Jersey cows are great milk producers, making them a popular option for farms all over the country. In fact, they are relatively easy to care for and are very gentle cows. If anyone is considering adding cows to their farm or is looking to expand their current herd, Jersey cows could be a really great option.
The Jersey breed generally cost less to maintain than other larger breeds due to their lower body weight and small size, high fertility, and they calve with ease with a low rate of dystocia. Their Jersey milk production is also admirable for cow breeds in America.
Jersey cows are among the most recognizable cattle in the world. The little dairy breed originates from the Channel Island of Jersey of course, with the first official records dating back to around 1700. They are the second most popular dairy breed in the world.
CHARACTERISTICS OF JERSEY COW
These are economical characteristics that give Jersey cow an edge over other cattle breeds. The cut across all the production potentials and characters needed for a good herd.
#1. AGE AND MATURATION ADVANTAGE
The Jersey breed has great longevity, cutting down the need for replacement costs for herds! This also allows for more lactations during the lifetime of cows. While most cattle live between 18 to 22 years, it’s not unusual for Jerseys to live 25 years or more. The oldest Jersey cow recorded was 37 years old living at an animal rescue center in the United Kingdom. Jersey cows reach productive age earlier, often bearing a calf months earlier than other dairy breeds.
Jersey cattle have excellent resistance against disease. Cases of mastitis and dystocia are very low, with some studies showing that Jerseys are half as likely to suffer from udder problems compared to Holstein Friesians. This is handy for farmers who want to keep their herds healthy and productive. They have high fertility rates and mature early. Many cows give birth for the first time after they reach 19 months. The calving interval also remains short.
#2. MILK QUANTITY
A Jersey will usually produce 3-5 gallons of milk per day. This is a more manageable amount of milk than the 9 plus gallons a day a Holstein can produce. 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. Their efficiency in converting grass to high-quality milk at low costs is an attractive trait. As well as this, some claim that Jerseys leave a carbon footprint that is 20% smaller than the average cow.
#3. ORPHAN ADOPTION
Jerseys are quick to adopt and mother anyone who looks needy. You don’t have to tie them up, pen them, or “encourage” them to accept a new calf. A Jersey cow is a natural mommy and it doesn’t seem to matter if the calf came from her loins or the sale barn. She will adore it.
#4. JERSEY COWS ARE COOPERATIVE
Jerseys are easy to work with. They run to the milk barn, and they’ll follow one anywhere. They stay in a pasture, even if there is only one line of barbwire between them and freedom. Easy to lead, easy to keep in, easy to control. While Jersey cows have very gentle dispositions, Jersey bulls can act aggressively, often more so than other male dairy bulls. Apart from common cases of milk fever, the calving process is generally unproblematic.
Jersey cattle are small at birth, weighing only around 25kg, which makes it easier on the dam. Jersey cows are known for being extremely docile. Their pleasant temperament makes them a popular addition to farms. However, they can be quite nervous and flighty compared to other breeds.
#5. TASTY MEAT
Jersey cow’s meat is the best beef there is. The beef is off the charts awesome. It is juicy, tender, and well-marbled.
#6. EASY TO MILK
Because of their gentle temperaments, Jerseys are very enjoyable in the milking parlor. If you are an expert milker, you will thoroughly enjoy your time in the milk barn. If you are a newbie milker, Jersey will patiently stand tied up in the barn for an hour while you try to figure out how on earth you are supposed to get the milk out of the udder. Their milk is considered quite a luxury product across Britain and other countries.
It has a high butterfat content of 4.84% which is 25% more than average milk, and protein reaches about 3.95%, which is 18% more than other breeds’ products. Jersey milk also has 25% more calcium than average. A Jersey cow usually produces about 5,000kg of milk per year. This adds up to about 200,000 glasses of milk in one cow’s lifetime. However, there are some high-standard exceptions that can produce around 9,000kg.
Jersey milk is unique in many ways. As a product, it contains 18% more protein, 20% more calcium, 25% more butterfat than “average” milk. Jerseys are well-known to be less susceptible to lameness because of their black hoof color which makes their hooves very hard. Purebred Jerseys often have a white band around its muzzle and a dark switch. Their coat is usually fawn, but they can range from nearly black to a pale tan color.
This darker color in Jerseys is often called Mulberry. Switches and mouths are usually black, with white hair around the muzzle and in other patches. Their hooves are black and tough. Jerseys can adapt very well to extreme temperatures. They can thrive in the hottest parts of South America, but their coat can thicken during cold winters.
Jerseys are small in comparison with other dairy breeds. If you have young children or are just a little apprehensive about working with a 1000 plus pound animal, a Jersey is a good solution. The Jersey cows are small-framed, with bulls weighing no more than 820kg on average, while cows weigh about 500kg at most. Their frames are quite dainty, making them an attractive little breed; not to mention their striking long eyelashes.
Other Characteristics are:
- The Jersey cattle are relatively a smaller sized dairy cattle breed.
- Their body color is usually slightly red, deep brown, or mixed.
- They have a relatively long sized head, and they usually have no hunchback.
- The tail of the Jersey cattle is black and as a dairy breed, their udder is usually big.
- Their black, sturdy hooves also make lameness a rare problem in the breed.
it’s also worth noting that Jersey bulls are actually among the most aggressive of the entire bovine species. It’s vital to take caution around these animals. It’s important to remember that Jersey dams and calves are more likely to suffer from ‘milk fever’ than their continental counterparts. This is more accurately explained as post-parturient hypocalcemia.
Symptoms such as weakness, unsteadiness, and excessive attempts to keep lying down after calving should be noted with caution. Many researchers say that changing the dam’s diet before calving can help prevent milk fever, but since this illness can be fatal, please be sure to contact your vet if you have any concerns.