by R.M. Gow - [Chapter II in The Jersey, N.Y. 1938.]
The influence of environment is revognized as a factor of the greates importance in forming the characteristics of the animal creation. Geographic position, climate, soil, land-tenure, tillage, methods of breeding, fedding and handling - all have been factors in making our domestic animals what they are, and have also controlled their distribution over the earth`s surface. As in the case of all other breeds, these have influenced the development of the Jersey breed of dairy cattle.
Geography and climate of Jersey.
- The Channel Islands lie in that great bight or bay which geological forces and the currents, winds and waves of the Atlantic Ocean have gouged out of France between Cap de la Hague and the Ile de Brehat, St. brieue Bay. The French call them Les Iles Anglo-Normandes. They consist of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, with some smaller islets and rocky reefs. Jersey is the most southerly of the group and the largest. This island lies close to the coasts of lower Normandy and Brittany. It is fifteen miles from the Norman coast, ninety-five from Weymouth, England and one-hundred and thirty from Southampton. Its communications with England are principally from Southampton and Weymouth; with France from Granville and St. Malo. Its average length is ten miles from east to west, and its average width is six and one-quarter miles. Its greatest elevation above sea-level is 500 ft. on the north side. The mean temperature, averaged for twenty years, is: January, 42.1; August 63. The mean rainfall, average for twentyfive years ,34.21 inches.
Victor Hugo thus describes the climate of the Channel Islands: "The storms are terrible. Archipelagoes are the countries of the wind. A spreadout spring. Winter? Maybe. Summer? Without a doubt; but without excess; never Senegal, never Siberia. Seeing only the southern slopes, nothing is more green, more mild and fresher than this archipelago."
When frost comes in Jersey it lasts but a short time, and snow seldom lies more than two or three days. Rains are frequent, and also sea fogs, as are gales of wind from the Ocean. In the spring there is often a raw easterly wind, whose damp cold is very penetrating, and is felt keenly by persons from much colder but drier climates. In summer the weather is sometimes very warm, but rarely oppressive.
The Jersey coastline is for the most part bold and rocky. Picturesque little bays lying between high jutting headlands render it very pretty and attractive. When are added to this the tree-shaded lanes, the quaint farmsteads and the historic castles and other relics of the past found inland as well as on the coast, Jersey must be recognized as one of the scenically interesting islands of the world.
The surface of the island i composed of ridges running north and south, with many deep and narrow vales, down which small streams flow. Despite its rocky ramparts, the island has been encroached on to a considerable extent by the stormy waters surrounding it. An old manuscript in the British Museum has the following:
"The records of those times testify that in the parish of St. Ouen the sea hath overwhelmed within these two hundred and fifty years the richest soil of that parish - that is, a vale from beyond the poole towards, Lestac,... and to this day stumps of oaks are found in the sand during the ebbe, and some ruins of buildings among the rocks."
There is a tradition that Jersey was in historic times so close to the coast of France that people passed over on a rude bridge of wood, paying a toll for the privilege to the Abbey of Coutances.There is some probability that the tradition is well founded, because for much of the distance between the island and St. Malo the sea is very shallow, and at Mont St. Michel, in France, at low tide a stretch of from twelve to sixteen miles of sand is uncovered between the mainland and low-water mark. There may have been a subsidence of the land in the region. The tides rise and fall from forty to fortyfive feet around Jersey, and at St. Malo the range is fifty feet. The habor of St. Helier`s is completely emptied of water a low tide.
The surface of Jersey slopes from north to south, whereas Guernsey slopes from south to north, and the direction of the incline somewhat differentiates the climates of the two islands, the first intercepting the solar rays at a less acute angle than the latter.
Jersey is divided into twelve parishes; in the northern part Trinity, St. JOhn`s and St. Mary`s; on the west St. Ouen`s, St. Peter`s and St. Brelade`s; on the south St. Lawrence`s, St. Helier`s and St. Saviour`s; on the east St. Clement`s, Grouville and St. Martin`s With the exception of St. Ouen`s, the parishes are subdivided into Vintaines (vingtaines), or double tithings, (from vingt=twenty. St Ouen`s is divided into cuillettes (cuillette=collection). All the parishes border more or less on the sea. The one important town and port is St. Helier`s, population about 30.000.
