About Jersey Cattle
Jersey Cattle, or Alderney Cattle,
are a small breed of dairy cattle from Jersey, a small British island in the
English Channel off the coast of France. They are popular because their milk
has high butterfat content and they are lower maintenance cattle. They are one
of the oldest breeds of dairy breeds – they originated nearly six centuries ago.
They were brought to the United States in the 1850's.
Jersey herds are found from
Denmark to Australia and New Zealand, from Canada to South America, and from
South Africa to Japan. They are excellent grazers and perform well in intensive
grazing programs. They are more tolerant of heat than the larger breeds. With
an average weight of 900 pounds, the Jersey produces more pounds of milk per
pound of body weight than any other breed. Most Jerseys produce far in excess
of 13 times their bodyweight in milk each lactation.
Jersey bulls, while smaller, are
extremely masculine. They are quite muscular about their crests and shoulders
and are considerably less refined throughout than females. The same general
qualities of straight lines and diary conformation are found in the cows.
Jerseys Cows come in
a wide range of colors, from a very light gray to a very dark fawn to almost
black. Both the bulls and females are commonly darker about the hips and about
the head and shoulders than on the body. Most breeders slightly prefer the
medium shades of color to the extremes, but nearly all of them realize that type
and producing ability are far more important than the shade of color or whether
the color is solid or broken.