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Jersey

Jersey cattle are a small breed of dairy cattle. Originally bred in the Channel Island of Jersey, the breed is popular for the high butterfat content of its milk and the lower maintenance costs attending its lower bodyweight, as well as its genial disposition. Possibly the best known example of the breed outside the United Kingdom is Elsie the Cow, the famous mascot of Borden, Inc., in the United States. Her face is portrayed on cans of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, cheeses, fresh and shelf-stable milk.

The Jersey cow is quite small, ranging from only 400–500 kilograms (880–1,100 lb). The main factor contributing to the popularity of the breed has been their greater economy of production, due to:

  • The ability to carry a larger number of effective milking cows per unit area due to lower body weight, hence lower maintenance requirements, and superior grazing ability.
  • Calving ease and a relatively lower rate of dystocia, leading to their popularity in crossbreeding with other dairy and even beef breeds to reduce calving related injuries.

High fertility

High butterfat conditions, 6% butterfat and 4% protein, and the ability to thrive on locally produced food. Bulls are also small, ranging from 540 to 820 kg (1200 to 1800 pounds), and are notoriously aggressive.

Castrated males can be trained into fine oxen which, due to their small size and gentle nature make them popular with young teamsters. Jersey oxen are not as strong as larger breeds however and are generally out of favor among competitive teamsters.

Jerseys are adaptable to hot climates and are bred in the hottest parts of Brazil.

Jerseys come in all shades of brown, from light tan to almost black. They are frequently fawn in color. All purebred Jerseys have a lighter band around their muzzle, a dark switch (long hair on the end of the tail), and black hooves, although in recent years color regulations have been relaxed to allow a broadening of the gene pool.

They are calm and docile animals, but tend to be a bit more nervous than other dairy cow breeds. They are also highly recommended cows for first time owners and marginal pasture.

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