Along with Brazil, the USA is the largest beef-producing country in the world, which means that there are millions of cattle located throughout the country, with Texas having more than any other state. Although fairly docile animals, cows are quite complex and have a number of body parts that help to make up this fascinating farm animal.
Cows have eyes on the side of their heads, a trait which allows them to see better than if they were located on the front of the head. Their ears can move independently of each other, meaning they can pick up sound from more than one direction at a time. Although only having a small brain, cows have the ability to distinguish whether something is dangerous to them or not, as well as being able to remember and retain this information.
The most well known and distinguishing part of a cow is its udders. An udder is separated into four sections and consist of various blood vessels, ligaments and capillaries which all work together to produce milk which feeds young calves. This milk is also a valuable source of calcium for humans and is used to make cheese and other dairy-based food stuffs throughout the world.
Although cows mainly eat grass, they have a complex stomach system. They have one stomach, but it is divided into four sections -- the reticulum, rumen, omasum and the abomasum – all of which help cows to digest their food. The reticulum has the job of pushing swallowed food that has not been properly fermented back up to the mouth for it to be chewed some more. The omasum and rumen sections help to break the food up and absorb goodness from it before the abomasum breaks down the protein.
The reproductive tract of a cow is composed of the vulva, vestibule, vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries. All cows are female (males are known as bulls) and have Y-shaped uteruses which allows them to conceive more than one calf at a time.