Typical height and weight varies among the six different dairy cow breeds. No matter the breed, though, the average adult dairy cow typically weighs at least 1,000 pounds. From the black-and-white-spotted heavyweight Holstein to the comparably smaller cream-colored Jersey breed, cow species have distinct appearances of their own.

Even though all cows are large, the exact weight differs from cow to cow, herd to herd, and breed to breed. Because of this fact, there is no one size fits all answer to how much a cow weighs. Instead, you will want to look at the age of the cow, its breed, and its gender. Only by looking at many factors will you get a good estimation of how much a particular cow may weigh.

full grown Holstein cow weighs an average of about 1,500 lbs. That’s nearly 1 ton. But her size depends on a variety of factors like age, feeding, genetic potential, and other factors. A cow’s weight can vary between 1,000 and 1,800 lbs. Most other breed dairy cows weigh similar, noting though that Jerseys are the smallest breed averaging about 1,000 lbs.

Factors That Impact A Cow’s Weight

As mentioned above, many factors impact a cow’s weight. The most obvious include breed, gender, and age. Beyond that, food sources and individual genetics impact the weight too, which explains why cows of the same age and herd can have wildly different weights.

The most important factors to consider when looking at a cow’s weight include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Breed
  • Location
  • Food sources and nutrition
  • Individual traits

The More It Eats, The More It Weighs

Olson, talking about the management, said that we have observed the increase in the size of cows and we prefer to stay in the range of 1,200 to 1,400 lbs. This is where management plays an essential role. A producer decides where his animals will stand within this range.

In managing the weight of a cow, knowing its actual size is a big deal, according to Olson. Most ranchers do not have access to a sale, but getting a mature cow weight should be a rancher’s primary goal. Another way to measure the size is by noting cull-cow weights and making adjustments to that weight based on how those cows compared to an average of the herd.

According to Olson, the bigger the cow, the more nutrients it needs. The requirement of nutrients does not increase in direct proportion to the cow’s size, and this is a good thing. These requirements go up at ¾ powers ratio, or 75 percent and not one to one. So a 1,400 lb cow requires more than 11 percent maintenance energy as compared to a 1,200 lb cow, regardless of the fact that it is about 16 percent heavier.

How Much Does A Cow Weigh?

Unfortunately, there is no one answer about how much a cow weighs. Several factors will impact the weight of a cow, such as its breed, age, and gender. As a result, there is a wide range of weights for cows, even cows within the same herd.

For example, the heaviest cow is the Chianina breed, and they are typically around 3,500 pounds. In comparison, the smallest cow in the world is only 20 inches tall and weighs only 57 pounds. Needless to say, cows vary greatly in size and weight.

Still, we can give averages. The average weight of an adult bull is 2,400 pounds, while the average weight for an adult cow is 1,600 pounds. These numbers are just averages, but they do show the differences in weight between gender.

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)

Why Are Dairy Cows Skinny?

Dairy cows are lean, extremely stylish, and don’t do a good job packing on the pounds, so why are they so skinny? Some people might think at first glance that dairy cows are skinny because dairy farmers are milking them all the time, but that’s not the case.

Dairy cows aren’t bred to gain weight. Bulking up isn’t a necessary trait for dairy cows, and really doesn’t affect milk production at all. Usually a cleaner boned cow produces much more milk than one that is packing on pounds. Instead of storing the energy in the form of fat, the stylish, thin cows do a really good job converting that energy to milk instead.

How Much Does A Beef Cow Weigh?

In comparison to calves, beef cows weigh a lot more. In fact, many beef cows are used for beef specifically because they are very large and offer more meat. Consequently, even beef cow calves weigh more than some of the breeds mentioned above.

One of the most popular beef cows is the Angus cow. When the Angus beef cow is only six months old, it often weighs between 450 and 550 pounds. Mature heifers often grow to be between 800 and 1,400 pounds. Other beef cows, such as the Shorthorn, are even heavier than the Angus.

Likewise, the weight of male beef cows is a lot higher than the female counterparts. Whereas mature Angus heifers are often 1,400 pounds max, Angus males are on average 1,870 pounds. Meanwhile, the Shorthorn males average out at 2,100 pounds.

How Much Does A Beef Cow Weigh At Slaughter?

At slaughter, most cows weigh between 900 and 1,350 pounds, but the exact weight depends on the customer’s demands.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all cows are slaughtered at maturity. Some clients prefer more tender meat, which is most likely taken from calves. As a result, calves that are slaughtered will weigh much less than mature cows that are slaughtered.

Note that the amount of flesh used for food is not equal to the overall weight of the cow. Instead, only about 65% of the carcass weight is used for food. Let’s take an example. Let’s assume that an Angus female is slaughtered at 1,200 pounds. It is most likely that the hanging carcass weight will only be about 750 pounds.

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