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
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.