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Guernsey cows

Hi, Cow Fans

The Guernsey breed of cattle is one of comparative recent recognition, not that animals of the present Guernsey characteristics have not been in existence for a considerable time, but rather that since their qualities and adaptations were so similar to those of the Jersey, the two breeds were, during a considerable part of the last century, considered as one breed and were spoken of a “Alderney” cattle, from the group of Alderney or Channel Islands to which the islands of Jersey and Guernsey belong.

It is sure that some interbreeding took place very early on, but since 1763 the residents of Jersey forbade the introduction of new breeding stock and Guernsey did the same in 1819.  So since then the breeds have been kept pure.  

Considerable differences now exists between the Guernsey and the Jersey.  Professor Low, writing in 1841, seems to consider the cattle from the two islands as essentially one breed, yet goes on to describe those on Guernsey Island as larger and more highly marked with orange yellow skin, and as yielding a somewhat more yellow milk and butter.  More recent investigations strongly support the theory that at some period several hudred years ago animals which were the true descendants of the “spotted cattle” or Simmenthaler, of Switzerland, had been introduced as breeding stock on the Island of Guernsey.  Not only is this supported by the larger size, quieter disposition, and more yellow secretions of the Guernsey, but also from the fact that there are at present animals possessing characteristics similar to the Guernsey and Simmenthaler on either side of the Rhine River. 

Although the Guernseys were taken at an early date to England they were used largely by the nobility, the same as were the Jerseys.

Kind regards,

Leon the Milkman

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