Animal Science Terms - C

Cake: residue remaining after pressing seeds, meat or fish to remove oil, fat or other liquid

Calcium: essential nutrient for building strong bones and teeth that is found in milk

Calcium pump: series of the enzyme in the muscle fiber that is responsible for calcium in and out of the sarcoplasmic reticulum

California mastitis test (CMT): kit that can be used to test mastitis in cows and does

Calf: young bovine; term is used from the time of birth up until about 6 - 10 months of age (or has a maximum live weight of 750 pounds) when the animal is weaned. The term is used for cattle of either sex from birth to weaning. Meat from a calf is called veal. Calf can also refer to young from animals like camels, dolphins, elephants, giraffes and  hippopotamuses

Calf skin: classification for hide from immature beef animals

Calfhood vaccination (official calfhood vaccination). Vaccination against Brucella abortus for heifers between approximately 4 and 10 months old (the exact age for official calfhood vaccination is state specific). Calfhood vaccination must be administered by a federally accredited veterinarian (most large animal veterinarians are federally accredited). Calfhood vaccination against Brucella abortus is not mandatory in most states 

Animals given the official calfhood vaccination are marked in the right ear with an official orange ear tag and a special tattoo. The tattoo consists of an R designating the strain of the vaccine (RB51), a V-shaped shield in the middle, and then a number denoting the last digit of the year of the vaccination. For example, calves vaccinated against Brucella abortus in the year 2012 would have RV2 tattooed in the middle of the inside of the right ear. The decision to have heifer calves vaccinated for brucellosis should be based on the advice of the herd’s veterinarian and depends on the marketing plan of the herd

Calves: differentiates between calves and yearlings weighing over 600 lbs. even when similar weights and grades are selling at or near the same price level. The weight division between calves and yearlings for market reporting purposes is 600 pounds. No comment is required on calves weighing less than 600 pounds, but all calves weighing more than 600 pounds must be identified as calves

Calving ease score: numerical score quantifying calving ease, ranging from 1 for an easy, unassisted calving through 5 for an abnormal presentation

Calving interval: period between two successive calving is calving interval

Camelid: any two-toed ruminant of the family Camelidae, including the camels, llamas and vicunas

Canter: three beat gait in which the first and third beats are made by two legs striking the ground independently and the second beat by a diagonal pair striking the ground together

Capacious: lots of space, room to grow (could be used to describe many aspects of an animal)

Camphlobacter: pathogenic organism responsible for the a food-borne infection that is characterized by diarrhea, fever, and cramps. Onset time is 2-5 days after ingestion of organisms and the duration is approximately 2-10 days

Canadian origin: Used to identify cattle of Canadian origin on market reports

Cape: hide that is removed from the head of a beef animal

Capon: male chickens that have been castrated and they are harvested at 4-8 months old. They weigh 5-9 pounds and produce more white meat and have higher fat content than other chickens

Caprine: scientific name for the goat species

Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE): infectious disease that causes arthritis and progressive inflammation in one or more organs or tissue systems such as the joints, bursae, brain, spinal cord, lungs and udder. This disease affects goats and is currently incurable

Captive bolt pistol: device used to render an animal senseless by shooting a steel rod into the brain

Carbohydrates: major energy source found in most feedstuffs. Contain twice as many hydrogen atoms as carbon and as many oxygen atoms as carbon, commonly designated as CH2O. They include substances such as sugar, starch, fiber, cellulose and hemicellulose. They are usually divided into two fractions: structural (fibre from plant cell wall) and non-structural (sugars and starches from plant cell contents)

Carcass: dressed, slaughtered animal containing two “sides"

Carcass characteristics: range and average carcass weight in pounds, the quality and yield grade (if applicable), and the average dressing percentage

Cardiac muscle: muscle that is striated and has involuntary nervous system control. The nucleus is located in the center of the muscle fiber. The muscle fiber exhibits rhythmic contractility and is found exclusively in the heart

Carotid artery: main artery that supplies blood to the brain, which is severed when an animal is exsanguinated

Carrier: edible material to which ingredients are added, facilitating uniform distribution of the ingredients into a feed mixture

Carries through to Twist: adequate amount of muscle down the back and inside of

Cattle: domesticated mammals of the genus Bos

Cattle committed: Cattle that are scheduled to be delivered to the packer 

Cattle delivered: Cattle that have been delivered to the packing plant for slaughter

