The Jersey Cow at home
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The Jersey Cow at home


Cattle in Jersey 1833. [The painting of Jersey cattle by Philip Hutchings Rogers (1786?-1853) is in the art collection of the Société Jersiasise. It is signed and dated 1833, therefore he must have been in Jersey in 1833.]


Jersey cattle tethered in an orchard. [From Francis Le Ruez`s collection at Homestead]

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.
[Jersey, May 30. A Subscriber. The Farmer`s Magazine. Volume The First. New Series. July to December, MDCCCXXXVIII (1838).]

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:
"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 be 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.

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.
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."
 

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 winter.

There are many varieties of churns in use, the most common is the square box churn fitted with beaters, which work on a rotary action. After the churn has been scalded with boiling water and made ready, the cream is worked. The speed at which the churning commences is comparatively slow. The temperature of the cream is kept as nearly as possible at 58º to 60º. As soon as the butter begins to separate and form, cold water is added, and after a little more churning the butter milk is drawn. The churning is then continued, more cold water being added, and the same process of drawing the milk followed until the butter remains in a semi-solid mass. It is then, after being well washed in this way, removed from the churn and placed in a large wooden bowl, which has also been scladed. Next comes the process of salting, this may be done either by the addition of the salt itslef to the butter, or by its being added thereto in the form of a liquid. In either case it is employed usually in the proportion of ½ os per pound of butter.

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.

Dairy equipments.
Miss Joyce .M. Le Ruez tells "We made butter before the War, in a special room called "the Dairy", and we all helped my mother to make it. It was quite a process, first separating the cream from the skim, churning it until it was ready to roll out and extract all the liquid, salting it, rolling it and finally patting it into shapes and weighing it. We then put our own personal stamp on it, packed it in greaseproof paper, and placed it in a large hamper to be taken to town. In my days it was by bus - a lady collected it and sold it in the market where she had a stall. Before the buses started, it would have had to be taken by horse and trap.
I think we made it twice a week.
We were not allowed to make butter during the German Occupation but most farmers managed to keep a little milk and made some very small churns, some were made in wood, some made out of glass jars."

 

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.
The Jersey Dairy Industry. A Paper contributed by the Agriculture Department of the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society. Read by Colonel Le Cornu, La Hague Manor, Jersey.[Undated]


"A Typical Old Time Jersey"
John Thornton  recites an old story on the Island, that no calf was considered good without the star, the white shoulders, loin, and belly.

 Origin of the Jerseys. - Mr. Jonathan Smith, Jersey says:
 Our breed of cattle was originally the same as that of Normandy, of which Jersey forms a part, and with which it was once physically connected. Traditions says it was severed from the mainland about the same time (possibly by the very same tremendous irruption) when the sea swept over the pleasant fields of Eastern Kent and buried them forever under "The Downs", leaving no trace of what once had been, save the shifting Goodwin Sands. The effects of this disruption, so far as Jersey is concerned, are in every way most interesting. The mainland of Normandy has lost everything but the name; her too-powerful neighbor, France has robbed her of her independence, her laws, and even her language; and the ancient home of our kings has for centuries been a province of France. But for the strip of silver sea, such must have been the fate of Jersey. As it is, she has succesfully repelled all attempts to conquer her, and has remained faithful to her ancient rulers. She is still governed by the very laws which her Duke William introduced into England at the Conquest, and her mother tonque is that which the Conqueror spake[?] himself.

 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.
United States Consular Reports: Cattle and Dairy Farming.* United States of America * Department of State * Part I. Washington, Government Printing Office 1887.
 

 

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