd of origin.  On our farm each animal gets a "primary" numbered tag in its first few weeks of life, then if it is to be on-sold to another farm it has a "secondary" tag applied to the other ear.  The secondary tag has our official herd number on it and is just a "button", front and back, rather like a human ear stud.
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Enzootic Bovine Leucosis, a viral infection of cattle, causing cancer in some.  It is not curable, so affected animals, even if showing no illness, must be culled to prevent the disease spreading within a herd.  It can be spread from cow to calf before and after birth and between other cattle by direct contact.
Estimated Breeding Value (EBV)
prediction of an animal's genetic merit, based on recorded performance data from the individual and its relatives.
Exotic breeds
Including Simmental, Saler, Maine Anjou, Limousin, as opposed to the "traditional" (British) breeds: Angus, Hereford, Shorthorn, etc.
young female cattle animal, until she has raised her first calf.
Herd Sire
the bull kept on the farm to run with the cows (make them in calf).
Cows/heifers are "injected" through the cervix with the semen of usually superior bulls by a trained Artificial Breeding Technician.  The semen is taken from the bull (by alarming means), stored in small "straws" (like small, narrow drinking straws, closed off at each end) and then frozen down to the temperature of liquid nitrogen (-196°C), in which they can then be stored for a very long time with little deterioration.  The AB Technician thaws the straw when the cow is ready for insemination.
(usually just called Lepto) is a nasty thing for people to catch, and can also cause abortion in pregnant cows.  The hills and bush surrounding the farm are home to many wild pigs which can also carry Lepto, so there is presumably a reasonable risk of our cows being exposed to it.  We began vaccinating the cattle some years ago.  People can contract Lepto from infected cows' urine, when working closely with the animals.  There is no human vaccine, so cattle are routinely vaccinated for the protection of farmers, vets and those who process the meat.
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Liver Fluke
Fasciola hepatica: a parasite which affects a wide range of species, including cattle, sheep, humans, horses, rabbits, pigs, goats and deer.  The adult flukes live in the bile ducts of the liver, producing eggs which are expelled by the animal in its faeces.  The eggs hatch when dropped in wet areas and then enter into a particular type of snail, where they go through another multiplying process, before leaving the snail and climbing onto vegetation where they form a resilliant cyst, which is the infective stage of the process.  Animals (or humans fond of watercress) eat the vegetation, the immature flukes are released in the small intestine and then spend around six weeks chomping through the liver before entering the bile ducts for the adult phase of their lives.  The immature flukes cause widespread damage to the liver and when adults, ingest the animal's blood cells causing anaemia.  Adult flukes will apparently live for many years.
External signs of Liver Fluke infection include "bottle jaw" (a distinct swelling under the jaw), weight loss, depression and weakness.  Undiagnosed or untreated animals will often die.
On heat/in season/in oestrus/standing
The short period of time when a cow/heifer is sexually receptive and able to conceive a calf.  When the animal is in this phase, she will try to "ride" others in her herd and she will stand for others to ride her i.e. they'll mount her and she is said to be in standing heat, or simply standing.  That is how a farmer can tell that it is the right time to inseminate an animal or that she will be served by the bull.  The period between these fertile times is usually 18-24 days.  Thus if a cow is served by a bull or inseminated, a farmer can often tell if that animal is pregnant within the next few weeks.
Neospora caninum is a protozoan parasite whose definitive host (where its sexual reproduction occurs) is the dog, and the cow is an intermediate host.  Dogs are infected by being allowed access to infected cattle afterbirth and aborted calf remains, or being fed raw infected beef.  The problem is spread by infected dogs defecating on areas where cattle graze.
For the adult cow Neospora does not cause any obvious problem, but if she's pregnant at the time of infection she may abort; or her calf may die and be mummified and might be later expelled
or may remain in her uterus preventing future fertility; or her calf may survive and be born infected, in some cases with neurological effects, but if apparently healthy, will likely have depressed growth rates. The infected cow's milk production may also be negatively affected.
Once infected an animal remains so for life, although the Neospora will usually be kept in a dormant state by the animal's immune system.  Changes in the cow's immunity necessary to the success of a normal pregnancy enable the infection to become active again, thus threatening each pregnancy, with the highest risk period during the second trimester.  It is suggested that the cow's immune system becomes better at dealing with Neospora over time, so the risk of abortion may gradually reduce from year to year.
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Māori name for the first "other" people who arrived in this land.  Pākehā generally refers to a person of European descent.  (Te reo pākehā is the English language.)
