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Basic Information

Cattle (colloquially cows) are large domesticated ungulates. They are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, most commonly classified as Bos primigenius. Cattle are raised as livestock for meat (beef and veal), as dairy animals for milk, cheese and other dairy products, and as draft animals (pulling carts, plows and the like). Other products include leather and dung for manure or fuel. Cattle horns can also be used to make a variety of materials including drinking vessels, cutlery and window panes.

Strictly the word cow implies a female. An adult male is a bull and the young are called calves (singular calf) - adolesence males and females are called bullocks and heifers respectively. A male, castrated young and trained as a draft animal is called an ox (plural oxen).

In a lot of places — such as dark ages Ireland and amongst the Zulus — cattle have been a (or the) major form of currency and they are generally high-end livestock wherever they are raised. In some countries, such as India, cattle are sacred, mainly due to their role in the Hindu scriptures and their perceived role as a "foster mother" to mankind (due to the whole milk drinking thing).

In general use the term may apply to a variety of related species and subspecies, differing in detail but more or less interchangable in practice. Confusingly the word "cattle" has been also used historically to refer to livestock in general, which leads to such oddities as a sheep stealing raid in the War Song of Dinas Fawr apparently returning with two thousand head of cattle.

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Game and Story Use

  • The cattle raid is a very traditional scenario for an adventure.
  • Your party have defeated the BBEG and received their promised reward … paid in cattle…
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