Jersey cattle were originally referred to as Alderney cattle. They are from the Island of Jersey in the English Channel.
An old breed, they have been known for over 600 years. Their exact development are not known however they most likely had origins from the French cattle breeds of the Normandy and Brittany regions of the French coast, as they resemble some of those breeds and also Jersey was originally joined to France by a narrow isthmus until about A.D 709.
In the 19th century, news spread of the milk production abilities and the Jersey was introduced to many countries around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and Latin America. They still maintain their status as one of the most popular breeds in the world.
On the Island of Jersey itself there are around only 6000 Jerseys in total. Jerseys are the only breed of cattle on the island as there is a ban on the import of cattle for the last 150 years, in an effort to maintain the purity of the breed.
Excellent dairy producing cattle. Some regard Jerseys as the best producer of kilograms of milk per kilograms of body weight than any other breed, they can produce up to 13 times their body weight in milk per year. Their milk is rich in nutrients, protein, minerals and trace elements. Their milk is rich in colour from the carotene pigments found in grass, that they naturally gain from grazing on pastures.
Colour is variable, from light grey to dark fawn or almost black, with usually a darker colouration around the mouth, feet, switch and sometimes legs. Smaller breed with an average weight around 400 kg to 450 kg. Bulls can be very muscular and between 600 and 800kg. Jersey bulls are considered more docile than other breeds (however, remember any bull can be dangerous!).
Jerseys are highly efficient feed converts, they have ease of calving, and high fertility. They have black, hard feet and sound legs and are much less prone to lameness than other breeds.
Adaptable to a variety of climates and environments. They do well on grass pastures, but also do well in intensive production. They are more heat tolerant than larger cattle breeds.
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