Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Jersey

Synonym(s): Jersiais, Dansk Jersey, Jersey Island, Jersiaise, New Zealand Jersey, Polled Jersey, Sukthi, Svensk Jersey

Contributor(s): CABI, Vetstream Ltd, Paul Wood,

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Introduction

  • The Jersey is the smallest of all dairy breeds.
  • It was first recorded on the island of Jersey in the 1700's.
  • The Jersey is one of the most common breeds of cattle in the world.
  • The Jersey cow is recognised for its high quality milk, butterfat levels and production longevity.

Biological Data

Normal

Weight

  • Age at body maturity: 24-26 months.
  • Body weight female - mature: 375-425 kg.
  • Body weight male - birth: 22-27 kg.
  • Body weight male - mature: 500 - 850 kg.
  • Average mature body weight: 400-500kg (with American Jerseys being at the higher end of the range).

Height

  • Age at body maturity: 24-26 months.
  • Body height female - mature: 115-120 cm.
  • Body height male - mature: 120-124 cm.

Horns

  • Medium-short.

Physical description

  • The Jersey is the smallest of the major dairy breeds and is of extreme dairy conformation.
    • Fine bone structure.
    • Slender but strong legs.
    • Wide pelvis allowing for easy calving.
    • Small hooves.
  • The head has a dished profile; a ring of pale hair surrounds the dark muzzle.
  • Fine limbs and often well curved hocks.
  • Udder: well shaped, capacious and strongly attached, but may be rather deep in older cows.
  • Color:
    • Varied with extremes of pale yellow, pale grey, mulberry, through a range of shades of fawn, brown, beige often with darker tones on head and neck, especially in bulls.
    • Most are almost whole-colored but some have broken color with white.
    • Danish Jerseys range in color from light yellow to dark yellow and occasionally brindle.
    • Both sexes usually have darker hair on the hips, head and shoulders.
    • Muzzles and hooves are dark.
    • The variation in color has not been a significant factor in selection of breeding stock.

Reproductive data

  • Jerseys mature early and have a long life span.
  • In the USA, Jerseys have a lower age at first calving of 26.8 months and at seventh calving of 102.8 months.
  • Jerseys tend to have a shorter calving interval than other breeds.
  • Age at first estrus: 16.3 months. This is the lowest mean age at calving compared to Ayrshire Ayrshire, Brown-Swiss Swiss Brown, Guernsey Guernsey and Holstein Holstein cows.
  • Weight at first conception: 260 kg.
  • Birthing interval: 13-13.7 months.
  • Number of calves per pregnancy. 1 to 2 calves, although triplets have been reported in this breed.

Population

  • Total: 6,100,000.
  • Number of breeding males: 100,000.
  • Number of breeding females: 6,000,000.
  • Status: not under threat.
  • There are <6,000 on their native island of Jersey, with nearly 4,000 of these being adult milking cows.

Breed History and Information

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Societies

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Further Reading

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