Animal Science Terms - H

Half sib: half brothers or half sisters 

Hand: non-SI unit (SI = system of physical units)  of measurement that equals four inches. Commonly applied to horse height

Hand Mating: breeding scheme in which a female and male are isolated by the producer in a confined area for individual breeding

Hay: dried feed such as rye, alfalfa, clover, grass and oats, which is used as a food source for livestock. A hay pasture is mowed and the trimmings dry in the sun for several days. The hay is then gathered, baled, and stored until needed for food

Hay additives: organic acids or acid-forming compounds designed to allow hay to be harvested at higher than normal moisture contents by preventing the microbial activity responsible for spoilage

Heat (Estrus): period in which the doe is receptive to mating

Heat damage: reduction in nutrient content of a feed because of chemical reactions induced by high temperatures. Maillard reaction refers to loss of amino acid availability as it complexes with carbohydrates

Heat-damaged protein: reduction in protein content of feedstuff that is available to the animal because of chemical reactions that occur at high temperatures. See heat damage

Heavy Footed: heavy and slow in movement, big footed

Heifer: female bovine that has not had a calf 

Heifer calf: female calf

Hemicellulose: polysaccharide found in plant cell walls that is more complex in structure than sugars but less complex than cellulose

Hen: female chicken or turkey at least one year of age  

Herbivore: animal that feeds on grasses and other plant materials (e.g., cattle)

Herd: grouping of a single species of livestock as well as other animal species. Commonly used with beef and dairy cattle, horses, swine, and goats

Herd Average (Rolling Herd Average): how much milk, milk fat, and milk protein were produced by the average cow in a herd for the previous year

Heredity: occurrence of genetic factors derived from each of its parent in an individual

Heritability: percentage of variation in individual characteristics between related individuals which is due to true genetic difference

Hermaphrodite: sterile animal with reproductive organs of both sexes Organisms, such as an earthworms or flowering plants, that have both male and female reproductive organs in a single individual

High Pinned: pin bones are set higher than the hook bones, giving the hip an upward appearance as opposed to being level from hooks to pins (desirable) or dropping in her pins. From a production standpoint, a sloped hip does make more sense because the calf comes out in a downward direction. Cattle that slope badly from hooks to pins tend to have more slope to other angles including shoulders and pasterns and might also tend to have more set to the hock

Hinny: hybrid animal that is produced when a female ass (jennet) is crossed with a male horse (stallion)

Hog: 1. hoofed mammal of the family Suidae, comprising boars and swine. 2. A domesticated swine weighing 120 pounds (54 kg) or more, raised for market

Holstein: black and white dairy cow (and some “Red Holsteins”) that is the most predominant breed of dairy cattle worldwide. The Holstein originated in the province of Friesland, The Netherlands. They are known for having the highest milk production of all of the breeds of dairy cattle

Homogenization: process of breaking up fat globules into smaller particles. When milk is homogenized, the fat stays evenly distributed throughout the milk and does not separate and rise to the top

Hoof Trimmer: trained professional who specializes in the trimming of a cow’s hooves on a regular basis in order to maintain comfort. Hoof trimmers are trained to detect disease, injury or other hoof- related problems and can advise farmers on treatments

Hormone: chemical substance secreted by an endocrine gland or group of endocrine cells that acts to control or regulate specific physiological processes (chemical messenger), including growth, metabolism and reproduction. Most hormones are secreted by endocrine cells in one part of the body and then transported by the blood to their target site of action in another part. Hormones include endorphins, androgens and estrogens. All milk naturally contains hormones

Horse: large, solid-hoofed, herbivorous quadruped (Equus caballus) domesticated since prehistoric times, bred in a number of varieties, and used for carrying or pulling loads, for riding, and for racing. 2. Any of several odd-toed ungulates belonging to the family Equidae, including the horse, zebra, donkey, and ass, having a thick, flat coat with a narrow mane along the back of the neck and bearing the weight on only one functioning digit, the third, which is widened into a round or spade-shaped hoof

Horse hinny: proper term for a male hinny over 3 years of age

Horse mule: proper term for a male mule over 3 years of age

Hot Carcass Weight: weight of a dressed carcass immediately after slaughter prior to the shrinkage that occurs in the cooler

Hotweight Basis: generally used in marketing where price is based on the hot carcass weight of the animal rather than the live weight taken just prior to processing

Hutch: individual housing unit designed for young calves

Hypothermia: when body temperature drops below that required for normal metabolism and body functions. Inability to keep warm often caused by cold or wet weather



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