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Jersey cows are easy keepers and great milk producers.
The Jersey cattle breed originated on the English Channel island of Jersey, and was first recorded as a separate breed around 1700 in England. Three other cattle breeds are native to the British Channel Islands including the Alderney, which is sadly extinct, and the Guernsey.
A relatively small breed of dairy cattle, brown Jersey cows are known for the high butterfat content of their milk, as well as their heat tolerance, superior grazing ability, and docile temperament that makes them perfect for the island life. Purebred Jerseys often have a white band around its muzzle and a dark switch (hair on the tail). While Jersey cows have very gentle dispositions, Jersey bulls can act aggressively, often more so than other male dairy bulls.
The Jersey breed generally cost less to maintain than other larger breeds due to their lower bodyweight and small size, high fertility, and they calve with ease with a low rate of dystocia (obstructed labor). Their Jersey milk production is also admirable for cow breeds in America. The breed society, American Jersey Cattle Club, was formed in 1868.
They are, however, more prone to post-parturient hypocalcaemia (or “milk fever“), which means there is lower levels of calcium in the mother cow’s milk. If a cow has this disease, the calf will need more attention.
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Jersey cows usually weigh between 880 and 1,100 pounds, with bulls weighing between 1,200 - 1,800 pounds. For both cows and bulls, a medium weight is preferred.
Jersey cattle have long, straight top lines, and are generally level at the rump, deep in the body and full and deep in the barrel. Bulls are muscular around their crests and shoulders and are less refined than females.
Jersey cows come in many colors. They can be anywhere from a very light gray or mouse color to a dark fawn or almost black. Both bulls and females are usually darker around the hips, head and shoulders than on the body.
Jerseys are typically refined around the head and shoulder, though bulls are less so than females.
With their genial, docile and inquisitive nature, Jersey cattle are prized for their temperament. However, they can be a little more nervous than other dairy breeds, and Jersey bulls are known to have the least docile temperament of the common cattle breeds.
Jersey cattle can fall prey to the common ailments of any cattle breed, such as worms, scours, mastitis, and bloat.
Body Image: Boulder Ridge Farm
Do you have dairy cows? Have you ever been to the Isle of Jersey? Show or tell us in the comments below!
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