Land Tenure in Jersey.- In the middle ages the feudal system prevailed in Jersey, as it did generally throughout Europe, and land tenure in the island goes back to early times. There are probably more remnants of the feudal system found in Jersey than in any other part of Europe. The fundamental doctrine of feudalism is that the land belonged originally to the sovereign, and grants were made by the king to his chiefs and military supportes, accompanied by knighthood and titles of nobility, and the chiefs in turn made allotments to their subordinates and vassals, who held their land (feuds) for military or other service rendered their lord , or seigneur, and the holders were obligated to follow their lord to battle, no matter if he warred against their own kindred or even the king. This it was which enabled the English barons to wrest the Magna Carta from King John; they held the military supremacy. There are in a sense no freeholds in Jersey. The island belonged to the Duke of Normandy, whose heir and successsor is now Edward VIII of Great Britain, and the land in Jersey is held from the Crown. There are many fiefs and manors granted by the crown under different tenures, the most honorable being fiefs de haubert; that is, held by knight`s service, par foi et hommage, en chevalerie . There are five fiefs of the latter order: St Ouen, Rosel, Samarés, Trinity and Mélêches. The wording of one of these fiefs may prove of interest. We select one as a sample, that of St. Ouen, granted to Renault de Carteret in 1331:
"Renault de Carteret holds in the said parish, the manor of St. Ouen, with its appurtenances by homage, suit of court , and relief;the value of which relief, when the case occurs, is nine livres tournois ; and for services, that he is bound to serve our lord the King in time of war in the said island at the castle of Goureie (Gorey), at his own expenses and costs, for the space of two parts of forty days, with horses and armour."
There are in all fourteen seigneuries in Jersey. Some of the fiefs have curious requirements. One seigneur has to act as the King`s butler during any stay he may make on the island; another has to present him with two mallard ducks, and two must meet the King on his arrival by riding their horses into the sea up to the saddle-
 "By faith and homage, in chivalry". By homage he became the lord`s homo, man.
 Attendance at the Court of Heritage (Assise d`Héritage) at stated times.
 The currency of the city of Tours, France, the livre (or pound) being worth about twenty cents.]
girths. Rendering homage is still adhered to, done personally to the sovereign.
Placing his hands between those of the representative of the Duke of Normandy, the seigneur says: "Je deviens votre homme, à vous porter foi contre tous" - "I become your man, to keep faith with you against all." All this was observed on the occasion of King George V`s visit in Jersey in 1921, but in our times it is simply pageantry.
There were two classes of land-owners under the seigneur; franc tenant or freeman, who had the larger allotsments, and the villeins, or serfs, who held the smaller ones, and from this we get the English word villain. The seigneur possessed rights which neither freeman nor serf possessed. One was the right to the shipwrecks, if his land bordered the sea, with the exception of gold, piece silks, etc., which went to the Crown. Others were the droit de moulin, all tenants had to have their grain ground at the lord`s mill; the droit de chasse, the right to hunt; the droit de colombier, the right to keep pigeons; the droit de vivier, the right to have a fishpond. All these are now absolete. The Stringency of the feudal system was much mitigated in Jersey by much older customs having the force of law, customs derived from their remote ancestors, antedating the Francs; the Francs were the introducers of the feudal system into Western Europe. Victor Hugo, after describing the ancient feudal customs, fiefs, tithes, droits, etc., says: "Complete middle ages, you say? No; complete liberty."
The law of entail that has prevailed in Great Britain, whereby a landed estate has to go intact to the oldest son, or next nearest of kin, indefinitely in tail, has never obtained in Jersey. On the other hand, the very old and natural custom of dividing the land in equal parts among a man`s children has prevailed on the island.This is called gavelkind, and while it has prevented monopolistic qwnership of land, its practice has divided the island into many small estates, each enclosed by earth banks and hedges, sometimes by stone walls. Where the land is of such limited superficies, this seems a great waste of arabe soil, which is added to by the great number of narrow banked-up lanes. It was at one time estimated that nearly one-third of the island was taken up by banks, hedges and les chasses, the latter being roads or avenues leading to the farm-houses. This seems to be a waste, but it adds greatly to the beauty, oddness and attractiveness of the island, and perhaps indirectly, on that account, has brought more to the people of Jersey through torists than they have lost by uncultivated land.
Citizens or subjects of foreign countries may bau real estate in Jersey, but cannot trasnmit it by inheritance, except to British subjects, nor deal with it by testamentary disposition. In the event of a non-British subject dying possessed of any such real property, it devolves ordinarily to the Crown by right of escheat (reversion), or possibly to the Lord of the fief on which the property is situated, if he can show an ancient grant from the Crown conceding such right. This has no doubt operated to prevent the acquisition of the land by foreigners and to keep it in possession of the natives of the island.