Carcass: dressed body of a slaughtered animal

Casein: dominant protein (80 percent) in cow’s milk. Casein is globular in shape and coagulate in the cheese-making process. Vital to a variety of uses in manufacturing as well

Castration: removal of the testicles

Cecum: large pouch forming the beginning of the large intestine. The appendix and the ileum of the small intestine both connect to the cecum. In plant-eating mammals, the cecum is important because it houses bacteria that aid in the breakdown of plant fibers

Cellulose: major structural carbohydrate in plants. A chief part of plant cell walls, it is fiber that is poorly digested by nonruminant animals. Cellulose is composed of glucose molecules chemically linked by a “beta” linkage that is only digested by bacteria such as those in the rumen and/or cecum

Cellulose casings: inedible sausage casing made from cotton liner or wood pulp. Both water and air are able to pass through these casings. Since these casing are inedible they must be removed before the product is consumed

Cervical vertebrae: seven vertebrae located in the neck of an animal

Chaff: husks or other seed coverings and other plant parts separated from seed during harvest or processing

Cheddering: cheese-making process in which the cheese curd is stretched and matted to remove the whey proteins

Chelated mineral: compound formed between an organic molecule and a mineral that increases mineral bioavailability to the animal, which can reduce excretion of excess minerals in manure

Chemical analysis: use of standard chemical analytical procedures to determine the composition of a feed

Chevon: french for goat; term refers to the meat of goat. These are animals are slaughtered near or shortly after weaning

Chick: newly hatched or a very young chicken

Chine bone: ventral portion of the lumbar vertebrae that is removed at the time of steak or chop fabrication

Chitterlings: small intestines of the hog

Choline: essential nutrient, not strictly a vitamin by definition, closely associated with fat metabolism and transport, commonly added to swine and poultry rations. Ruminants generally synthesize adequate amounts, but choline may be added to diets of early lactation dairy cows

Chopped: feed ingredients reduced by cutting with sharp-edged instruments (knives) slightly smaller particle size 

Chuck: wholesale cut of beef which includes the first five ribs of the forequarter minus the brisket and shank

Churning: process in butter making where the emulsion that has held the butter in solution is broken due to mechanical agitation. The butter is then pressed and the buttermilk is poured off

Cistern: final temporary storage area of milk in the udder

Clarification: centrifugation of milk to remove extraneous material including leukocytes, larger bacteria, cells from the cow's udder and dirt that may have entered the milking system

Cleaned: cleared of undesired materials by screens, magnets or forced air

Clear plate: wholesale cut from the pork carcass located on the outer surface of the Boston butt wholesale. It is primarily fat and is used in making pork and beans

Cleats (Clays, Claws, Clees): two halves of the goat’s hoof

Cloning: creates a genetic “twin” of another animal. A cloned animal has the same DNA as its parent, much like identical twins share the same DNA. Many types of animals have been cloned in the past 20 years. The process involves transferring genetic material from one animal to the egg of another, then implanting the embryo in a host female for conventional development and birth

Closed Head or Flock: no new animals are introduced into the herd or flock

Clostridial disease: fatal disease of young cattle caused by one of the Clostridium bacteria. Blackleg is the most well known, but other clostridial diseases are also highly fatal. Currently, the most commonly used clostridial vaccination in cattle is the 7-way type, which protects against Clostridium chauveoi (blackleg), Clostridium septicum, Clostridium sordelli (malignant edema), Clostridium novyi (black disease), and three types of Clostridium perfringens (enterotoxemia) 

Clostridial Infection: bacterial infection that can occur in sheep and goats. Some goat diseases that are caused by this infection are: Blackleg, Enterotoxaemia (Overeating disease) and Tetanus

Clostridium Botulinum: rod-shaped spore-forming bacteria that produces a lethal toxin when grown in anaerobic conditions. A tiny amount absorbed will cause paralysis of the involuntary muscles such as the diaphragm leading to suffocation

Clostridium Perfringens: rod-shaped nonmotile spore-forming bacteria that causes gastroenteritis. The symptoms appear 8- 24 hours after ingestion and include acute abdominal pain, diarrhea and gas; fever, nausea and vomiting are rare

Coagulation: proteins that denature and form large globules as in cheese-making

Coccidiosis: disease that is commonly exhibited in younger animals caused by a protozoa parasite infection. It is characterized by diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, lack of thriftiness, and weakness

