would someone please define a 'head of cattle'....

Perth,, ON(Zone 5a)

In a situation of renting pasture for cattle (cows and calves), what is the definition of 'a head of cattle'

I'm just curious.....

I think that a 'head' of cattle is one animal.....

thanks for your thoughts...

Southeast, NE(Zone 5a)

"100 head of cattle" is 100 animals. The phrase is usually used with a number. People may ask how many head you have, and leave off the "of cattle" part.

Perth,, ON(Zone 5a)

thank you for your response, one animal has one head.....

I knew my brother in law was taking advantage when he paid us for pasture rental years ago, based on a head was cow/calf......2 animals

That was the very last monetary transaction I engaged in with him (or my sister) lol


Southeast, NE(Zone 5a)

Cow/calf is usually referred to as "pairs," and the price is less than two head, but more than one. Or at least that's the way it used to be. I've been out of the business a while. :-)

Chickamauga, GA(Zone 7a)

If you are discussing stocking rate, a "head" of cattle is generally 1000 pounds-whether it's a cow and calf or a bred cow.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

A head of cattle is the end that eats. Sorry. Couldn't resist. LOL

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

and the other end is where the money makers are.

Hillsboro, OH(Zone 6a)

I almost spit out my drink! LOL

Rockaway, NJ(Zone 6a)

lol me too.


I always heard that a 'head' was one animal. As in, 'Easier ta count th'heads than th'feet!"


Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

With all this discussion about heads and the udder end, a little story comes to mind.

Two brothers pooled their money and bought a cow. One brother was a lazy fellow who decided he wanted the head end because it was cleaner and less work. So every day he fed the cow and walked away. The other brother was very busy milking twice a day, and cleaning the barn, but he had the milk to use and also the fertilizer for his garden.

The brother with the head soon started to complain about the expense of feeding the cow and the fact that he was getting nothing. His brother explained that he had the easy part of the job, no early morning milking and barn cleaning chores. This satisfied the lazy brother for only a short time.

Soon he was complaining again, but it fell on deaf ears, and then he decided on a course of action. He would kill the front end of the cow, thus ending his expense.

The brother who owned the rear half of the cow went out at dawn as usual to do the milking and found the dead cow. He ran to his brother and gave him the bad news. Who could have done such a thing? To which his brother replied, "I killed my half, your half died".

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Too funny. Sounds like some of my relatives. LOL

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

Who got the beef? ;)

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Donno, somebody ate the evidence.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

It'll turn up again soon. YUCK!!!

Humansville, MO(Zone 6a)

This will give everyone a ideal on how important the term head of live stock can be this took place in the county just to the south of us

