Jersey cows are valuable across the globe as dairy cows. In fact, they produce more milk per pound of body weight than any other breed of cow. While Holsteins out-produce Jerseys in sheer volume, Jersey cows have superior feed to milk conversion and one of the highest cream percentages in the dairy industry. Their abilities to make more milk on less feed makes the Jersey very valuable in areas where feed is limited. Jerseys are also known for their calving ease and disease resistance.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Family - Bovidae
Subfamily - Bovinae
Genus - Bos
Species - B. taurus
Common Name - Jersey
One of the prettiest dairy cows, Jerseys have delicate, feminine faces and lovely brown eyes surrounded by long lashes. Jersey cows are small, ranging in size from 900 pounds to 1200 pounds. The bulls range in weight from 1200 to 1800 pounds. Jerseys are normally a fawn or cream color, but they also can be black or silver colored. Jersey cows always have a black nose bordered by a white muzzle.
Jersey cattle reach sexual maturity earlier than many other breeds of cattle. The females can breed as early as 8-9 months of age, but owners usually manage them so that they are not pregnant before 15 months old. Bulls are viable around 9-12 months of age. Like all cows, Jerseys are pregnant for nine months. In most herds, cows usually deliver their first calves around 22-24 months of age.
Jersey females are fairly docile as compared to beef animals, but they are more nervous than breeds like the Holstein. The cows are seldom aggressive to humans, but they can be a bit flighty. Jersey bulls are reputed to be one of the most dangerous breeds of bull. They are notoriously aggressive and have been known to seriously injure or even kill people.
Jersey cows originated on a small island in the English channel called Jersey. They are one of the oldest cattle breeds, being selectively bred and managed for over 600 years. These lovely cows share ancient blood with breeds like the Guernsey and Normandy.
In the 1850s Jerseys were brought to the United States and have spread across the globe because of their ready adaptation to many climates. There are large populations of Jersey cows in the United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The breed is protected on the Isle of Jersey; there are no other breeds of cattle permitted on the island to protect the purity of the bloodlines.