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A wooden yoke, bows, and chain as used by a pair of bullocks or oxen in a team.

An oxbow is a U-shaped metal pole (or larger wooden frame) that fits the underside and the sides of the neck of an ox or bullock. A bow pin holds it in place.

Developed form[edit]

Its upper ends pass through a purpose-drilled hole through the bar of the yoke that is held in place into the yoke with a metal screw or key, called a bow pin. Where wood is used it is most often hardwood steamed into shape, especially elm, hickory or willow. A ring, enabling left/right movement controlled from the centre, is attached by a plate to the centre underside of a wooden yoke to enable a pair of bullocks/oxen to be chained to any other pairs in a team and to be hitched to the load behind the animal team.[1][2][3]

Uses of the yoke and oxbows[edit]

The load is a plough or any other dragged, non-motorised, field agricultural machinery.[3]


Wooden staves can be used instead with a yoke, which is then termed a withers yoke, named after animals with high backs (withers) (e.g. zebu cattle) which pull mostly on the yoke part of the equipment, not as greatly on the bow shape borne by the stronger front quarters of oxen and bullocks.

Derived terms[edit]

When rivers meander and are sometimes cut off from their course, they form an oxbow lake which is so named because of the distinctive "U" shape.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roosenberg, Richard (1992). "Britchen, Brakes, Head Yokes for restraining loads behind oxen" (PDF). TechGuides. Tillers International. Retrieved May 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ Roosenberg, Richard (1997). "Yoking and Harnessing Single Cattle" (PDF). TechGuides. Tillers International. Retrieved May 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. ^ a b "Harnessing draught animals" (PDF). A Guide for Farmers on Good Land Husbandry. Zimbabwe Farmers Union; Department for Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex). Retrieved May 2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)