Can a cow be an ox? Can an ox be a cow?

What is an ox? Everyone seems to agree that it is a mature bovine trained to pull loads. There is some disagreement in the English speaking world about whether oxen must be male. Whether the word means only male or any working bovine shouldn’t be the point.

My friends in Spain work bulls more often than steers.

According to Paul Starkey of, globally there are more female working animals than male.

Most of the draft animal using world doesn’t speak English anyway.

To avoid controversy I have made up a new term. I like Ux taurus – the bull’s wife.

If Latin isn’t your thing, the term handy cow is a good description.


Cows are multi-use. The same cow that I milk can be used for draft work. A German study has shown that 4 hours or less of work per day does not have a significant effect on milk production. Cows should have some rest time before and after calving. I have very little time to work train animals. I could not justify keeping animals that didn’t produce in a way beyond their work.

For me the biggest drawback to training heifers is about the time a team is about to be useful i end up selling one or both for breeding.

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