The soil of Jersey and its Cultivation.-
The soil of Jersey varies very much, running from sea sand and disintegrated rock on the higher parts to rich alluvial land in the valleys, where the vegetative earth is twelve or fourteen feet in depth. Some formerly rich tracts have been ruined by drifting sea sand, notably a tract called Les Quenvais in the southwest corner of the island. The soil in general is light, sandy and fertile. Neither limestone nor chalk is found on the island.
We are indebted to Mr. A.E. Mourant, of the British Geological Survey, for much information in regard to the soil of Jersey..
The rock underlying the soil of Jersey is often near the surface, but more frquently is covered by sand and clay, in some places fifty feet in thickness. Brick-earth covers most of the high ground. The soil of the alluvial plains is more diversified. Near the high ground it is composed of brick-earth, washed down by the rains. Near the sea the soil is mainly beds of gravel, clay and peat, the uppermost layer being generally clay. Along the low-lying coasts is a fringe of sand dunes, sometimes forming a shallow skin to the underlying deposits, sometimes rising in hills. Along St. Ouen`s Bay the north-west winds drive this sand for considerable distances inland.
The types of solid rock occurring on the island are numerous. They are all crystalline, and with a single exception, contain no free carbonate of lime. The rocks thus have tended to make shallow, strong soils with no natural corrective for acidity.
The brick-earth yields a silty clay soil, and this soil is cold and late, partly because it is heavy, but largely because it occurs in level patches where the drainage is poor. The original rocky material of the soil contained lime, but the calcium carbonate has been washed away by percolating water, and the soils all have an acid tendency. The calcareous layer is probably now nowhere within reach of the plow. Jersey soils are all alike in tending to be acid, and probably are becoming more so, except where liming is practised.
Sandy soils are present along all the coasts. Lime in the form of shells is often present in the virgin sand, but is unlikely to survive many years of cultivation. Humus decays rapidly on account of ready aeration; water drains away fast; the only persistent thing about such a soil is the sand itself. Its dryness makes it a warm, light, early soil.
In Jersey there is little permanent pasture; most grazing lands are submitted at intervals to intensive manuring and cropping. The commoner Jersey crops absorb a lot of potash so that, after artificial manuring and the harvesting of the crop, the land tends to revert to pasture with a deficiency of potash, but a reserve of phosphate. Manuring with seaweed, besides contributing humus and potash, add sodium and iodine to the soil, elements very essential to animal life. Salt is carried on to the land from the sea in Wind Storms , the fine spray from the rocky coast being carried far inland. The only element needed by cattle and deficient in Jersey soils appears to be calcium- or, rather, free lime. Minerals, including calcium, are now included in cattle feed; and liming, and even overliming, is becoming very common on the island. This creates a different condition from that which produced the Jersey breed, and its effect on bone-building and milk-yield is a problem to be studied by the Island breeder. Mr. J. R. de la H. Marett is of the opinion that fine bones, persistent milking and high fat percentage are all secondary results of the Jersey breed`s acquired accommodation to a shortage of lime in their diet.
The use of seaweed, called in Jersey vraic, as a fertilizer has often been alluded to as a peculiarity of this island; but the same use of this material has been very general in Scotland and probably elsewhere. The warm water of the ocean current known as the Gulf Stream maintaining an equable temperature in the ocean the year around, is productive of a very luxuriant marine flora, different species of Algæ, some kinds edible for the human race, containing a high percentage of iodine. The extraordinary fall of the tides around the Channel Islands permits the gathering of the vraic from the rocks where it grows; but in most other countries where it is usedit is gathered from the beaches after storms, where it is often heaped up in ridges by the surf, ready to be loaded on carts and hauled on to the farms. In Jersey it is sometimes burned and the ashes used on the fields; but it is also spread over the land and plowed in, and this is the plan most widely followed.
The Jersey farms are small, owing to the division of heritable property as already described. The farm houses and buildings are solidly built of granite, with a high wall enclosing a courtyard, the house occupying one side of it, the barns and stables is often in the form of a Norman arch. Although Jersey has a wonderful climate for all kinds of cultivated flowers, the average farmer gives very little space og time to gardens, the potato and the tomato monopolizing the farm often up to the buildings. Very fine fruit is raised- pears, plums, peaches and apples. Of late, the cultivation of flowers has been encouraged, and each year there is a flower show - the Battle of Flowers. There are always some pasture fields, where the cows are usually tethered, and by this method the pasture is conserved. The smallness of the fields leads to a ruthless trimming of the branches of the trees, as their shade is detrimental to the crops, of which two or three are produced in a year, the mild climate enabling the farmers to bring some crops to maturity early in the season.
