Non-specific singular term for cattle

I did a search and couldn’t find a thread for this (even though it seems vaguely familiar), so apologies if this has been covered before.

We know the variations as cow, bull, steer, calf etc, but each of these is quite specific in meaning. Is there a non-specific singular noun for a unit of cattle, other than a “head of cattle”? One that doesn’t carry extra meaning of gender, age, virginity, testicular status?

My favorite proposed term is land whale.

Bovine? Hamburger?

Ah. Thanks. So the choices are cow or beef… or possibly Land Whale. There’s no real consensus across the bovine product industry. Might I humbly suggest meat monster?

I still think most educated people don’t blink at “kine”, although ranchers no longer use it. (One of those threads taught me one of my favorite plurals, beeves!)

As in the linked thread, beast. Dad would, say, ring the butcher to book in our freezer beast (a juicy 18 month heifer) for slaughter and packaging.

On reflection though, perhaps beast was only used for cattle ready for slaughter. I’ll need to confirm that.

As cattle are a herd animal, we very rarely had one “cattle” on it’s own. It would go crazy , running around, or jumping fences. So there would be a minimum of 3 together. Which was a bit tough for the other 2 watching the tasty heifer get one in the head. But man, tasty meat wins out.

Dairy cows were a bit better, but they didn’t like being away from their mates either.

That’s all a bit off track, but what I’m trying to say is that we rarely had one cow/steer/bull/calf on it’s own, so rarely needed a “singular” description. The times we did, we refered to it’s proper name. I’d say to Dad that a steer is sick, or he’d say the cow has calved. That sort of thing.

I’m not from rural Australia, but work with people who are. They would only say “cow” if they were meaning to make specific reference to sex. Otherwise, an undistinguished bovine is invariably a “beast”.