The scientific name of Jersey cow is “BOS TAURUS”. They are small in size, docile, curious and attractive. They can be handled easily. They are very popular and are found almost everywhere in India. They are highly in demand because of high milk production and lower maintenance. They are calm but tend to be more nervous than other cow breeds. These are recommended for first time owners and marginal pastures. A Dexter is a breed of cow which was originally bred from Jersey. And it is so small that it can live indoors as a pet.
These are a smallest breed of dairy cattle. They were originated on the British Channel Islands of Jersey and are the oldest dairy breeds.They were first recognized as a separate breed around 1700 and were purebred cattle for around six centuries.
The export of cattle and semen were the most important economic resource for Jersey. To avoid the tariff on French cattle, the cattles were first exported from France to Jersey and then to England and onwards. Sometimes the exported cattles were of inferior quality. And this brought the price and reputation of Jersey cattle down day by day. Then, in 1789 the law prohibited the import of foreign cattle in order to maintain the purity of this breed.
The average height of a Jersey Cow ranges from 46 inches(117 cm) to 48 inches(122 cm). And their weight ranges from 540 kg to 820 kg of males and 400 kg to 500 kg of females. Sometimes, these cows weighs 800 pounds i.e., 362 kg. But then they are not used for dairy frequently as compared to larger ones.
The color in Jersey cows varies from light grey to dark fawn and also a shade of black and red and lighter underside.
These cows are the outstanding producers of milk. Their milk contains richest content as compared to other cattle. And they also produces more amount of milk than other dairy animals on less feed. The milk contains high butter-fat. On an average one glass of milk of Jersey cows produced contains 15 to 20 percent more proteins, 15 to 18 percent more calcium and also 10 to 12 percent more phosphorus with high amount of Vitamin B12 as compared to other dairy animals.
The lifespan of Jersey cow depends on the conditions in which they live. An average lifespan of cattle is 18 years to 22 years. But Jersey cow live upto 25 years or more. Jersey in commercial dairy herds do not live as long as those in homestead.
The Jersey cow are adaptable to climate and geographical conditions. They are also distributed worldwide i.e., from Denmark to Australia and New Zealand, from Canada to South America and from South Africa to Japan. As compared to other breeds Jerseys are more tolerant to heat. They prefer to live in shade and their preferred temperature is 4°C.