Herd


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herd

a large group of mammals living and feeding together, esp a group of cattle, sheep, etc.

Herd

 

a group of beef cattle.

Animals in a herd are selected according to sex, age, liveweight, and fattiness. Herds are formed during the zootechnical and veterinary examination of the cattle before the beginning of pasturing. The size of the herds in meat sovkhozes is 150–200 head of younger animals, 150–200 head of fattened adult animals in steppe regions, and 100–150 in forest and forest-steppe regions. Each herd is managed by a team of two to four herdsmen.


Herd

 

(1) A group of mammals of the same species with interdependent behavior; that is, they remain close to one another for a significant period of time, behave similarly, often have the same rhythm of activity (for example, the simultaneous diving of whales), and travel in the same direction. Herd formation is characteristic of cetaceans, artiodactyls, perissodactyls, and monkeys. The composition (in terms of age and sex) and size of a herd fluctuate, thereby distinguishing herds from other groups of animals with interdependent behavior, for example, families and harems.

The maximum size of a herd is determined by the possibilities for mutual coordination of behavior. A herd may consist of dozens of individuals among whales and monkeys and 1,500 to 2,000 individuals among ungulates (for example, reindeer, saiga, and gnu). The largest herds are formed during seasonal migrations, after which they break up into smaller groups (families, harems). The animals in a herd orient themselves by the behavior of their neighbors (signals of the presence of food, appearance of a predator). Following the example of its leader, a herd may select a safer route during flight from a predator or during travel toward a watering place or shelter, especially during the migration period. Imitation of nearby individuals predominates in the behavior of many herd members over free decision-making, which is characteristic of solitary animals.

When animals are in a herd they permit man to approach fairly closely and possibly to control them. The patterns of herd behavior are widely used in pasture livestock raising, since domesticated hoofed animals are usually gregarious.

L. M. BASKIN

(2) A group of animals kept together on a farm for maintenance, fattening, or pasturing, for example, a herd of beef cattle or a herd of horses.

(3) The total number of animals of one species on a farm. The composition (sex, age, and production groups of animals), purpose, and periods of use of a herd vary with the organizational and economic conditions of herd reproduction. The necessary composition is maintained by planned rotation of the herd.

herd

[hərd]
(vertebrate zoology)
A number of one kind of wild, semidomesticated, or domesticated animals grouped or kept together under human control.
References in classic literature ?
The herd paused for an instant at the edge of the slope, but Akela gave tongue in the full hunting-yell, and they pitched over one after the other, just as steamers shoot rapids, the sand and stones spurting up round them.
They knew what the business was before them--the terrible charge of the buffalo herd against which no tiger can hope to stand.
The dark forms of the herd lost their distinctness, and then the naturalist began to fancy he beheld a wild collection of all the creatures of the world, rushing upon him in a body, as if to revenge the various injuries, which in the course of a life of indefatigable labour in behalf of the natural sciences, he had inflicted on their several genera.
Now fare you well, good Sheriff," he said, "and when next you think to despoil a poor prodigal, remember the herd you would have bought over against Gamewell.
The balance of the frightful herd was now circling rapidly and with bewildering speed about the little knot of victims.
Again the herd started, but unfortunately for them about a hundred yards further on was a nullah, or dried-out water track, with steep banks, a place very much resembling the one where the Prince Imperial was killed in Zululand.
They made a tremendous racket as they passed through the trees in an endeavor to suggest to enemies in their front that a great herd was approaching, for when the baboons travel in large numbers there is no jungle creature who cares to molest them.
I drove the little herd (a dozen strong, now, what of the escapes she had permitted) a hundred yards farther on; and by the time she joined me I had finished the slaughter and was beginning to skin.
For if," said he, "you throw among five YAHOOS as much food as would be sufficient for fifty, they will, instead of eating peaceably, fall together by the ears, each single one impatient to have all to itself; and therefore a servant was usually employed to stand by while they were feeding abroad, and those kept at home were tied at a distance from each other: that if a cow died of age or accident, before a HOUYHNHNM could secure it for his own YAHOOS, those in the neighbourhood would come in herds to seize it, and then would ensue such a battle as I had described, with terrible wounds made by their claws on both sides, although they seldom were able to kill one another, for want of such convenient instruments of death as we had invented.
A herd of buffalo, startled by his approach, rose ready to charge or to fly.
Some of our officers likewise saw a herd apparently drinking the briny fluid from a salina near Cape Blanco.
If food was scanty, we regaled ourselves with the hope of soon falling in with herds of buffalo, and having nothing to do but slay and eat.