Figure 16. Female exhibiting a slight slope from hooks to pins. Figure 17. Female with ideal level hip structure
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*This is an excerpt from Beef Conformation Basics, ANR-1452.

From the front, cattle whose hooves are faced forward are ideal. The steer shown in figure 14 is a good example of both hooves pointing directly forward. Much as it is with the hind legs, some angle in the outward direction is acceptable, and any angle of 10 degrees or less is accepted as normal. Functionality of the front end is normally not compromised until the outward turn approaches 30 degrees or more. Cattle with this condition are commonly referred to as being splay footed. Cattle that are splay footed can usually also be classified as being knock kneed. Figure 15 is a good example of a heifer having both of these conditions.

Another condition in beef cattle concerning the front limbs occurs when the front hooves point inward toward each other. Cattle exhibiting this condition are said to be pigeon toed. This condition is rarely seen and is detrimental to the functionality of the forelimbs.


*This is an excerpt from Beef Conformation Basics, ANR-1452.

When evaluating beef cattle from the rear, hooves of the animal should point forward. However, that is not the case in a large number of beef cattle. In many instances, the hooves of the hind legs turn outward instead of pointing forward. Cattle with this condition are commonly referred to as being cow hocked. The hocks are also usually turned inward and can be closer together than the hooves in some extreme cases. In milder cases, cattle are unhindered in terms of normal productivity. The steer shown in Figure 12 is slightly cow hocked but would be considered normal, as anything less than a 10-degree angle is considered as normal. In some extreme cases, this condition can result in uneven toe growth and wear. Cattle more extreme in this condition are usually very light muscled as is the heifer shown in Figure 13.

Less commonly seen in beef cattle is the condition known as bowleggedness. This term is used to describe cattle whose hooves are pointed inward on their hind limbs. Though this term may also be used to describe a similar condition in the front limbs, it usually describes cattle that are farther apart at the hocks than at their hooves. This condition is considered more serious in terms of inhibiting proper mobility and is far less common in comparison to the cow-hocked condition.

Read here to learn more about beef conformation basics.

Download a PDF of Beef Conformation Basics, ANR-1452.

*This is an excerpt of Animal, Forage, and Feed Management Following a Flood Event, ANR-2536.

  • Even if hay was not submerged in water, heavy rains will likely decrease the quality of hay stored outside or on the ground.
  • Hay that is submerged by as little as 1 foot has limited usable forage remaining.
  • The amount of rotted hay, mold, and possible contaminants in flooded hay make it of little value and potentially a hazard to livestock.
  • Hay that has less than 1 foot submersion may still have some usable forage, but it should be used with caution and should be fed only to cattle.
  • For hay submerged less than 1 foot of water, feed the dry hay but do not force the cattle to consume the wet and rotting portion of the bale.
  • Hay that was flooded in storage barns should
    be removed as soon as possible to prevent hay fires. This hay will begin to heat and spontaneous combustion is a possibility.
  • Hay that is not fit for livestock should be disposed of by burning or composting it.


Download a PDF of Animal, Forage, and Feed Management Following a Flood Event, ANR – 2536.