Head or Heads of Cattle?


Grammarly insists that the example sentence should be modified to read "350,000 heads". However, it is my understanding that "head" is a zero plural form when refering to cattle. Comments?

See example:

The initial small herd of 500 cattle eventually grew to 350,000 head, the largest herd of any California mission.
asked Apr 26 '11 at 19:25 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

2 answers


If you were talking about human heads, it would be heads, but as a former ranch-hand/cowboy, I have always heard cattle reffered to as head, whether talking about one cow or an entire heard, or even multiple heards.

"I bought 75 head at the cattle auction."

link comment edited Apr 18 '12 at 08:08 Tony Proano Expert

In BrE we would always say a head of cattle (meaning the whole herd)  but we wouldn't give a number of those head/heads.


The inital small herd of 500 cattle eventually grew to 350,000, the largest herd of any Californian mission.

link comment answered Apr 27 '11 at 08:54 Dave Phillips Contributor

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