All cows are not alike. In the cattle industry there are some very specific classifications of cattle.
What is a cow?
The general term that people use for cattle is cows. A cow is a female that is usually at least two years old, which has already given birth to at least two calves. Because cows are prized for the health of the calves they produce, they often have a longer lifespan to allow them to reproduce more healthy calves. Cow hides have a higher likelihood of having grain defects because cows are exposed to the elements longer than other types of cattle. These qualities lead to thicker skins that are large in size, but with areas of more stretch in the fibers from giving birth. These two different types of fibers found in cow skins allow for flexibility in the finished leather product.
What is a heifer?
Heifers on the other hand are young cows that have not given birth to any calves but have matured beyond the calf stage of development. Heifers are between one and three years of age. This means that heifers are smaller than cows and do not have the areas of stretched skin across their bellies. Heifer skins are less likely to have grain defects because heifers are younger than cows. Heifer hides are usually a nice balance between the thin suppleness of calf skins and the thick resiliency of steer hides.
When facing the choice between a cow or heifer hide it may help to consider what job the finished project is intended to perform. For products that will undergo a great deal of stress, like work boots, shoes, or straps. A cow skin would be the best choice because the additional thickness of the hide will translate to stronger leather. For projects where the soft feel of the leather is important, such as handbags, garments, or dress shoes, choose a heifer skin because the thinner skin will allow for a more supple leather that will feel comfortable from the first use.
IC Markets International Ltd is not only a supplier of quality cattle hides we also provide you with high quality lamb skins to be make luxurious, soft leather. When you’re ready to make your hide purchases contact us to see how we can meet your needs.