The farmer is the mainstay of the island. His skill and toil produce the exports of the community. Cattle-raising is not the main industry of the island, as one might naturally think; nor, after having developed the greatest all-round dairy cow on earth, is dairying a very important part of the Island`s activities. The farmers have been greatly aided and wisely guided in all their operations by the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society; and they have some powerful aids in their hard and constant toil, to wit: very rich soil in places, an abundant rainfall, a warm sun, about 2000 hours of sunshine in the course of the year, few pests (excepting moles), and, in adddition to what is produced in the stable-yard, abundance of a cheap fertilizer, vraic.
The Jersey Breed of Cattle
The origin of the Jersey breed of cattle is unknown, and therefore has been the subject of much conjecture. In Brittany and Normandy, France are found cattle resembling the Jersey, and some have concluded that the breed is a mixture of cattle originally brought from those provinces. Mr. Paul Guesdon, Longjumeau, Seine-et-Oise, in 1912 wrote in regard to the origin of the Jersey breed as follows:
"I have always had the idea that the Jersey breed has been created by the crossing of the red and white Brittany bull with the little gray cows that one finds on the coasts of Normandy. The coastsguards and roadmenders all have specimens of this cross breed, which does not require the large and rich pastures of Normandy. I still remember having seen these pretty little hardy cows, excellent butter-producers in the peninsula of the Cotentin.
The road menders and coastguards, not being farmers, had available only the waste patches along the roads and seashore for pastures , hence required good foragers. Others think that the Normans brought cattle from Scandinavia, and that their influence is seen in the darker-colored Jerseys. This is not very probable, considering the small size of their boats, which were essentially war-ships. The Jersey undoubtedly came from an admixture of early European breeds, but principally are descended from cattle from France, as the Island of Jersey is closer to the French coast than to any other part of the mainland, and the people of the Island did most of their trading with France in the very early times. Sir William Vernon has stated that the Guernsey cattle were originally supplied from Barfleur, Cherbourg and other places in Normandy, while the Jerseys came from Brittany and were called "la petite bretonne", which literally means "the little girl (or cow) from Brittany." Mr. John A. Perrée, of Jersey, is of the opinion that nothing throwing light on the origin of theiir cattle is to be found in the annals of the Island, and considerable searching has been done.
One of the earliest references to the Jerseycow was made in 1734 by Philip Falle, of Jersey, to wit: "The cattle of this Island are superior to the French cattle." Whatever their origin may have been, one hundred and ninety-five years ago they had developed superior merit as dairy cattle and were recognized as a distinct breed.
The breed was known in England at least as early as 1771, for in that year a lady named Tabitha Bramble wrote her housekeeper at Brambleton Hall expressing her astonishment that her superintendent had sold "Alderney without my privity and concurrants", for she had been giving four gallons of milk a day ever since her calf had been sent to the market.
The name ALderney was very generally applied to the Jersey at that date, for the reason that specimens of the breed were brought to England by the "Alderney packet," a vessel that called at all the Channel Islands, but touched at Alderney last on her trips back to England. For a similar reason a well-known indigenous American bird still goes under the name of "turkey" as it was erroneously supposed to have come from Turkey.
Col. Le Couteur writing under the heading "The Jersey, Misnamed ALderney Cow," states:
"The race is miscalled Alderney as far as Jersey is in question; for about seventy years since (1774) Mr. Dumaresq, of St Peter`s, afterwards the chief magistrate, sent some of the best Jersey cows to his father-in law, the then proprietor of ALderney; so that the Jersey was already at that period an improved race, and superior to the Alderney,"
He further states:
"Most Jersey farmers never thought of crossing with a view to improvement, conscious of possessing a breed excellent for the production of rich milk... The Jersey farmer sought no further. He was content to possess an ugly, ill-formed animal, with flat sides, wide between the ribs and hips, cat-hammed, narrow and high hips, and a hollow back. The Jersey had always possessed the head of a fawn, a soft eye, an elegant crumpled horn, small ears, a clean neck and throat, fine bones, a fine tail; above all, a well-formed capacious udder, with large, swelling milkveins."
