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How to Determine the Age of Cattle

Miniature-Cattle.com Links aging cattle by their teeth

Judging Age of Cattle by their TeethCattle do not have incisor teeth in the top of their mouth. They have a thick tough pad for grazing. Cattle have molars on the upper and lower jaws, but have incisors on the lower jaw only. The incisors are used to estimate a cow's age. Click on poster to the right to open full size. Also see: How to Estimate Cattle Age by Their Teeth for a series of clear photographs that illustrate the changes in teeth that indicate age progression in cattle ~ The Cowboy Way.

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 (left) for this guide were prepared by R.F. Johnson and
published in The Stockman's Handbook by Ensminger 2nd Edition pg 539

 

SOURCES:

illustration chart above thanks to MiniatureCattleCorral.com


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