Channel Island Cattle (1868)

American Agriculturist 1868


agriculturist1868-02.jpg A "wild" Jersey

Mr. James P. Swain says: "I consider the cows on the island of Jersey Norman, mixed with another distinct breed, the main characteristics of each being still plainly visible, though growing less so yearly. The original, or highest type, I call the wild Jersey; the other type I consider Norman or Guernsey.
"The wild Jersey has a black nose, black tongue, and mealy muzzle; the other, a buff nose. The wild Jersey`s horns are black, pointed, firm, with single curve, forming nearly a semicircle, deeply fluted inside when taken off. The other has weak horns, shelly, yellow, waxy near the head, inclined downward, with double curve, compacted, smooth inside when taken off. The color of the female wild Jersey is chocolate, or mink color, no white spots, and the males nearly black. The others are yellowish, brown and white, star in forehead. The wild Jersey`s skin is olive brown; the other, skin very yellow, even to the end of the tail. In the wild Jersey the tail terminates in a small tuft of long hairs, the skin near the end scaly with the accumulation of coloring matter. The other, skin on tail very yellow, even to the end, where there is an accumulation of coloring matter, which the Guernsey men call "a lump of butter;" the long hair on the tail starts higher up".



Dr. L.H. Twaddell, a member of the Club, and one of the earliest breeders of Jersey cattle, visited the Channel Islands in 1865, and, soon after his return, made a report to the Philadelphia Society for promoting Agriculture, of which the following is an abstract:
“Three thousand Jersey cows and heifers, and about 1,200 Guernseys, are exported from the islands every year.
The Jersey cow is of a medium size. Her peculiar deer-like aspect distinguishes her from the Guernsey. Her head is long and slender, the muzzle fine, and usually encircled with a lighter color; the nose is black, and the large, dreamy eyes encircled with a black band; occasionally the nose is of a buff color, when there is a corresponding buff band around the eye; the horns are usually short, small at the base,, tapering, and tipped with black.
This latter is one of the requirements of “the scale of points”, and when, as occassionally happens, an animal deviates from the standard, being what is termed “wild-horned”, the Jerseyman has an appliance consisting of a strong wire clamp, with a arrangement of screws, which he affixes to the horns of the growing beast, and, by dint of filing and screwing up, eventually gives them the orthodox bend.
The limbs of the Jersey are very slender and fine, her hips broad and develope, her neck is slender and rather long, and the body in the best specimens rotund and approximating to the shorthorn model somewhat, yet with sufficient angularity to ensure milking propensities.
The abdomen is well developed, giving evidence of sound nutrition: the external abdominal or milk veins convoluted and prominent; the udder, broad, running well forward and well up behind; teats squarcely placed, rather short than otherwise, and of a fine yellow tint.
The Jerseys are of all shades of colour, from a pale yellow fawn, running through all the intermediate hues, even occasionally to a red, an intermixture of black and grey gray, known as French gray, and that merging into black with an amber-colored band along the back, the muzzle invariably shaded with a lighter color; and individuals are often seen black and white, or pure black, unrelieved by any other color.
A yellow brindle is sometimes seen, but this is by no means a favorite.
The darker colors are the most popular in England, from the belief that they are hardier in constitution and bear the climate better, but this opinion does not accord with our experience in America, where the alternations from heat to cold are much more decided and severe. Here I think I may say with safety that no difference has been observed in constitution or ability to endure our burning summer heats or the cold of our Northern winters.
The care of cows and dairy devolves entirely on the female members of the family, whilst the farmer attends to his
growing crops, or busies himself in the other duties of his little farm.
The cow are tethered with a rope passing around of the horns, with a chain and swivel attached, and are fastened to pegs driven in the ground; they are moved to fresh grass two or three times daily. Should they pe pastured in the orchards, an additional rope passes from the halter to each foreleg, and, thus tied down, they are prevented from regaling themselves with the tempting apples which load the low-hanging boughs under which they graze.
The method of milking cows is somewhat peculiar, the milking and straining the milk being done at one operation; the milkmaid, with her tin pail, linen strainer, and seashell, proceeds to the pasture; seating herself beside her cow, she soon completes her arrangements; the linen is securely tied over the narrow-mouthed tin bucket, and, placing the large shallow seashell on the strainer, with vigorous hands she directs the milky streams into the shell; quickly overflowing the shallow brim, the milk passes through the strainer into the receptacle beneath. This primitive method has been in vogue for more than a century; they claim for it the merit of perfect cleanliness.
