According to Ken Olson, a range beef calf/cow specialist at the South Dakota State University, the size of cow matters. The present age’s fed cattle (heifers and steers) are, as compared to 1990, larger at slaughter. On the feed, they spend eight more days. They gain weight 16% faster and they are more efficient. Though the weight gaining process is faster in livestock than it was twenty years back, the fat marbling and other characteristics are still the same.

The average cow weighs anywhere from 900 to 1,600 pounds depending on age, breed and genetics. The heaviest cow breeds can weigh over 3,000 pounds. Full grown dairy cows weigh about 1,500 pounds. Full grown beef cattle average 1350 pounds. Newborn calves weigh in around 75 to 85 pounds. 

An adult cow will graze all day and requires quality grass year-round so that it can produce the milk and meat required to feed your family. There are many requirements needed to keep and raise cows.

How Much Does A Cow Weigh?

Beef cattle (raised for meat production primarily) and dairy cattle (raised for milk primarily) typically weigh differently, but even among the beef or dairy breeds, we have huge differences.

I’ve used data from research and calculations on The Pennsylvania State University, North Dakota State University, and Wikipedia itself to get the most accurate and recent data about cow weights (by age and by gender).

I’ve used this data to put together tables of weights for heifers (female calves) by month, and some data on the major breeds in the US and their average weights.

Herders always weigh a cow at weaning, which is the time when a calf is separated from the mother. Ideally, this is at 7-8 months old. Cows continue gaining weight until they reach 7 years of age, then they slowly lose weight until they leave the herd.

The weight of a cow depends mostly on these factors:

  • age
  • breed
  • location
  • nutritional history
  • individual traits

How Much Does A Beef Cow Weigh?

A typical beef cow such as Angus weighs around 1210 lbs (550kb) for a mature female, and around 1870 lbs (850 kg) for bulls (on average). For a typical herd, this is not a very useful answer because the herd may consist of a variety of cows by age and breed.

Cow weight will greatly vary based on many factors.

Angus beef cow will be about 450-550 pounds when 6 months old, while a mature heifer could weigh anywhere between 800 and 1400 pounds. Heifer growth is usually compared to breed standards to determine normal progress.

Here is a list of the average weight of beef cows by breed (female):

  • Angus – 1,210 pounds (550 kg)
  • Hereford – 1,200 pounds (544 kg)
  • Limousin – 1,650 pounds (750 kg)
  • Brahman – 1,320 pounds (600 kg)
  • Simmental – 1,300 pounds (590 kg)
  • Shorthorn – 1,760 pounds (800 kg)

How Much Does A Dairy Cow Weigh?

Depending on the breed, a full mature Holstein dairy cow weighs around 1,500 lbs (700 kg) on average, a mature Ayrshire weighs around 990 to 1,320 lbs, while the Jersey breed (being among the smallest of the dairy breeds) weighs around 900 lbs (410kg) on average.

These are all (naturally) female cow weight examples, while the males usually weigh more.

Here is a list of the average weights of dairy cows by breed – female:

  • Holstein-Friesian – 1,600 pounds (725 kg)
  • Ayrshire – 1,150 pounds (522 kg)
  • Jersey – 900 pounds (408 kg)
  • Brown Swiss – 1,350 pounds (612 kg)
  • Guernsey – 1,050 pounds (476 kg)
  • Dairy Shorthorn – 1,450 pounds (658 kg)

How Much Does A Calf Weigh?

A calf is a young domestic cattle, and its weight quickly grows every month. The calf at birth will weigh about 82 pounds. A commercial steer (bull calf) is expected to put on about 71 to 79 lbs (32-36kg) per month, while a heifer puts on less, depending on the breed.

I’ve looked more closely into dairy cow heifer weights by age, and got the data from PennState Uni on heifer growth and the average and recommended weights of the most popular dairy cow breeds in the US.

What Is The Average Weight Of A Cow At Slaughter?

According to Ken Olson, the cattle today at slaughter (heifers and steers) are about 14 percent larger as compared to the cattle in 1990. As they gain weight faster, spend more days on feed, and are more efficient.

What Is The Average Hanging Weight Of A Cow?