It was for the purpose of improving the unprogressive breeding practices of the Island farmer that, in 1833 a meeting was held in St. Helier`s for the purpose of considering the formation of an Agricultural and Horticultural Society.
At one time marked differences between the cattle of the east and west of Jersey were noted. Possibly, after many years of controlled and Island-wide breeding, such differences are not now apparent, but they may still outcrop in Jersey herds. It is supposed that these differences were caused entirely by environment. The north and north-west coast of Jersey is high and precipitous, syenite rock rising two hundred feet or more above sea level. Southwest gales prevail there nine months in the year. These gales, right off the ocean, burn the trees and reduce the pastures to damaged hay. This elevated coast has short, scant but rich and nutritious pasture, from being frequently saturated with moisture, and the cattle are small, finelimbed and hardy. But the southerly half of the Island is an inclined plane sloping to the south and watered by many small streams. Some of it has a rich alluvial soil, sheltered and warmed by the sun. The cattle of this district, fed on a richer pasture, are larger in body. Thus in their native home there were originally, if not now, two types of Jerseys.
Preservation of the Purity of the Jersey Breed.
The U.S. Consul at Liverpool, England, reported in 1885 that the Jersey breed had been pure-bred for five hundred years. This must have been owing to the isolation of the Island of Jersey and the pride the islanders took in their peculiar breed of cattle, and not to any legislation; for the Island of Jersey farmers have always clung persistently to their race of cattle, and have ever been solicitous in maintaining its purity of blood. The popular belief in the superiority of the breed has been a prime factor in its development, and has supported the legislation against importation of other cattle for breeding purposes, and it protected the purity of the breed long before there was any legislation with this object in view.
Thomas Quayle wrote in 1812: "The general purity of the breed i guarded by the rooted opinions of the inhabitants rather better than by the sanction of law. The treasure highest in a Jersey`s estimation is his cow." In 1844 Col. Le. Couteur, Queen`s Aide-de-Camp in Jersey, contributed an essay on the cattle of Jersey at the request of the Royal Agricultural SOciety of England. Col. Le Couteur was a native of Jersey, regarded as an authority on the Jersey breed, and head been the prime mover in starting the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society in 1833. His essay was quoted almost in its entirety and printed in Vol. 1 of the American Jersey Cattle Club Herd Register. It had been previously reprinted in 1850 in the Transactions of the New York State Agricultural Society". Col. Le Couteur refers to the Jersey cattle as "the ancient race".
In 1869 he wrote the following to Col. Waring, the first Secretary of the A.J.C.C.
"In the year 1789 the Jersey cow was already considered so good, so superior to any then known, that an act of our local legislature (the states of Jersey, which for such ends is quite independent of the British Parliament) was passed, by which the importation into Jersey stringent; no foreign horned cattle are elver allowed to come to Jersey but as butcher`s meat. Guernsey cattle are not deemed foreign, but there are scarecely ever a dozen of that breed on our island .. Our judges at our cattle shows have discarded both them and their progeny."
The law passed Aug. 8, 1789, is probably the one referred to by Col. Le Couteur. Its preamble states its objects:
"The fraudulent importation of cows, heifers, calves and bulls from France having become a matter most alarming to the country, in that it not only contributes to raise butcher`smeat to an exorbitant price, but that it also menaces with total ruin one of the most profitable branches of the commerce of this island with England, the States have judged it necessary to enact:" etc.
This law only mentions France as the country against whose cattle the prohibition applies, and from this it has been argued that cattle could be freely imported from any other country and bred with the native stock. This conclusion is entirely unwarranted. Col. Le. Couteur must have known the purpose and scope of the law, and that, nowithstanding its wording, it really wa a law to protect the Jersey breed of cattle. In his essay he states that similar cattle to the Jersey were to be found in various parts of Normandy and Brittany, and the act of 1789 states that the fraudulent importation of cattle from France had become alarming. Unscrupulous traders were bringing cattle from France, which were landed in Jersey, then reshipped to England with Jersey bills of lading and there sold as real Jersey cattle. The act of 1789 makes this impossible. There was no call for a prohibitory law against any other country, as no cattle were being imported from any other country that in any way menaced the purity and standing of the Jersey breed.
