Literature sources state as many as 50% that domestic cattle have much more than 4 teats, recognized as supernumerary teats. Extra teats may be component of a very small milk gland, or have no milk gland underneath. This is not distinct to cattle, and also is one of the mysteries that the advance of mammals; in fact, plenty of humans have an ext than two nipples, but do not realize it, reasoning they have actually a little brown mole on their chest or abdomen.

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Normal teats and also extra teats monitor the exact same “milk line.” The milk line is 2 imaginary rows follow me which teats can form on the developing fetus. This is why the extra teats on cattle typically type in a line behind the primary 4 teats, in the same row formation.

Dairy livestock are selected for basic machine-milking, and also “show cattle” are selected for a clean appearance. Both objectives usually an outcome in the remove of extra teats, best in a an extremely young calf. Due to the fact that most commercial dairy livestock are dehorned together calves, dairymen simply check for extra teats in ~ the time the dehorning, and, if present, snip castle off.

HOW space EXTRA TEATS INHERITED? This has actually never been determined. It is clear extra teats room not a single-gene trait that have the right to be conveniently “bred out” like, say, PHA. Some write-ups refer come an development of gene that arisen when cattle started to be selected because that milk lengthy ago. Rather have recorded an increased frequency that extra teats in calves born come older cows, and proposed the exposure of the emerging fetus to differing hormone level may boost or decrease the likelihood the extra teats. Due to the fact that it is unknown just how the trait is inherited, how plenty of genes contribute, or what other factors are involved; it is very an overwhelming to select against.


This dried cow still shows a poor rear udder attachment, resulting in the udder to reminder forward. Funnel teats room wedge shame on a dried cow, and also balloon out during the first couple weeks of each lactation.

DO EXTRA TEATS average THE animal HAS A negative UDDER? A negative rear udder attachment causes the cow’s udder to pointer forward. Weak average suspension reasons the teats to point out to the sides. A negative front udder attachment reduces capacity. Funnel teats make it complicated for a child calf to nurse and receive sufficient colostrum. All these defects come to be increasingly worse through each lactation, making an udder at risk to injury and challenging to milk or nurse. These defects are virtually unknown in commercial dairy product cattle, but plague our Dexters. Extra teats, ~ above the various other hand, are greatly a cosmetic issue and also can it is in snipped off, if desired. They reason no actual damage to the animal.

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


The opposite case is when an animal has much less than 4 teats. This is a much rarer occurrence, and has numerous causes.

In some cases of a congenitally “three-teated-cow,” the gland is present yet has no corresponding teat, due to a difficulty that developed within the developing fetus. It is commonly a prior teat the is missing. The lack of a teat will result in a quarter that will engorge through milk when the cow freshens, but due to the fact that there is no exit suggest for the milk, the milk will be resorbed and also the quarter will cease to it is in active. This bike will normally repeat because that each lactation.

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

Another reason of a absent teat is in reality a severe instance of bad teat spacing. If friend look in ~ an impacted animal closely, 2 teats native the very same side of the udder space so near together, they have actually actually fused. Sometimes there is evidence of the fusion: There might be two orifices in the “super-teat,” or there might even be a vertical cleft. Return this is quiet an concern with fetal development, it is not virtually as random together an lacking teat. Typically, the unify teat wake up in bloodlines the have noticeable issues through teat spacing, and also the cow regularly has very closely spaced teats on the contrary side.

It is necessary to keep in mind that teats may also be amputated in an adult pet due to bad udder configuration (pendulous udders have the right to be stepped on as soon as the pet is gaining up) and also may be lost as a result of extreme frost bite.

NOTES: Udder conformation is of good importance in both beef and dairy cattle, as ideal udder conformation enables the animal to offer a long fertile life.

Extra teats are typical in cattle, deserve to be quickly removed, and have very small impact top top the pet if they are not removed. Udder choice in Dexters has been doing not have through the years and there space very few Dexters who have extra teats together their just udder imperfection.

Missing teats are much rarer, but probably much more serious. Sometimes missing teats stand for a fused teat early to bad teat spacing in the bloodline. Bad teat spacing provides it daunting to milk the animal by hand or machine; and in major cases, the calves must suck 2 teats at once.

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Udder attachments should be solid in bespeak to keep an pet productive because that the long fertile lifespan we expect from Dexters. Without proper udder assistance a cow’s udder will fall below her hocks; risking injury, limiting movement, and also making it complicated for she to it is in milked or nurse a calf.