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Cattle



Cattle
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.16

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    genealogy, auroch, aurochs, best, even-toed, heifer, un-branched, domestic, gazelle, regurgitate, mild-tempered, offspring, steers, span, social, commonly
     content words:    Industrial Revolution


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Cattle   

1     Cattle have been domesticated for thousands of years. Before the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, cattle were used to pull carts or to plow fields by farmers all over the world. Nowadays, farmers prefer using machines. It is a rare scene to see farmers using cattle as farm helpers. Although cattle's role in farming has diminished since the invention of machines, they are still found on farms. On today's farms, cattle are mainly raised for their meat, hides (leather), and milk.
 
2     Cattle belong to the family Bovidae. Like other family members (such as the impala, gazelle, bison, yak, musk ox, and goat), cattle have three distinctive features. The first is their even-toed, cloven (divided) hoofed feet. The second is their pointy, hollow, and un-branched horns, usually present in both sexes. And, the third is their 4-chambered stomachs. Animals with several compartments in their stomachs are called ruminants. When ruminants eat grasses or other vegetation, they partially chew their food and store it in their stomachs. Later on, they regurgitate or throw up the food as a cud and chew it again.
 
3     Cattle are social animals. They live in large groups, called herds. A herd may consist of just a single or several cattle families. A dominant male (bull) guards a group of females (cows) and their young (calves) protectively. If he feels threatened by the presence of a hungry predator (such as a wolf) or a challenging bull, he will not hesitate to use his best weapon -- his horns -- to fight. Unlike deer, cattle and their Bovidae relatives never shed their horns. On the contrary, their horns continue to grow throughout their lives. Asian water buffaloes, for example, have the widest horn span of any member in the Bovidae family. Weighing over 2,000 pounds, an Asian water buffalo can easily intimidate its peers or its enemies with its horns that stretch more than 6 1/2 feet!

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