Coccidiostat: drug used to control coccidial infections. Coccidia are microscopic protozoa that live in the intestinal lining of livestock and poultry, causing severe diarrhea or unthriftiness

Coccygeal vertebrae: vertebrae found in the tail of an animal

Cod fat: fat that has been deposited in the remaining portion of the scrotum of the a steer

Cold shortening: condition caused when muscles are exposed to cold temperatures (15 - 20C below normal) while the muscle is in the pre-rigor state, causing the muscle to shorten and toughen the meat

Colic:  abdominal pain caused by gastrointestinal disorders

Collagen: main structural protein of vertebrate animals, occurring in all tissues; it is a precursor to gelatin and can be processed into a variety of forms; predominant fibril forming protein of the connective tissue or stomal portion of muscle

Collagen casing: sausage casing made from a collagen source such as the corium layer of beef hides. These casing have many of the physical properties of natural casings and the uniformity and cleanliness of cellulose casings

Color score: subjective measure of the lean meat color in pork. On a scale of 1-5, 1 indicates a pale pinkish color and 5 indicates a dark purplish color

Colostrum: first milk secreted by mammals shortly after giving birth. The milk is thick and golden yellow in color and contains rich nutrients and antibodies. If the newborn does not consume the milk within the first 24 hours of life, there is very little chance the animal will survive because of the passive transfer of immunity to the calf from the mother. Colostrum is excluded from the commercial milk supply

Colt: an intact, male horse under 3 years of age

Combine: farm implement that harvests and threshes (separates the grain kernels from the stalk) various crops

Comitrol (flaking equipment): machine that slices or flakes meat into a desired size which then can be formed into a restructured meat product

Complete feed: thoroughly blended mixture of different feed ingredients formulated to meet specific nutrient requirements that allows for greater efficiency in feeding and provides better control of nutrient intake. A complete feed may or may not include the roughage portion of the ration

Compost: soil amendment and fertilizer made with biodegraded animal residuals, leaves, sawdust, grass clippings, soil and/or water. (Read about how dairy farmers use & recycle compost)

Concentrate: animal feeds high in energy and low in fiber. This classification of feedstuffs in non-forage part of an animal’s diet, principally grain and including oil seed meal and other feed supplements that are high in energy and/or protein, but low in crude fiber. They are usually further divided into energy and protein concentrates. Often used interchangeably with supplement (e.g., corn, barley, soybeans)

Concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO): livestock operation defined by the federation government as “an animal feeding operation where more than 1,000 'animal units' (as defined by the regulation) are confined at the facility; or more than 300 animal units are confined at the facility and either one of the following conditions are met: pollutants are discharged into navigable waters through a man-made ditch, flushing system or other similar man-made device; or pollutants are discharged directly into waters of the United States which originate outside of and pass over, across, or through the facility or otherwise come into direct contact with the animals confined in the operation."

Conception: successful union of male and female gametes & implantation of zygote

Condensed: reduced to a denser form by removing moisture 

Condensed distillers' solubles: liquid portion or "syrup" that has been separated from the residual fermentation stillage or mash, with a portion of its water content evaporated. The solubles usually contain 25%-30% dry matter and are often re-combined with the corn distillers' grains to form corn distillers' grains with solubles

Condensed milk: fluid milk with water removed so it contains 7.5 percent fat and 25 percent milk solids. It can be sweetened by adding 18 percent sugar. It is canned and stable at room temperatures

Conformation: combination of structural correctness and muscling of the animal including the frame and shape of the animal; proportionate development of carcass parts or wholesale cuts, and the ratio of muscle to bone

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): variety of positional and geometric isomers of linoleic acid naturally formed in the rumen through the biohydrogenation of linoleic acid by rumen bacteria. Consumption of meat and milk containing CLA has been linked to potential health benefits in humans

Connective tissue: forms cellular structure of most animal tissues including bone, fat, and muscle. The two major proteins are collagen and elastin

Contraction: process of shortening a muscle fiber

Cooler shrink: weight that is lost during the initial chilling of the carcass. This is generally moisture loss

Coproducts: see Byproduct

Corn distillers' grains: residual grains or byproduct that contain the nutrients remaining after the starch from corn has been fermented to alcohol. The concentration of these residual nutrients is approximately 3x that found in the original corn

