Literature sources state as countless as 50% that domestic cattle have more than 4 teats, well-known as supernumerary teats. Extra teats might be part of a very little milk gland, or have actually no milk gland underneath. This is not distinctive to cattle, and is among the mysteries of the development of mammals; in fact, many humans have an ext than 2 nipples, yet do not realize it, thinking they have a tiny brown mole on their chest or abdomen.

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Normal teats and extra teats follow the exact same “milk line.” The milk line is two imaginary rows along which teats can kind on the developing fetus. This is why the extra teats on cattle typically kind in a line behind the primary 4 teats, in the very same row formation.

Dairy cattle are selected for straightforward machine-milking, and also “show cattle” room selected for a clean appearance. Both goals usually an outcome in the removed of extra teats, preferably in a very young calf. Since most advertisement dairy cattle are dehorned together calves, dairymen simply inspect for extra teats in ~ the time the dehorning, and, if present, snip them off.

HOW room EXTRA TEATS INHERITED? This has never to be determined. The is clear extra teats are not a single-gene trait that have the right to be easily “bred out” like, say, PHA. Some write-ups refer come an expansion of genes that arisen when cattle began to it is in selected because that milk lengthy ago. Rather have recorded an enhanced frequency that extra teats in calves born to older cows, and also proposed the exposure the the arising fetus to varying hormone levels may increase or decrease the likelihood the extra teats. Since it is unknown exactly how the characteristics is inherited, how plenty of genes contribute, or what other components are involved; it is very an overwhelming to select against.


This dried cow still reflects a negative rear udder attachment, resulting in the udder to pointer forward. Funnel teats space wedge shaped on a dry cow, and balloon out throughout the first pair weeks of each lactation.

DO EXTRA TEATS average THE pet HAS A bad UDDER? A negative rear udder attachment causes the cow’s udder to tip forward. Weak typical suspension reasons the teats to suggest out come the sides. A bad front udder attachment reduces capacity. Funnel teats make it difficult for a newborn calf come nurse and also receive sufficient colostrum. All these defects become increasingly worse v each lactation, do an udder susceptible to injury and an overwhelming to milk or nurse. This defects are virtually unknown in commercial dairy product cattle, yet plague our Dexters. Extra teats, top top the other hand, are greatly a cosmetics issue and can it is in snipped off, if desired. They reason no actual injury to the animal.

DO EXTRA TEATS average THE animal IS more LIKELY TO create TWINS? No.


The opposite case is once an pet has much less than 4 teats. This is a lot rarer occurrence, and also has number of causes.

In some situations of a congenitally “three-teated-cow,” the gland is present however has no corresponding teat, as result of a problem that arisen within the occurring fetus. The is generally a prior teat that is missing. The absence of a teat will an outcome in a quarter that will certainly engorge with milk when the cow freshens, but since there is no exit suggest for the milk, the milk will certainly be resorbed and also the quarter will cease to be active. This cycle will normally repeat for each lactation.

Occasionally, a teat is bitten-off by one more calf sucking on a young heifer in groups of bottle-fed calves. This is different than a congenitally missing teat.

Another cause of a lacking teat is actually a severe case of bad teat spacing. If friend look at an impacted animal closely, 2 teats native the same side of the udder space so near together, they have actually fused. Occasionally there is evidence of the fusion: There might be two orifices in the “super-teat,” or there may even be a vertical cleft. Back this is tho an concern with fetal development, that is not almost as random together an absent teat. Typically, the unify teat wake up in bloodlines the have evident issues v teat spacing, and also the cow frequently has carefully spaced teats on opposing side.

It is important to note that teats may likewise be amputated in one adult pet due to bad udder construction (pendulous udders deserve to be stepped on when the pet is acquiring up) and likewise may be shed as a result of excessive frost bite.

NOTES: Udder configuration is of great importance in both beef and also dairy cattle, as appropriate udder conformation allows the animal to offer a long abundant life.

Extra teats are usual in cattle, have the right to be quickly removed, and have very tiny impact top top the animal if they room not removed. Udder choice in Dexters has actually been lacking through the years and there are very few Dexters who have actually extra teats together their only udder imperfection.

Missing teats are much rarer, yet probably an ext serious. Sometimes missing teats stand for a unify teat due to poor teat spacing in the bloodline. Poor teat spacing provides it an overwhelming to milk the animal by hand or machine; and also in significant cases, the calves have to suck two teats at once.

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Udder attachments should be strong in order to save an pet productive for the long productive lifespan we suppose from Dexters. Without ideal udder support a cow’s udder will fall below her hocks; risking injury, limiting movement, and making it daunting for her to it is in milked or nurse a calf.