Published November 4, 2007
Goat rancher battles for his herd

Jim Riegle of Republic was told to reduce herd of 70 to nine.
Wes Johnson
Is a goat the same as a cow?
Jim Riegle found out the hard way that they are, at least in Greene County.
The rural Republic goat rancher is now challenging the county's animal law that
limits how many critters - dogs, cats and hamsters included - county residents
can own.
Because of his efforts, Greene County commissioners will meet Monday to consider
a major revision to the county's law. The current law puts a limit on the number
of animals per acre based on the type but not the size of the animal.
Riegle, who raises goats for their meat on 13 acres near Republic, got a warning
from the county in May that he had too many goats.
"I called down there and asked them how many goats can I have?" he recalled.
"They said 'nine'. I said, 'Nine per acre?' And they said, 'Nope, nine goats
It was a big problem. At the time, his herd numbered about 70 animals.
The county limits how many animals a property owner can keep to help prevent
water contamination and land overuse issues and to help avoid complaints from
Riegle dug into the county's rules and discovered no distinction between a
100-pound goat and a 1,200-pound cow. Goats, pigs, emus, sheep - even miniature
horses - were considered "large domestic animals."
Furthermore, the current rules only allowed two large animals on a five-acre
parcel, and one additional animal per acre after that. The rules don't govern
animals kept on the property around the house.
Excluding the home site, that meant Riegle could only legally keep nine goats.
"I just don't understand that kind of rule," said Freman Elam, vice president of
the Missouri Meat Goat Producer's Association.
"If they're concerned about waste, manure from a goat is almost a dry pellet,
like a rabbit's. A cow patty is 8 to 10 inches across and looks like a pie. If
you step on a goat pellet, it don't stick to your boot like a cow patty will."
The goat industry standard states that an acre of land will support about seven
goats, significantly higher than allowed in Greene County, he said.
"There should be a distinction between large animals and small animals," Elam
Riegle agrees.
After several meetings with the county's planning and zoning board, he proposed
they use an "animal unit" standard to decide how many farm animals should be
allowed per acre.
Kent Morris, Greene County planning director, said the planning and zoning board
"thought that makes sense."
The planning board looked at animal unit standards from several states -
provided by Riegle - and retooled the animal ordinance.
The proposed rule now identifies a cow or horse as one animal unit, and allows
one cow or horse per acre.
A goat or sheep is 0.2 animal units, and five are allowed per acre.
The animal unit standard can result in some unusual math.
Rural residents who raise chickens (0.06 animal units) can legally keep 16.67
chickens per acre.
A buffalo counts as two animal units. Thus, only half a buffalo is allowed per
The animal unit list covers other creatures ranging from turkeys and rabbits to
llamas and guinea pigs.
Animal units
If the new rule is approved by commissioners, Riegle will be able to keep most,
but not all, of his goats.
"I can have 65 goats under this change," Riegle said. "I have no major problems
with it, except I still think it should be six goats per acre, not five."
Morris said the new rule would remove some inconsistencies and be more fair to
livestock owners in Greene County.
He added that the county doesn't go out and count rural residents' pets and
livestock to see if they've broken the law.
"In Mr. Riegle's case, it was an anonymous complaint from a neighbor who said he
could smell the (animals) from his property," Morris said. "Our enforcement is
based on complaints we get."
Donna Funk, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension, said
animal units are common in the livestock industry and in government so different
animal species can be compared.
"DNR (Department of Natural Resources), for example, uses animal units to help
with their calculations on waste and environmental impact of confined animal
feeding operations," she said.
"It is a fairly common standard to us


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Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

Very interesting, Dave. Thanks for sharing that with us. I have no idea what is considered proper around here. Thankfully we don't have country zoning. It has been voted down several times but some fools just keep bringing it up.

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

Wow, that's something...How could they have ever equated goats and cows? It's good the reevaluated their system!

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

It has to do with the "comfort" of non-farmers. There is more and more of this going on - farmers sued or fined out of business because their farms are smelly and/or noisy - because the housing developments are encroaching on what has traditionally been farm land. There are many states with "Right to Farm" laws, but they are only good up to the point where the farmer runs out of lawyer money. This guy did a good job of working in the system.

We are very fortunate to live in an area that is still predominately rural and farmed.

Perth,, ON(Zone 5a)

but the 'non-farmers' have moved in to the areas of farms.... did they not notice that there were farms there when they looked at the property?

I live in a 'rural area',

Some days, you can use your sense of smell to determine the species of animal manure being applied to the fields..... other days you catch a whiff of the exhaust from vehicles travelling the highway...... other days, it's just the kitty litter box that needs changing....

Other days, you can determine the contents of the neighbour's burn barrel as well.

I moved to this house knowing that I was surrounded by farmland, a new subdivision and roads.....

Yet, in our small town, a beautiful estate (right next to the train tracks and at the road crossing) was purchased by owners who started up a bed and breakfast.... Several of their clients complained about the noise of the train whistle at the crossing..... they lost business over it. UM, did you not notice the train tracks beside your house?

There is now a campain to have the trains cease whistling through town at the road crossings, despite the safety issues. It's not like the train just started running through town, it's been there for almost a hundred YEARS!

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

Looks like it's not just in the US. Here's a story from Rome, Italy:

ROME (Reuters) - A rooster crowing at the break of dawn has earned his owner a 200 euro ($295) fine in an Italian court after neighbors complained it was waking them up too early.

ANSA news agency reported on Wednesday that the rooster's owner in Bolzano province would appeal the sentence, supported by the local Farmers' Association, on the grounds that he needs at least one rooster to breed chickens.

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