Heifer vs Cow
It is a widely known fact that cow is the female cattle or the referred term for the female of many other animals including elephants and whales. However, only a very small portion of the people would have heard about heifer. In addition, some people do have the understanding that heifer is the female cattle, but they would not know how a heifer differs from a cow. Therefore, it would be interesting to explore the difference between cow and heifer after understanding their characteristics.
Heifer is the female cow who has passed the calf stage but has not reached the cow stage. Usually, the calf stage ends when the age reaches 10 months from birth. A female will be called a cow when she becomes a mother after reaching the reproductive viability. The heifer is the middle stage of the calf and cow. Usually, a heifer is 10 – 24 months old, and she is more immature than not at this stage. However, these time durations could vary depending on the hormonal activity of each heifer. During the heifer stage, they become reproductively active as they undergo hormonal changes with the development of other body systems. The activities of oestrogen and progesterone make them ready to receive a sexual partner to mate, and the oestrous cycles start to tick. After a heifer has been sexually matured, the mating takes place, and she becomes pregnant; she is called a Bred Heifer at this stage. The bred heifer becomes a First-calf Heifer or First-calver as she becomes a mommy, and this happens around 24 – 36 months from birth. Some female cattle do not become reproductively active, and they are called heiferettes. Heifer stage is a very important stage of the life cycle of a female cattle, as that when they get reproductively active and getting ready to serve as milk cows later to nourish the world.
The term cow commonly refers to the reproductive female cattle. Cows are fertile and are called for the females who have delivered at least one calf. Usually, they are smaller in size and show less aggression compared to others of the population. Cows do not have prominent horns, but sometimes they may have small and blunt horns. The presence of prominent hump and dewlaps is not usually seen in cows. Out of all those female-specific features of cows, the most important feature to identify them is their female reproductive system, which consists of two ovaries and uterus that open to the external by the vulva. That means, observation of vulvae just below the anus confirms that it is a cow. In addition, their urination behaviour would be important to notice as cows urinate to back and out of their bodies. When a cow comes to the heat, mucus secretion could be observed from vulva, and it is a significant feature to detect the heat. Usually, one female delivers one calf a year, and lactation occurs until the calf is ready to be weaned. As their milk is nutritious for humans, lactating cows have an elevated value for them.
What is the difference between Heifer and Cow?
• Heifers are younger than cows.
• Cow is stronger and heavier than heifer is.
• A heifer can become a mother only once as they will be called cows after the first calf; in contrast, cows get pregnant and deliver calves many times.
• The reproductive organs are always active in cows while heifer has them active only for a little time.