Cornish game hens: cross between a Cornish and Plymouth Rock chicken (although originally they were pure Cornish), 4-5 weeks old, weighing about 2 pounds. They may be of either sex

Coronavirus: virus that can cause diarrhea (scours) and dehydration in young calves. Some scours vaccines given to pregnant females will contain coronavirus. Vaccination of the pregnant dam raises the level of antibodies to coronavirus in her colostrum, the first milk she produces which is suckled by the calf after it is born. Antibodies from colostrum provide the calf’s immunity for the first few weeks and months of life

Cover crops: temporary vegetative cover that is grown to provide protection for the soil and can also provide extra profit for the farmer

Cow: mature female bovine that has had a calf. (This term may also be used for other species). They have developed, through reproduction or with age, the relatively prominent hips, large middle, and other physical characteristics typical of mature females

Cracked: particle size created reducing the size of feed ingredients by a combined breaking and crushing action

Cream: milk is separated by large machines in bulk. Cream is the high-fat milk product separated from milk. The cream is processed and used to produce various products with varying names, such as “heavy cream” or “whipping cream.” Cream contains at least 18% milk fat. Some cream is dried and powdered and some is condensed by evaporation and canned

Creep Feeder: enclosed feeder meant to keep larger (older) animals out for supplementing the ration of young animals

Cria: young llama

Crimped: feed particle size created by rolling feed ingredients through grooved rollers

Cross Breed also Crossbreeding: animal whose parents are of two different breeds. For example, breeding a Hereford cow with an Angus bull

Crown Roast: made by adjoining two Frenched eight-rib racks with twine and bending them to form a circle. The ends are secured by twine

Crude Fat: estimate of the total fat content of feeds. The crude fat is estimated using ether extraction

Crude Fiber (CF): more fibrous, less digestible portion of a plant primarily consisting of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. A method of estimating the fiber content is the analysis of a feedstuff by sequential extraction with acid and alkaline solutions. It requires chemical analysis that involves extraction of a ground feed sample with diethyl ether followed by sequential boiling in dilute acid and dilute base. Residue is then burned in a furnace; CF is calculated as the difference in weight of the sample before and after burning. CF has been replaced by ADF and NDF fibre fractions in ruminant feeds but is still reported for monogastric feeds

Crude protein: estimate of the total protein content of a feed determined by analyzing the nitrogen content of the feed and multiplying the result by 6.25. Crude protein includes true protein and other nitrogen-containing non-protein substances such as ammonia, amino acids, nitrates. Crude protein is used for energy and helps build tissue

Crumbles: pelleted feed that has been broken into smaller granular pieces

Cryogenic freezing: freezing of food products by immersing them in liquid nitrogen

Cryptorchid: condition where one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum sac

Cubes : long or coarsely cut hay compressed into high density cubes to facilitate transportation, storage and feeding

Cubic Centimeter (cc): volume measurement identical to milliliter (ml)

Cud: partially digested food that is brought up from the rumen (regurgitated from the first compartment of the cow’s stomach into the mouth) to be chewed again by ruminants such as cattle or sheep. A cow may spend seven hours a day consuming food and an additional 10 hours a day chewing her cud

Cull: select and remove a substandard, inferior animals from the herd or flock for potential sale

Cultivator: farm implement that breaks up the soil into small pieces

Curare: compound isolated from a South American plant that has the ability to block the transfer of a nerve impulse at the neuromuscular junction

Curds: white solid clumps of protein and other milk components that are formed when milk coagulates (clumps together) in the cheesemaking process. Curds are pressed into blocks or barrels for proper aging and curing of the cheese

Cure (Cured, Curing): preserved by drying, chemicals, or other meat preservation methods; mixture of the chemical additives used in meat preservation which may include: salt, sugar, sodium nitrite, sodium erythorbate, phosphate, spices, and water

Custom Exempt: inspection status of a meat packing plant that slaughters animals as a service and does not sell any meat products

Cute Headed: short muzzled (like Irish whiskey cattle), usually means earlier maturing

Cutting test: cutting of the wholesale cut into retail cuts to determine the retail yield and value for the purpose of maintaining operating margins

Cyst: infectious form of many protozoan parasites during which they are encapsulated inside a protective wall; usually found in the feces 

Cystozoites: encysted stages of certain coccidia that are found in paratenic hosts; when ingested, the cystozoite continues its development in the definitive host



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