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Aging Cattle by their Teeth

Cattle have molars on the upper and lower jaws, but have incisors on the lower jaw only--cattle do not have incisor teeth in the top of their mouth. They have a thick tough pad for grazing. The incisors of the lower jaw can be used to estimate a cow's age.

judging cattle by their teeth poster
Click on the graphic above to open an 8" x 20" (vintage) downloadable poster.


Texas A&M illustration

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first month

Usually two or more of the temporary incisor teeth are present in the newborn calf. During their first month, the entire 8 temporary incisors appear.

2 years

As a long-yearling, the central pair of temporary incisor teeth or pinchers is replaced by the permanent pinchers. At 2 years, the central permanent incisors attain full development.

2 years

Permanent first intermediates, one on each side of the pinchers, are cut.  Usually these are fully developed at 3 years.

3 years

The second intermediates or laterals are cut. They are on a level with the first intermediates and begin to wear at 4 years.

4 years

The corner teeth are replaced. At 5 years the animal usually has the full complement of incisors with the corners fully developed.

5-6 years

The permanent pinchers are leveled, both pairs of intermediates are partially leveled, and the corner incisors show wear.

7-10 years

At 7 or 8 years the pinchers show noticeable wear; at 8 or 9 years the middle pairs show noticeable wear; and at 10 years, the corner teeth show noticeable wear.

12 years After the animal passes the 6th year, the arch gradually loses its rounded contour until it becomes nearly straight by the 12th year. In the meantime, the teeth gradually become triangular in shape, distinctly separated, and show progressive wearing to stubs. These continues with increasing age.

Illustration for this guide was prepared by R.F. Johnson and
published in The Stockman's Handbook by Ensminger 2nd Edition pg 539


USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; Cattle Identification
one illustration chart above thanks to MiniatureCattleCorral.com
How to Estimate Cattle Age by Their Teeth
~ The Cowboy Way

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author: Donna Grace Miniature.Cattle.Directory@gmail.com
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