I thought I'd ask y'all your opinion on the merits of the two breeds. You could find a Jersey in my home area, so I've run across them enough and information is pretty well-distributed. Brown Swiss seem to be more rare (read: expensive) but larger and not so lacking on the beef end.
Our needs are fairly straightforward. We want a self-replenishing supply of reliable milk and meat for a family of eight. We currently go through half a gallon of milk a day, but milk has been restricted to cooking and pouring over cereal since it went $3+ per gallon. We could easily use up 1 and 1/2 gallons of just milk for the house. Now, I buy my butter and cheese and such but I've made them before, and probably would again if prices didn't make it an expensive hobby. I've never produced all of our dairy needs and so really don't know how much we would use when you factor in ice cream, butter, cheese, etc. As to beef, this family will eat as much as it can get.
Feel free to toss out your thoughts and help me weigh the decision between a Jersey and a Brown Swiss. Appreciation and thanks in advance to all.
The brown swiss is also known as a beef breed in europe. Its got a fancy name that i can't spell over here too. you could probly just use the extra milk and feed a few extra calves to sell maybe. But the jersy's are a decent breed ,But don't make a lot of beef.
If Jerseys are more plentiful in your area, I'd suggest getting a Jersey and AI her to a beef breed such as an Angus. You will get a lot of cream for butter and ice cream, plus a decent beef calf. A good Jersey will give plenty of milk for her calf as well as for your family. Jerseys are also smaller and easier to handle than Brown Swiss cows. Milking Shorthorns are another dual purpose breed. Their calves produce good beef, but the milk is not as rich as that of a Jersey. The only problem that I have ever had with our Jerseys is that some of them are prone to have milk fever.
The Jersey will be the least expensive to feed, and manage. The Brown Swiss' milk has butterfat content right behind the Guernsey, which is behind the Jersey percentage-wise, for butter and cream products. Some Jerseys will produce nearly as much as the Brown Swiss. Read Keeeping a Family Cow for good info.
The Jersey will be smaller, as mentioned. But if you are used to store bought milk, their milk will be very rich tasting. Swiss is a little less rich, but still creamier than Holstein.
Swiss are harder to find, especially in some states. They do well in heat and thus are popular in South America. Swiss are larger than Jersey, but they can be very gentle, if handled from a young age. They are not usually skittish or jumpy, as some breeds can be.
Probably not a factor for you, but Jersey's have buggy eyes and have a deerish look to them and Swiss have an assortment of shades from white to tan to chocolate with fat heads--okay hard to describe with words, but both I think are very pretty breeds in their own way.
We had Swiss on our farm that lived for 15, 16 years, still producing. I don't know about Jerseys in that regard. But what I'm saying is that you may pay more for their longevity and if you have kids, you might want a long-lived animal, if adn when they become attatched.
But I think, with some good and diligent care, either breed would/could be a great 'family' cow.
Black baldies are even tempered, aren't jumpy etc, and aren't as prone to problems. Now even a pure bred holstein can make a good milk animal. But if you were to talk about maintainence, etc. A holstein is not a good idea, they do give a lot of milk, they can get big, some would say they can be ****y. But its funny, I know of a farm with holsteins, and just about every one of theirs is friendly, and does not kick. Our holsteins don't kick, while clipping I climb right under, to get all the tough spots. Only hazard is the ---- moving around because the clippers tickle. But if I wanted a cow, something without issues, crossbred animals make for animals with less problems, depending what they are crossbred with they can be friendly. Jerseys are good, however Jerseys are prone to milk fever. The vet we use knew of a Jersey farm, and 50% of that one farms herd came down with pneumonia or something. Basically one animal got it, and it swept through the entire herd. He said comparing that to holsteins, some get it, and some dont. I do like the Jersey breed, however if I were to choose I would side with Swiss, a cross, holsteins (if you want an animal with higher maintainence). Its a tough call, but remember this, brown swiss is the type of dairy animal that can eat all hay, little grain and do well. They love hay, they will eat hay any day. Swiss have the strongest feet and legs out of the dairy breeds, and can handle any climate conditions. I am not partial to swiss, I like holsteins out of all the breeds, however if I had a choice. I would side with the swiss, based on our experience with the swiss we have. We have had Jerseys, and i've had more problems with them, than other breeds.
The beef breed of the brown swiss is called Braunvieh. They are a medium size. I only have a bull to breed to my commerical cows so don't know about the milk. Nice mellow bull and I like the calves he produces.