Types of Dairy Cows

    Many of you have had some type of encounter with dairy cows. Perhaps you have seen them on television in commercials, or you may have even seen them grazing in a field and noticed how different they look. There are five common breeds of dairy cows:

    Brown Swiss
Ayrshire cow
    Brown Swiss cow
    Guernsey cow
    Jersey cow

Holstein- Friersian
Holstein cow

From The Milk Makers

    Each breed gives a slightly different milk product that varies in nutrient content (i.e. protein and vitamins). You are probably most familiar with the Holstein-Friesian (black and white) dairy cow. It is the most popular among dairy farmers because it produces more milk than the other breeds. Although it would make sense for farmers to milk herds of pure Holsteins since they give the most milk, some farmers mix their breeds because cows that are slightly mixed tend to be stronger than pure Holsteins. This hybridization is what accounts for the difference in appearance that you may see in a herd of dairy cows.

    What else should you know about cows? Just like with humans, there are different names given to cows depending on their sex and stage in life. For example, a female cow younger than 3 years old that has not had a baby is termed a heifer; a male cow is called a bull; and a castrated male is a steer. So a dairy cow is a female that has given birth to a baby. That baby is called a calf.
Moo Wonder icon Moo Wonders
  • A Holstein's spots are like fingerprints- no two cows have the exact same pattern of spots.
  • Cow's provide 90% of the world's milk supply.
  • The average mature dairy cow weighs approximately 1,500 pounds. How does that compare to your own weight percentage wise?

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