The Jersey Cow at home
During a short stay here, I have observed the manner in which the farmers graze their
cattle; The cattle here are invariably tethered, and they are shifted five or six times
a-day, and only so much at each time, as to permit them to eat freely without hardly
putting their fore feet on the grass they are consuming; this had been followed from time
immorial, and perhaps for centuries.
Milking at Jersey
Dr. L.H. Twaddell, breeder of Jersey cattle in Philadelphia, US, visited
the Channel Islands in 1865: and he reported from this voyage:
Milkmaids at work
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.
Heifers in Barn at Roselands
Having dwelt upon the management and the feeding of cows, we next come to the dairy
management, as generally practised. Cows are milked chiefly by women. The milk is going
into the can passes through a linen strainer which covers the top of the can. When
the work is finished, the milk is taken to the dairy and emptied into deep earthenware
vessels. The dairy is in the majority of cases is hardly suitable for the purpose
required. The milk is allowed to stand in these vessels, called crocs, till the cream has
risen and become firm. The next process is that of skimming the cream. This is done by the
farmers wife or daughters. In doing this, the cream is first detached from the side of the
vessel and raised together as much as possible; by inclining the crock over that
destined to receive the cream, sometimes nearly the whole slips off the thick milk, and
the remainder is removed with a skimmer. The skimmer used for this purpose is a small,
flat, perforated ladle. The cream is placed in a large crock kept for the purpose, and is
allowed to stand until such time as it is required for churning. At the bottom of the
old-fashioned cream crocks there is a small hole stopped up by a peg, which is
occasionally used to drain off the serous portion separating from the cream. Churning, as
a rule, is carried on twice a week during the summer months, and once a week during the
The next operation is that of working the salt and butter together. The old and primitive mode of doing this, by means of kneading it with a large wooden spoon in the bowl, is still in vogue, although butter-workers are gradually being adopted. If the butter is intended to be made up for winter supply, additional salt would be added in the kneading; if the butter is for immediate sale, it is made up in pats of 1 lb. each, and marked with a stamp bearing the name of the maker. Every precaution is supposed to be taken to work the butter as dry as possible, but it must be said that too frequently this is not so strictly adhered to as it should be. It is usually estimated that in the best months from eight to nine quarts of milk are, on the average, required to make 1 lb of butter. The butter made in the island is almost all used for home consumption. There is a certain quantity exported, but it is extremely small.
No cheese is made, nor does it appear that cheese-making has ever been much followed here, our farmers are entirely deficient in any knowledge on this. Mr. Poingdestre, a Jersey historian, writing in 1682 says: "In these arable grounds they pasture their kine, which afford them very delicate butter, much esteemed for taste and colour, but for cheese they make very little, and that which is made is subject to grow dry and hard, if care be not taken to prevent it."
The sour and butter milk is used for rearing young stock and swine, which is viewed as the best and most profitable use that can be made of it.
It has been stated that the export of Jersey-made butter is very limited. This would appear almost unaccountable, seeing that for many years past an article called "Jersey Butter" was prominent in the English markets. But it will only be necessary to observe that this so called "Jersey Butter" was made in Brittany, and sold in England as "Jersey". Public attention was called to this fraudulent trade by the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society as far back as 1864, and again in 1888, when the matter was made the subject of a representation to the Commissioners of Customs. The exportation of butter from this island being so small as hardly deserving the consideration of an island export, the value to the farmer of dairying, as at present existing, may then be summed up, as the returns which he gets, through the sale of milk, or of butter, as the case may be, for insular requirements; his own family supply; and the proceeds of the sour milk for the rearing of young stock and feeding of pigs.
Milk for the supply of the town population is brought in from the neighbouring
districts morning and evening, and is sold by farmers to retailers at 8d to 9d per gallon,
or if retailed to the consumer at about 3d a quart. Butter is sold either in the public
market or at shops in the town of St. Helier. Wednesday and Saturday are the market days,
when women purchase the butter brought in, and retail it on their own account, or for
farmers on commission. The market value of butter for the year 1889 averaged a little
under 1s 2d, and i 1890 a little under 1s 3d per pound.
Origin of the Jerseys. - Mr. Jonathan Smith, Jersey
The "Romance de Rou", written by our Jersey poet Wace, for Henry II, in the twelfth century, is still the lauguage of our farmers, though unintelligible to the Parasian of to-day. 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, to which must be added the advantages of her climate, equally free from arctic cold and burning heat, which permits her cattle to be outpastured almost every day in the year and keeps her fields perennially green. These favorable conditions have been put to advantage. The original stock, the Normandy breed, has long been (and still is) famous for its butter qualities. These have been steadily and perseveringly developed by our farmers, who have persistently bred for that single object; and the Jersey has been brought to its present perfection by simply following out this one idea - butter! Hence it has been the invariable custom for ages never to use a bull before seeing his dam and being satisfied as to her yield of butter. Unless this proved satisfactory, no other point in the bull himself or his dam availed anything; nobody would use him. This idea still governs the vast majority of our island breeders and those of America, and doubtless still greater triumphs await in the udders of the future.
It is much to be regretted that of late years some English breeders have taken
upon themselves to set up a new standard - solid color; that is, the absence of white
markings in the coat - which has absolutely no foundation at all but the oddest caprice.
It is neither a peculiarity nor a sign of purity of race, nor of any otherquality
whatever, bad or good; it is simply a blind alley leading nowhere. The single aim and end
of our efforts has hitherto been butter, and it is this concentration of the energies of
all our breeders in one direction for so long a period which has doubtless been the chief
agent in improving the breed and making it what it now is - the best of butter cows. Let
us hand down the breed to our children at the least not worse than we found it.
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