Meet Your Dairy Cows
This site isn’t called “The Cow Locale” for nothin’…it’s time we introduce you to:
“The Big 6” – that is to say the most popular breeds of dairy cattle
Holsteins hail from Holland and first made it to the US (not on their own steam of course), in 1621. They are black and white, weigh 1500lbs at maturity and, on average, produce the most milk of the dairy breeds.
Jerseys are the smallest of the dairy breeds weighing in at about 900lbs, but they produce milk with the highest protein and fat content – great for making cheese. They come from the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel. Most commonly fawn in color, they may have white markings (and on rare occasions can be mostly white).
Ayrshires came to the US from Scotland in 1822. Their color varies from light to deep cherry red, mahogany, brown or a combination. Most have some white markings, and some are all white. They weigh about 1200lbs when mature.
Brown Swiss don a silvery-brown coat that varies from light to dark. They come from Switzerland and equal in size and weight to Holsteins.
Guernseys also come from an island in the English Channel off the coast of France. Their milk, like their coloring, is distinctively golden and they weigh just over 1100lbs.
This breed originated in Northeastern England and arrived in the US in 1783. These cattle are a combination of red and white. Mature Shorthorns weigh 1400lbs
But Daniel McKee has a different favorite. He has always had an interest in cow breeds and his family’s herd of dairy cattle in Tridell, UT is made up of Holsteins, Brown Swiss, Normande, and Dutch Belted. His goal is to have 80 head of Dutch Belted cattle in the coming years. Though they produce slightly less milk than a Holstein, he feels that their eating habits, longevity, hardiness, and milk quality is a key advantage. Daniel says that the smaller fat globules seem to make digestion easier on some people.