The 1789 law has eight articles. It does not state in the preamble what the profitable branch of commerce was, but presumably it was the export of Jersey cattle to England, and that the "fraudulent importation" of cattle from France was the bringing of French cattle to Jersey and then exporting them to England as Jersey cattle by enterprising but unscrupulous Island shipmasters. The act prohibits the importation of cattle from France under severe penalties, a £200 fine for each head of cattle, confiscation of the cattle and of the boat carrying them and of all its gear; every sailor on board such boat a penalty of £50, or imprisonment for six months. Every animal coming from France shall be confiscated and shall be killed on the spot; but cows, heifers, calves or bulls "from the adjacent islands subject to his Britannic Majesty" could be imported under certain regulations, one of which was "an affidavit that the said cattle is the production and breed of the island from which it is pretended to be brought." Art. V governs the exportation of cattle to England. The cattle had to be "of the breed of the island," had to be "particularized," the name of the parish whence they came and the name of the vendor had to be stated, and any false report on the part of the ship-master was punishable by a fine of £1.000. The person selling the cattle had to furnish a certificate stating that the animal of animals were of his breeding and of the breed of the Island, and a false certificate was punishable by a fine of £100. The cattle were carefully checked on departure and again on arrival in England, and a "certificate of discharge," signed by the customs officer at the port of disembarkastion had to be obtained.
The first volume of the English Jersey Herd Book contains a history of the Jersey breed by John Thornton. He had passed considerable time on the Island of Jersey for the sole purpose of finding information in regard to the breed. He writes:
"As far back as 1789 the States of Jersey (Jersey still retains its ancient privilege of self-government) passed a stringent law prohibiting the importation of cattle from France; but there has never beeen until recently any legal restriction against the introduction of cattle from this country (England) or from Guernsey and the adjacent islands. It is by the persistence with which the Jerseymen cling to their own breed that its purity has been maintained. Efforts to introduce animals of other breeds from this country (England) have invariably been rendered futile by the inhabitants. That the breed at a remote period had reached some distinction is proved by the passing of the act of 1789. The objects of this were, no doubt, at once to keep the cattle from admixture and to sustain their reputation by preventing French animals being sold in England as imports from the island."
In 1883 Mr. Albert D. Shaw, United States Consul at Manchester, England, following instructions from his Government, requested Mr. James Long to make a report on all British breeds of cattle, and in forwarding the report to Washington he wrote: "Great care and attention have been given to this report: its impartiality and fairness are beyond question." The report states:
"Jersey has the same forms of self-government, the same land tenure, the same laws and language, the same manners, customs and habits that she had 800 years ago. And so with her cattle. The silver streak separating Jersey from the continent converted it into one great farm, with the sea for its ring fence; and the same conservative spirit has been effectual in keeping the breed pure from any foreign taint. Jersey has thus enjoyed for centuries the very happiest conditions for producing a distinct and excellent breed of cattle."
Consul-General Merritt, London, reported that-
"In both islands (Jersey and Guernsey) the entry of foreign stock for breeding purposes is prohibited. The law enforcing this has been long in existence, and most rigidly observed; this accounts for the purity of the breeds in these islands." U.S. Consular Reports. 1884.
The act of 1789 was in force until 1826, when a new act was passed, whose preamble states:
"The export of cows from the Island into England being a branch of commerce advan- tageous to the country, and the superiority of their quality to those of France having shown the necessity of preserving the original breed, of avoiding any foreign admixture and of preventing the frauds which might be practised by introducing into England French cows as being cows of this Island, the States have believed it their duty to that end to establish the following regulations."
Here is the first declaration that a law was passed one of whose purposes was to preserve the purity of the Jersey breed. The law prohibited the importation of cows, heifers and bulls from France; but, under regulations, it permitted the entry of bullocks (oxen) from that country. In the case of any other cattle allowed to be imported it must be proved that such cattle were of the Jersey breed or otherwise had been introduced from England, or from Guernsey, ALderney or Sark on certificate that such cattle were originally from the island whence they were said to be brought, with stipulated severe penalties if found fraudelent. Export of cattle was also surrounded by many precautionary regulations.
In 1864 a new act was passed to conform Jersey laws with a Treaty of Commerce between Great Britain and France. Art. III abrogates the law of 1826 as affecting the importation of cattle from France, and the introduction of foreign cattle is permitted, but only for consumption as beff or in transit for reexportation. Art. IV states that foreign cows, heifers calves and bulls cannot be employed for reproduction on Jersey. Such cattle must be branded on arrival, must be kept by a government agent at the place of landing and can be removed only for slaughter or for reexportation. The law of 1864 expressly states. Art. XII, that it does not rescind any of the dispositions of the law of 1826 relative to the importation of foreign bullocks, or of bullocks, cows, heifers, calves and bulls from the islands of Guernsey, Alderney and Sark.
