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Jersey Cattle

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The basics:
Jersey Cattle were originally bred in the Channel Island of Jersey, as descendants of local breeds from the Normandy mainland. To maintain the purity of the Jersey breed, importation of foreign breeds of cattle was prohibited in the late 1700s, lasting more than 200 years. Jersey cattle were first brought to the United States in the mid-1800s. Eventually, because of the breed’s tolerance to wide ranges of climates and habitats, Jersey cattle became common in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, South Africa, and South America.

Jersey Cattle are popular for the high butterfat content of their milk, and for their gentle disposition.

Appearance / health:
Jersey cows are relatively small cows that come in a wide range of colors from light gray to brown and tan to almost black. The muzzle is light brown, the tip of the tail is dark brown, and the hooves are black. A dark shade of color is typically seen on the hips and shoulders. Some are solid in color, while others have broken patterns.

Being small, Jersey cows are favored for their low maintenance and effective high yield of milk compared to their body size and feeding requirements.

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.

Jersey cows are favored for their small size, docile temperament, and ability to thrive even in hot climates. Bulls are known to be somewhat aggressive.

Housing / diet:
Housing for cattle is essentially to give them shelter from extreme weather conditions. Barns, rub-in sheds, stalls, and other structures like windbreaks, should be available where the cows graze. Aside from manmade shelters, trees and tall bushes can provide resting places for cattle to minimize heat stroke or wind chill.

Shelters will give the cows the option to seek safe haven from strong winds, extreme heat or cold, and heavy rains. Shelters should be strong, stable, spacious, well ventilated, and waterproof. Barns should be provided with water supply, and stalls should be lined with hay. They should also be cleaned regularly.

Sprinklers and other cooling systems are recommended for areas that overheat during summer months. Professional and humane fencing should be provided. All poisonous plants should be removed from the pasture; and hay should always be kept dry (wet hay grows molds, becoming a health hazard for cows).

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.

wonderful

maternal instinct, easy calvers, butterfat yields, Smallscale Milk Production, lower feed requirements

challenging

Cranky Cows, milk fever, bloat, grass staggers, mastitis

interesting

good meat crosses, easy keeper, big brown eyes, different climates, family milk cow

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