Without horns.  Angus are a naturally polled animal and that characteristic is dominant over that of being horned, so an Angus bull over anything else, should result in a polled animal.  Scurs are inherited differently and some may look like horns.
Senecio jacobaea, a noxious, pretty yellow-flowering, weed.  Ragwort grows from small, soft seedlings, into a strong "crown", usually around 30cm or larger across, then grows vertically and flowers madly, with small, bright, daisy-like flowers. It then seeds profusely and those seeds float merrily off, far and wide.
The plant, if eaten by the stock, causes cumulative liver damage.  The cows will tend not to eat it, unless there's so much of it they can't avoid it.
It can be controlled by chemical herbicide or by pulling the plants out of the ground before they have a chance to seed.  If nothing is done, ragwort will eventually take over!
Rising one year
an age indication used for cattle, meaning between weaning (around 6-8 months) and one year old.
Rising two year
older than a yearling, and up to two years old.  And so on.  Usually written R1, R2, R3 ...   Used reasonably loosely, so an animal might be referred to as a two-year-old until it is, say, 26 months old, but then might be more fairly said to be R3, rising three.
Sheep breed, dual purpose wool and meat.
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Animals whose food digestion process begins in the rumen, a first-stomach from where course plant material is regurgitated for further mastication (chewing) and reswallowed.  Populations of micro-organisms live in the rumen and it is those which break down the plant material and the whole lot, micro-organisms and the partially processed grass, which passes on to the next part of the animal's digestive system.
Diarrhoea in calves or lambs (and occasionally, older animals).  Causes can include overfeeding, viral, bacterial and protozoan infections.  Often the animals will get better on their own, but some need treatment to avoid serious illness and death.
Hard growths of the skin tissue (as opposed to skeletal growths) where horns would be.  Scurs are distinguishable, at least in their early phase, by being loose on the head if you wobble them.  Many scurs remain small, loose and button-like, but some will grow to several inches in length and be visually indistinguishable from horns, especially as larger scurs may eventually attach to the skull.  Purebred Angus cattle will not* carry the scur gene which is in a separate location from that for horns.  A female animal requires two copies of the gene to be scurred and a male only one, so an Angus-sired male calf from a cross-bred cow may be scurred, but an Angus-sired female calf should never be.
*I have concluded that this is less fact and more a belief of Angus breeders, since at least two of my bulls must have carried the scur allele/s.
Clip the wool from sheep, usually twice a year.
A hen will "sit" or become "clucky" or "broody" when she has laid a clutch of eggs in her nest and is ready to incubate them.  The embryo in a fertile egg will only begin to develop when the egg is incubated constantly, so in the days before the hen begins sitting, when she is just laying each new egg, the temperature of the other eggs in her nest does not rise sufficiently nor for long enough, for that process to begin.  A chicken egg requires continuous incubation for 21 days, before the chick will hatch.  Ducklings take 28 days, Pukeko and Guinea Fowl around 25 days.  Some chicken breeds are more likely to "go clucky" than others, e.g. bantams are excellent sitters and will raise almost any other breed of bird if the hen has hatched the eggs.
male cattle animal which has had its testicles removed.
Pedigree breeding operation .e.g. "Stud farm" or just "stud" refers to the herd or farm on which the animal was born.
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Stud Cow/bull/heifer
registered pedigree animal. Angus cattle are registered through the Angus New Zealand.  A registered animal is bred from two animals which both appear in the register, the NZ Angus Herd Book.
Stud farm
A stud farm breeds registered pedigree cattle.
Utility vehicle, NZ term for small "pick-up" truck, traditionally a two-seater cab with a wooden or metal deck on the back.
Archaic. a strong, brave, or warlike woman; amazon.  (Collins English Dictionary.)
I decided on this name for the Stud because of its feminist connections.  Beef breeding is a very male dominated industry and I wanted a name indicative of the fact that that is not the case here.
Calf at the stage of being weaned from its mother, usually at around six months old.
Weighing Cattle
The animals are taken to the stock yards at the front of the farm, usually drafted (sorted into different pens) by size, to stop the big ones squashing the little ones and then one by one, they walk up the narrow race in which is placed a set of scales.  The scales comprise two "load bars" under each end of a long metal platform on which the animals stand.  The weight appears on a digital monitor from which we read and record the weight of each animal.  A set of scales is pretty expensive, but we considered the investment worthwhile, allowing us to choose and keep the best animals in terms of good growth and production.
Castrated male sheep.
Withholding Period
The period of time during which an animal or its product (e.g. meat or milk) may not be used for human consumption, after the animal has received a treatment like a drench or antibiotic.
Abattoir, slaughterhouse, "Freezing Works".
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