Street An ox (plural oxen), also known as a bullock in Australia and India, is a

bovine trained as a draft animal. Oxen are commonly castrated adult male cattle;
castration makes the animals easier to control. Cows (adult females) or bulls
(intact males) may also be used in some areas.

Oxen are used for plowing, for transport (pulling carts, hauling wagons and even
riding), for threshing grain by trampling, and for powering machines that grind
grain or supply irrigation among other purposes. Oxen may be also used to skid logs
in forests, particularly in low-impact, select-cut logging.

Oxen are usually yoked in pairs. Light work such as carting household items on good
roads might require just one pair, while for heavier work, further pairs would be
added as necessary. A team used for a heavy load over difficult ground might exceed
nine or ten pairs.


1 Domestication
2 Training
3 Shoeing
4 Uses and comparison to other draught animals
5 See also
6 References


Oxen are thought to have first been harnessed and put to work around 4000 BC.[1]
A team of ten pairs of oxen in Australia.

Working oxen are taught to respond to the signals of the teamster, bullocky or ox-
driver. These signals are given by verbal command and body language, reinforced by
a goad, whip or a long pole (which also serves as a measure of length: see rod). In
pre-industrial times, most teamsters were known for their loud voices and
forthright language.

Verbal commands for draft animals vary widely throughout the world. In North
America, the most common commands are:

Back: back up
Gee: turn to the right
Get up (also giddyup or giddyap, contractions for "get thee up" or "get ye
up"): go
Haw: turn to the left
Whoa: stop

In the New England tradition, young castrated cattle selected for draft are known
as working steers and are painstakingly trained from a young age. Their teamster
makes or buys as many as a dozen yokes of different sizes for each animal as it
grows. The steers are normally considered fully trained at the age of four and only
then become known as oxen.[2]

A tradition in south eastern England was to use oxen (often Sussex cattle) as dual-
purpose animals: for draft and beef. A plowing team of eight oxen normally
consisted of four pairs aged a year apart. Each year, a pair of steers of about
three years of age would be bought for the team and trained with the older animals.
The pair would be kept for about four years, then sold at about seven years old to
be fattened for beef � thus covering much of the cost of buying that year's new
pair. Use of oxen for plowing survived in some areas of England (such as the South

Germany. Bulls are also used in many parts of the world. shoeing is accomplished using a massive framework of beams in which the animal can be partly or completely lifted from the ground by slings passed under the body. and are usually males because they are generally larger.[7] The shoeing of an ox partly lifted in a sling is the subject of John Singer Sargent's painting Shoeing the Ox.[3] Ox trainers favour larger animals for their ability to do more work.[4][5] Shoeing A single left-hand ox shoe of the type used for large Chianina oxen in Tuscany Karel Dujardin .[18] . the feet are then lashed to lateral beams or held with a rope while the shoes are fitted. Austria. Until the invention of the horse collar. Turk and Tiger). or clay-filled soil. horses could not pull with their full strength because the yoke was incompatible with their anatomy.Downs) until the early twentieth century. and pull for a longer period of time than horses depending on weather conditions. Similar devices are found in France. Oxen are therefore usually of larger breeds. oxen can move very heavy loads in a slow and steady fashion. and they were often given paired names. and are fitted in symmetrical pairs to the hooves. but they cannot cover as much ground in a given period of time. When hauling freight. Oxen can pull heavier loads.[7] Since their hooves are cloven. but as well as being smaller. For millennia. where they may be called ox slings. they are also slower than horses. Ox shoes are usually of approximately half-moon or banana shape. ox presses or shoeing stalls.jpg Karel Dujardin.[12][13] Ox shoeing sling in the Dorfmuseum of M�nchhof. Unlike horses. Canada and the United States. but may today be of metal. For agricultural purposes. either with or without caulkins. are often more valued for producing calves and milk. Austria.[17] On the other hand.[16] while A Smith Shoeing an Ox by Karel Dujardin shows an ox being shod standing. shoeing was accomplished by throwing the ox to the ground and lashing all four feet to a heavy wooden tripod until the shoeing was complete. unlike the single shoe of a horse.A Smith Shoeing an Ox. in India. Pairs of oxen were always hitched the same way round. which allowed the horse to engage the pushing power of its hindquarters in moving a load.[6] although in England not all working oxen were shod. their pulling style is steadier. oxen also could pull heavier loads because of the use of the yoke. especially Asia and Africa. 1622�1678: A Smith Shoeing an Ox Working oxen usually require shoes. In southern England it was traditional to call the near-side (left) ox of a pair by a single-syllable name and the off-side (right) one by a longer one (for example: Lark and Linnet.[6] A similar technique was used in Serbia[9] and.[11] In Italy. which has both advantages and disadvantages.[8][14][15] The system was sometimes adopted in England also. They are at a disadvantage compared to horses when it is necessary to pull a plow or load of freight relatively quickly. a pair of ox shoes is attached to the near left column Such devices were made of wood in the past. oxen are not easily able to balance on three legs while a farrier shoes the fourth. where the device was called a crush or trevis. tied to a post by the horns and balanced by supporting the raised hoof.[10] where it is still practiced. two shoes or ox cues are required for each hoof. Sweden. which was designed to work best with the neck and shoulder anatomy of cattle. Uses and comparison to other draught animals Riding an ox in Hova. oxen are more suitable for heavy tasks such as breaking sod or ploughing in wet. Spain. Females can also be trained as oxen.[6][8] In England. one example is recorded in the Vale of Pewsey. in a simpler form. where oxen may be very large. heavy.

Well-trained oxen are also considered less excitable than horses. .