[Sca-cooks] Cow harness

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Wed Nov 11 09:31:07 PST 2009

> I was a little confused by what Bear said as it didn't fit in with my
> memories of what castrated cattle were called.  I had always heard them
> referred to as steers, but then they typically weren't used as draft
> animals.  So I looked it up and found that, when they are used as draft
> animals, they are frequently referred to as oxen...but mostly in other 
> parts
> of the world...which would, I suspect, cover our period in Europe.  But 
> here
> in the US, you may also hear the term steer.
> Kiri

If you will recall "Sweet Betsy From Pike;" "with two yoke of oxen..."  In 
the US, draft cattle are oxen, beef cattle are steers.  Since we haven't 
really used draft cattle for almost a hundred years (since heavy wagons went 
motorized and horses and mules were more often used for farming), the term 
usually pops up only in special circumstances.  I also seem to remember 
steers are castrated as calves, but oxen are castrated after sexual 
maturity, but I am not sure of the accuracy of that statement.


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