On several known occasions cattle of other breeds have been brought into Jersey, usually for experimental crossing with the native breed. A. Mr. Bevans, about 1845, introduced some "Durhams", formerly a name for Shorthorns, and crossed them with Jerseys, but their progeny did not prove successful and they were butchered. Co, James Godfray introduced Shorthorns, but the experiment was again a failure and the grades were butchered. Col. Godfray then tried Ayrshires, with the same result. The admission of Guernsey cattle was not prohibited, and interchange of some Guernseys and Jersey formerly took place between the two islands, usually on account of inter-island marriages, but crosses between these breeds have never been satisfactory or advantageous. The yellow color, pink eyes and buff noses of the Guernseys cropped up in the mixed offspring, and they were at once rejected by the judges.
But laws were not very much needed to compel the island breeder to keep the blood of his cattle pure. Although he was apparently free before the law of 1826 to cross his stock with other breeds, it was against both his judgment and his interests. The purity of blood of the Jersey cow in the earlier days was protected on the Island, as it has been in the United States, by the good, sense and integrity of its breeders, helped out by such protective measures as were found necessary to prevent errors in or abuse of the privileges of registration by the careless or unscrupulous.
Prof. Henry S. Redfield, long an influential member of the A.J.C.C. and a life-long breeder of Jerseys, wrote in 1892, this explanation of what had mainly produced the outstanding characteristics of the Jersey.
"Whatever tendency to delicacy of form, and to the production of milk rich in color and in butter-fat, characterized the original Jersey has been greatly increased by what in these days would be called environment. A mild climate and a fertile soil, with rich and nutritious grasses, furnished the natural environment, while the artificial environment was caused by the constant subdivision of farms taking place under the Jersey laws of inheritance, which reduced most of the holdings to a few acres and made a twenty-acre farm a large one, thus leading each farmer to keep the most profitable cow he could obtain to breed her for a purpose, and to feed her in the most economical manner. This manner was found to be tethering, the cow thus eating everything clean within the small limits of its tether, and being changed to a fresh spot several times a day. By this system four cows could be kept where only three could be pastured; but more important still for the development of the breed were the following natural results;
First- The cow not being allowed to roam at will and use her strength in needless exercise, her food, beyond the amount required for maintenance went to the development of milk, and that, too, a milk rich in butter-fat. Second- This lack of exercise also tended to produce the delicacy and fineness of form now so characteristic. Third -The system of tethering requiring the frequent removal of the cow from one place to another by somebody, made her familiar with man, produced the gentleness and docility which are such pleasing peculiarities of these animals."
Jersey Farms, Crops and Cattle.
The size of the island will be found variously stated, depending on what is included. Definitely stated, including all land to lawwater mark, it comprises 39.580 acres or 61.9 square miles. Much of this area is sea-beach, for the tides rise and fall from forty to fifty feet, and a good deal of it is made up of untilled areas -roads, hedgerows , building sites, etc. In 1934 there were about 19.400 acres under cultivation. The Jersey unit of land measurement is the vergée; two and onequarter vergées equal one acre.In 1934 there were 1.764 farms on the Island, totalling about 21.000 acres. In size 523 of these farms, or 29.6 per cent, ran from 0.44 acre to 4.44 acres; 464 of them, or 26.3 per cent ran from 4.44 acres to 11.11 acres: 589, or 33.4 per cent, from 11.11 acres to 22.22 acres; and 188, or 10.7 per cent, were above 22.22 acres. Including hay and pasture, seventeen different crops are raised, and i 1934 the area under crops was 25.657 acres, a greater area than the total farm acreage, because of some products two and three crops are raised in the year. In 1931 the population of the Island was 50.455, and the number of dairy cattle 10.682, or one to each five persons. The number of cattle on the Island per year has run from about 10.000 to 12.000 ever sinece 1867.
The main crop of the Jersey farmer is early potatoes, introduced to the Island by Sir Walter Raleigh 1600. They are grown on the same land several years in succession, and then are followed by grain or grass. The first part of the season is devoted to the potato, and after this crop is out of the ground, or "lifted", as the old-country phrase is, roots, barley or forage, crops are raised the second part of the season. Tomatoes, mostly grown out of doors, but some under glass come second in importance to the potato. Land suitable for cither of these crops commands very high prices. The London market takes most all of the two principal productions. The Jersey cabbage is somewhat of a curiosity, as it grows at the top of a stem sometimes attaining a height of ten feet. The leaves are plucked off as the plants grow and are used as cattle feed, while the stalks are made into walking-sticks for sale to tourists. The milk and butter produced are all consumed on the Island.
