Cows are well adapted for grazing (feeding on grass), with a wide mouth and specialized teeth for eating tough vegetation.
Some breeds are genetically polled (hornless), and many other cows may be dehorned (that is, have their horn buds destroyed) at young age to make them easier to transport and safer to work around.
Cows are renowned for their large milk-producing (mammary) glands known as udders, which possess four teats (nipples).
English lacks a gender-neutral singular form, and so “cow” is used for both female individuals and all domestic bovines. The order contains even-toed hoofed mammals, and cows have distinctive cloven hooves (derived from the toenails from the middle two digits of each foot).
Cows belong to the family Bovidae (hollow-horned ruminants, which also includes antelope, sheep, and goats), subfamily Bovinae (which includes buffaloes and spiral-horned antelope), tribe Bovini (which includes cattle, bison, and yak), and genus The size and weight of a cow is highly dependent on the breed.
In addition to muscle meat, a variety of organs from cows—including liver, kidney, heart, brains, and various glands—are also consumed by people.
Beef cows are typically farmed in less intensive systems than dairy cows, since they are not handled daily for milking.
Global stocks of cows were estimated at nearly one billion animals in 2016, with India, Brazil, and China having the largest populations (together maintaining approximately one-third of all cows).), a wild species of cattle that once ranged across Eurasia.
The wild aurochs became extinct in the early 1600s, the result of overhunting and loss of habitat due to the spread of agriculture (and domestic herds).
A typical western dairy cow is usually milked twice per day and produces on average 30 litres (8 gallons) of milk daily; however, the actual amount produced depends upon the age and breed of the cow.
Most modern milking is not done by hand but by machines.