Other common names: Dunlop cattle; Cunninghame cattle
The Ayrshire cattle breed originated in the County of Ayr in Scotland, sometime before 1800. The breed was first brought to the United States by Henry W. Hills, of Windsor, Connecticut around 1822.
Appearance / health:
Ayrshires are reddish-brown and white. The red can be an orange to a dark brown, with or without colored legs. The color markings vary from nearly all red to nearly all white.
Like other livestock, cattle require regular vaccinations and inoculations (for example, rabies inoculations) for disease prevention and health management. Similar to other mammals, cows can suffer a variety of ailments and health issues. A veterinarian should be on call and provide regular checkups and monitoring for the entire herd.
Behavior / temperament:
Cattle are docile animals that have strong maternal instincts. They are big and bulky, and could, therefore, inflict harm without intending to. Handling and brushing them constantly while juvenile will help train them to be calm and trusting around humans, which is helpful especially when they need to be attended to by the veterinarian or groomer.
Housing / diet:
Ayrshire Cattle are strong and rugged, and excel in foraging for themselves under adverse feeding or climatic conditions.
A good quality pasture for grazing is the basic dietary requirement of cattle. The recommended pasture size per cow is 10 acres, without which, the diet should be supplemented with hay. The recommended quantity of hay is an average of 2% of the animal’s body weight per day (or 2 lbs. of hay per 100 lbs. of body weight). Supplements include grain mixes, protein and mineral cubes, and salt blocks, depending on the type of cow, its uses, and the local climate.
Providing a constant supply of fresh water is essential. An adult cow consumes an estimate of up to 20 gallons of water per day.
great milk cow, nice 4H project, good udders, family cow Ayrshires, long productive life
smaller milk return
moderate size, pretty docile breed, sweet fluid milk, high protein content
As dairy farmers, my husband and I, have owned many different breeds, over the years. Our herds have never been limited to just one breed, as we do experiment with cross breeding. Ayshire cattle are one of my favorite breeds. The cattle ore very colorful and each has it's own unique, red and white pattern. Sometimes the red is sort of a burnt sienna color.
The breed originated in the highlands of Scotland. Over the centuries, it evolved to become very hardy and adaptable to extreme weather conditions.
We live in Vermont. The winters can be very harsh here, Subzero temps with a lot of snow and ice. Spring is usually very wet and cool. The summers are usually dry, hot, and humid. Also, we have a lot of rocky meadows and hills. The Ayshires do well here because of their adaptability.
A mature bull Ayshire will weigh around 1500 lbs. A mature cow around 1200 lbs, While they can be used for beef, the quality of the meat is not as good as a lot of other breeds. The meat is usually slightly stringy and tougher than most. However, for hamburger and stew it works fine.
The Ayshire's worth is in it's milk. Their milk has moderate butterfat and high protein content. My cows produce on average 9 gallons of milk per day each. With milk prices steadily dropping, good producers are essential.
While not the best producers, they make up for it by reproducing well. Ayshires have a lot of twin births, and also have a pretty easy time calving.
Temperment wise, they are not by nature as docile as Holsteins, but that is compensated by their hardiness..
From PeggyG Apr 13 2015 5:04PM
Not a bad cow but not the most efficient choice
We run a small homestead and milk one or two cows just for milk and dairy for the home, no commercial sales (although I have worked on large dairies in the past).
For us we look for a cow with good health, good feed conversion, and efficiency. We don't try to push our cows to make all the milk they possibly can, because we simply don't need that much, and so our cows live pretty stress-free. We expect a decent production on good feeds but without having to push high-priced grains too much. In fact our cows milk primarily on a high-quality, high-protein balage from an excellent local farmer and are only supplemented with grain to keep tone and condition.
The Ayrshire we had here was a show cow of our niece. She was a pretty, big girl who gave a moderate amount of milk. She milked somewhere around the same but normally less than our Jersey given the same diet and conditions (in fact she got more grain for her size). The milk quality was good but her solids were softer and a bit less than the Jersey. I wouldn't complain about it in the least and she made tasty sweet fluid milk, but wasn't quite up to par with the Jersey for things like butter, cream, and cheese. She also dropped off in production much faster in her lactation.
Overall, she was a good cow but for our purposes we felt we were feeding a lot of body for a smaller milk return, and she just wasn't the most efficient cow we could keep, so in the long run she made our milk supply more expensive. She looks good in the show ring, though ;).
From MaryW Jul 18 2014 7:31AM