The crops raised on the Island are greatly diversified. They include wheat, barley, oats, rye, peas, potatoes, turnips, swedes (rutabagas), mangolds, cabbage, cauliflower, lucern, carrots, tomatoes, green crops, hay, grass, pasture and orchards. The 1934 Annual Report of the Royal Jersey Agricultural Society gives the exact number vergées occupied by each of these crops.
The Island cow finds most of her pasture on the less fertile land, in consequence of the land suitable for export crops commanding very high prices. The cattle are usually tethered in the pastures. The tether-pegs are moved to new locations about every two hours. The cattle are spaced one from the other so as to make a line across the field. When one strip is eaten down, they are moved further into the uneaten grass until they have thus covered the entire field, when the same process may commence over again. This method of handling makes the cattle docile; they cannot become excited and run all over the pasture when it is new, nor have they much opportunity of injuring themselves; and the waste of grass from soiling and trampling is reduced to the lowest practicable amount. The Jersey farmer has never been much of a user of concentrated feeds. Some of the cows on test get grain, but many others are fed almost altogether on pasture, roots and straw. On such rations the flush of their milking does not last long; but they will maintain a gallon or more of their high testing milk, and they calve in good condition. The average production of the cattle fed on pasture, with some roots and straw, is about threequarters of a pound of butter daily. The pasture continues all through the winter, and the average allowance per cow per year is about half an acre, with one or two crops of hay taken off for the horses.
In Jersey breeding operations are under the direction of the Royal Jersey Agricultural Society. The Jersey Herd Book is managed by a committee of twelve, together with the expresidents of the Island Agricultural Society and the secretaries of the parish agricultural societies. There are somewhere about a thousand Jersey breeders on the Island. On Mar. 31, 1935 the cattle registered, qualified and allotted a number in the Herd Book were as follows: Cows, pedigree stock, 44.105 cows, foundation stock, 11.453; bulls, pedigree stock, 7.031; bulls, foundation stock. 448; total registrations, 63.037. The registered cattle (those given a certificate of birth) on the Island on August 15, 1934, were: COws and heifers in milk, 5638; heifers in calf, 1363; females two years old and above, 218; females one year and under two, 1.421; females under one year, 1.621; bulls over twelve months, 136; bulls under twelve months, 162; animals not registered, 123; total, 10682.
The number of registrations for the Island Herd Book (it is now sixty-nine years since it was set up) has been many hundreds of thousands. From 1913 to 1934, twenty-two years, nearly 53.000 heifer calves were registered; but all those registered do not qualify, for various reasons. The "pedigree system", which preceded the Herd Book, was started one hundred and two years ago. The entry of foundation stock bulls was discontinued in 1883, when the number of pedigree stock bulls made it unnecessary to add any of the other class. Foundation stock heifers in milk are now rarely qualified, there being only about six per annum.
Status of the Breed on Jersey (1935)
The general world depression has affected the exportation of cattle from the Island. The English market absorbs a considerable number of head, especially heifers in calf, and small shipments ar made to Australia and South Africa, and smaller ones than has been the case heretofore to AMerica. Island breeders realize that the era of fancy prices has passed, with no prospect of an early return. The slaughter of heifer calves, which has been prevalent in recent years, is bound to lead to a shortage of heifers in milk next year; but, with better prospects in view, herd reduction is passing. Island cattle owners are but mildly interested in production, but their interest is in a way of being revived, as Australia and South Africa continually demand tested stock or its progeny, and the feeling on the Island is that American importers are now paying more attention to production. Time was when these latter preferred animals of show type, and the Island breeders who tested their cattle often used to complain that buyers took but little notice of their tested stock. One reason for this might have been that Island production records, made under ordinary Island conditions, were not impressive form the American viewpoint. There is no evidence, however, that the quality of Island cattle has deteriorated; but if it has, the weeding out which a diminished demand has forced on Island breeders is likely to have an excellent effect on Island cattle in general.
Bovine tuberculosis is practically non-existent on Jersey, and efforts are being made so that a similar claim can be made in regard to contagious abortion, although there has been very little of that dis ease. No animal can be disposed of unless it passes the agglutination test for abortion.