Whilst overlooking the operation, I could understand the use of the strainer clearly enough, but the employment of the shell rather puzzled me, until the milkmaid informed me that it was to prevent the attrition of the streams of milk from wearing a hole in the strainer; this solved the mysteri.
The alves are kept stabled during the first year, and fed on green food during the summer; in the second year they are tetherede out.
The heifers are allowed to have calves at about two years old, and come in profit in April or May, when there is more demand for them in the English market.
The bulls are kept stabled all the year; in a large number that I saw not one was ringed, and I understood that it was never done in this islands; not one of those I examined was in any way vicious. M. Le Gallais (the owner of the prize bull, of Jersey, for 1865), an excellent judge, told me that in his opinion it was due to their being constantly tied up and daily handled.
The bulls are slaughtered at three years old; the opinion prevails there that the offspring of young bulls have most vigor and stamina.
In the year 1849, the Royal Jersey Agricultural Society established a scale of points for Jersey cattle as guide to the jduges in awarding the premiums. Thirty-six points established perfection. No prize can be awarded to a cow having less than 29 points, nor can one be awarded to a heifer having less than 26 points. A cow having 27 points, and a heifer 24 points, without a pedigree, are allowed to be branded, but cannot win a prize. [See note at page 9] The term pedigree is employed to signify the offspring of a prize, or decorated male or female. The brand is burned on the
horn, and are the letters J.A.S. (Jersey Agricultural Society).
Besides the Royal Jersey Society, each parish has a stock-breeders` club; the clubs hold their parish shows the month preceding the Royal Jersey; they decorate their prize winners in the same manner by branding with the initial letters of the parish and club, as, for instance, St.
Saviours`s Club, “St.S.C.” A choice cow is sometimes seen whose horns are literally covered with brands, perhaps winning Parish and Royal Jersey prizes two or three years in succession.
Many breeders will not allow their animals branded on account of the disfigurement it produces.
The Guernsey is a larger animal, coarser in the head and heavier in bone; the horns are longer and thicker at the base, not usually crumpled; the rump is more apt to assume that peculiar droop which seems a characteristic of the breed, and there is a want of that symmetry and neatness of form that mark the highly bred Jersey, but as a dairy cow she is fully her equal; for quality of milk and butter she cannot be excelled; the skin is of a splendid rich, yellow hue, and the udder and teats are tinted with chrome.
The head of the Guernsey is larger, and the muzzle broader, and the eye not so prominent as the Jersey; the nose is usually of a rich yellow or buff; the eye banded with the same color.
The colors of the Guernsey are fawn, running through the various shades to a deep red, an umber brown, and a peculiar yellow brindle, which is a favorite here.
Although larger than the Jersey, I do not think they fatten quite as kindly as the latter, which has the advantage of a smoother and more rotund form.
This thinness and want of condition may be owing in a great degree to the fact that the pasturage is less luxuriant in Guernsey, and also that the Guernseymen are less solicitous about the figure and style of their animals, being satisfied if the animal is a performer at the pail -where she seldom disappoints.
The cattle of the Island of Alderney (which is the third in size of the Channel group) have a want of uniformity, attributable to the fact that they are the offspring of stock brought from Jersey and Guernsey, crossed and recrossed until all individuality as a breed is lost.
Some are neat and deer-like; others are larger and heavier, approaching the Guernsey type.
The island being small and rocky, the pasturages scanty, very few cattle are bred, and, as a consequence, the breed does not receive the care and attention that is given on the other islands.
It is us a dairy animal that the Channel Islands cow puts forth her claim for consideration.
Coming into notice after several of the leading British breeds had acquired a world-wide celebrity, her advocates had to
contend with the prejudice of English stock-growers and dairymen, who could not be made to believe that anything not English bred could have merit. And forsooth, this stock, French bred, with true John Bull antipathy, they at once decidede must be worthless. But latterly this feeling towards their French neighbors has been wonderfully modified, and as the entente cordiale is now firmly established, Anglo-Norman cattle, among many other products from across the Channel, have found favor in England. The English dairymen have been induced to try them, and finding they produced more and better butter than the much-vaunted English breeds, have looked at the pound sterling side of the account, and, her consequence, have substituted the despised little Channel Islander for the queenly Short-Horn.”.


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