What do you know about Guernsey cattle? They're closely related to the Jersey cow, and their milk contains more calcium than that of other breeds!
- Guernsey cattle come from the small island of Guernsey, of course. Their homeland is located off the coast of France, in the English Channel.
- As an official breed, they’re thought to have originated back in the 1700s. Some reports say that they were developed from Froment du Léon cattle and Normandy cattle.
- Guernsey cattle are categorised as a sub-type of European blonde cattle, along with Jersey cattle.
- These cattle are admired for their aesthetically delicate looks. They are usually golden in colour, but can be red or white. Their gait is graceful, helped by their strong back, broad rump and steady hind-quarters. Cows only weigh up to 500kg, while bulls weigh no more than 700kg on average.
- Guernsey cattle rarely get nervous or flighty, making them easy to manage. However, it’s important to always be cautious around all bulls, regardless of breed! Check out our article on Bull Safety to remind yourself of the necessary precautions.
- Speaking of Guernsey bulls, they have plenty of muscling and vigour, and always breed well.
- Heifers can be milked after they reach 24 months, and calve with few problems after they reach 22 months.
- Offspring are relatively large at birth, meaning that they act as sturdy calves from the outset.
- Guernsey cattle are resistant to many health problems, especially those caused by sun exposure! Their light colouring means that they rarely overheat.
- After years of selective breeding, they have become very efficient milk producers that lack any inheritable genetic faults.
- Their milk is famous for its yellow colour and outstanding quality! Nicknamed ‘Golden Guernsey’ for this reason, these cows produce high levels of milk using just 70% of the feed that larger cattle may need!
- As well as being golden in colour, Guernsey milk also has the Kappa Casein B gene, which improves cheese quality, as well as 12% more protein, 33% more Vitamin D, 25% more Vitamin A, 30% more cream, and 15% more calcium than most milk!
For a more general overview of how to choose a breed that suits your farm, you can also read our article on Beef Cattle: Choosing the Right Breed for You.