An average cow weights around/about 1,200 lbs and it has a hanging hot carcass weight of about 750 pounds.

What Is The Average Weight Of A Beef Cow?

A steer weighing around 1,000 lbs i.e. 450 kg provides a carcass that weighs around 615 lbs i.e. 280 kg after the head, blood, feet, guts, skin, and offal are removed from it. It is then hanged in a cold room for one – four weeks and during this time it loses some more weight as the waster dries out from the meat. After this whole process, the carcass will weigh around 430 lb i.e. 200 kg.

What Is The Average Hanging Weight Of A Cow?

An average cow weighs around 1,200 lbs. It has an (HCW) hanging hot carcass weight of around 750 pounds.

How To Weigh A Cow

Measuring a cows weight is most easily done using a livestock scale. Since the majority of livestock owners are not commercial owners, we probably do not own a scale. I myself do not own a livestock scale. So unless you know someone that does, you will have to use the cows body measurements to calculate the approximate weight. Here’s how it’s done.

  • Step 1 – Measure the cow’s heart girth. 
  • Step 2 – Measure the cow’s length.
  • Step 3 – Multiple girth x girth x length / 300 = Weight

How Much Do Cows Cost?

The cost of a cow is mainly determined by the weight of the cow. Beef cattle typically sell for $140 per 100 pounds of weight. For example, a 700 pound cow would cost about $980. Dairy cattle that are sold by weight cost on average $1.20 per pound, meaning a 700 pound dairy cow would cost $840

How Tall Does A Cow Get?

The average cow can reach a height of about 4’ to 4’ 11’’. This is determined by the breed of the cow and their age. The tallest cow breeds can reach heights of over 5’ and up to 5’ 11’’ tall.

What Is The Best Weight To Butcher A Cow?

Forage-finished calves will often be slaughtered near 1,000 pounds live weight. It will take over a year (367 days) to grow a 500-pound calf to 1,000 pounds if its average daily weight gain is 1.5 pounds per day.

How Much Meat Do You Get From A 1200 Pound Cow?

In other words, from a 1200 pound steer, you can expect a 740 – 770 pound carcass. But from that carcass there is another significant portion that will not end up in your freezer or in the meat case for consumers.

Is Buying A Whole Cow Worth It?

Buying a whole cow or half a cow (not a quarter cow) will get you the best deal. If you can’t afford a whole or half cow (or you don’t think you’ll eat that much meat), the price is still better than grocery store prices overall. But if you’re looking for the absolute most bang for your buck, avoid the quarter cow.

What Contributes To Cow Weight?

Cow weight is influenced by several factors, including the breed of cattle, their diet, whether they are male or female (males tend to be larger), and how old they are.

Let’s take a look at a few of these and see how they influence a cow’s weight:

1: Breed

Cow weight is strongly influenced by their breed, with some miniature breeds weighing as little as 600lbs, compared to some breeds specifically bred for draft weighing in at over 3,000lbs.

Beef cattle breeds like Angus and Hereford tend to weigh more than dairy breeds like Holstein and Jersey, but the largest breeds are the draft breeds like the mighty Chianna and Limousin, whose large weight can be attributed to the fact that they have been selectively bred for generations to increase their strength as much as possible.

BreedAverage Weight (Cows)Average Weight (Bulls)
Angus1210lbs (549kg)1870lbs (848kgs)
Hereford1200lbs (544kg)1800lbs
Limousin1650lbs (750kg)2530lbs (1150kg)

2: Diet

Cows’ diet influences their weight, with certain high-density feeds like corn, oats, barley, and soy helping cows to grow more quickly compared to a natural diet of grass, which is less nutrient-dense.

3: Age

It goes without saying that cows become heavier as they age, but it’s not always obvious just how drastic a cow’s growth can be.

According to Penn. State University, some cattle can grow at a staggering rate of up to 4.5lb (2kg) every day.

Cow calves are around 90lbs when they are born, and achieve their full adult weight after around two years.

Read More: How Long Do Cows Live?

4: Sex

Male cattle are heavier than female cattle, due to their larger heads, denser bones, and higher muscle to fat ratio.

Within males, bulls tend to be larger than steers, and male beef cattle tend to be larger than male dairy cattle.

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