Methods of Determining Age of Cattle

Ron Torell, Northeast Area Livestock Specialist


The approximate age of cattle may be determined by examining the teeth as illustrated in Diagram 1.  The tooth method of aging cattle involves noting the time of appearance and the degree of wear on the temporary and permanent teeth.  The temporary or milk teeth, are easily distinguished from the permanent teeth by their smaller size and whiter color.  At maturity cattle have 32 teeth, 8 of which are incisors in the lower jaw.  The two central incisors are known as pinchers; the third pair are called second intermediates or laterals; and the outer pair are known as the corners.  There are no upper incisor teeth; only the thick, hard dental pad.

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