Calf

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Calves (pronounced /ˈkɑːvz/ or /ˈkævz/, singular calf /ˈkɑːf/ or /ˈkæf/) are the young of domestic cattle. Calves are reared to become adult cattle, or are slaughtered for their meat, called veal.

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Terminology

"Calf" is the term used from birth to weaning, when it becomes known as a weaner or weaner calf, though in some areas the term "calf" may be used until the animal is a yearling. The birth of a calf is known as calving. A calf that has lost its mother is an orphan calf, also known as a poddy or poddy-calf in UK English. Bobby calves are young calves which are to be slaughtered for human consumption.[1] A vealer is a fat calf weighing less than about 330 kg (730 lb) which is at about eight to nine months of age.[2] A young female calf from birth until she has had a calf of her own is called a heifer[3] (pronounced /ˈhɛfər/ "heffer"). In the American Old West, a motherless or small, runty calf was sometimes referred to as a dogie, (pronounced with a long "o")[4] though in the classic traditional folk song, Dogie's Lament, also known as Git along little dogie, the "dogies" in question referenced cattle strong enough to be herded from Texas to Wyoming, including weaners, yearling steers and other young, not-necessarily-orphaned animals.[5]

Early development

Calves may be produced by natural means, or by artificial breeding using artificial insemination or embryo transfer.[6]

Calves are born after a gestation of nine months. They usually stand within a few minutes of calving, and suckle within an hour. However, for the first few days they are not easily able to keep up with the rest of the herd, so young calves are often left hidden by their mothers, who visit them several times a day to suckle them. By a week old the calf is able to follow the mother all the time.

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