Ageing and teeth:

Finding the age of cattle is very important for livestock trading, as there are age limits in markets. To determine the age of cattle, we count the number of permanent teeth. Cattle are born with milk (‘baby’) teeth, but these are soon replaced by permanent teeth.

Milk teeth – 0-24 months
2 teeth – 18-30 months
4 teeth – 24-36 months
6 teeth – 30-42 months
8 teeth – 36 months onwards

If the mouth is full of worn teeth, this indicates the cattle’s age is about 7 years. After 8 years, some teeth may be broken, and after 9 years the cattle will usually have a gummy mouth with hardly any teeth.


Fig 2.: Cattle Dentition Chart (

Cattle Dentition Chart (

Determining the age:

Stand to the side of the cattle as you bring your hand around the other side of the head and hold the nostrils with your hand. You are free to use your other hand to check the number of teeth by slipping your hand into the mouth, keeping it open.