Breed Jersey cow to a Guernsey?... Too big? Good mix?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by cjb, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. cjb

    cjb Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our Jersey cow has always had registered Jersey calves. She needs to be bred back and I have considered having her AI'd with Guernsey semen. Since this will be her 5th or 6th calf, she's a very large Jersey and she has never had problems, would this be considered safe to do? I know that Guernseys are larger.

    I assume that would be a good mix as I've seen that a few seem to produce that cross on purpose.

    Thoughts?

    Not even sure if my AI Tech carries Guernsey. They don't seem that common around here.
     
  2. linn

    linn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Your Jersey should do fine if bred to a Guernsey.
     

  3. TSYORK

    TSYORK Jhn Boy ina D Trump world

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    This is an excellent cross that will pour the milk, go for it!
     
  4. BlackWillowFarm

    BlackWillowFarm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My Jersey got bred to a Brown Swiss bull by mistake. She's smaller, weighing about 825lbs. All the feedback I got about it was she should be fine and that Jersey's can calve a "Mack Truck" without issues. So, I'm expecting a Jersey/ BS calf in March.

    If you look at Jersey bulls for calving ease, they don't even have stats for them. They do for the other breeds. I guess that says something about Jerseys.

    I have no experience yet, but my guess is your Jersey should be fine bred to a Guernsey. I've actually considered breeding to a Guernsey bull and if it goes well with the Brown Swiss I might try Guernsey next time.
     
  5. arcticow

    arcticow Well-Known Member

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    You should get a nice, probably brindle, calf with no trouble. If it's a heifer, she should make plenty milk & fat, but will lose the guernsey yellow in the milk.
     
  6. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Most amateur crossbreeding is folly.
    Crossing a Holstein to a Angus is, to me, like crossing a St. Bernard to your Irish Setter. At least in this case you are breeding within dairy breeds. I compare that to breeding your beagle to a Golden Retriever. I would expect that if it is a heifer and you raise her and breed her and she has a calf, you will eventually have a milk cow that is larger than a Jersey, smaller than a Guernsey, produces more milk than a Jersey, but with less butterfat. Lots of “ifs” in all that. How is it that a Jersey doesn’t produce enough milk, but a Guernsey produces too much or a Jersey is too small, but a Guernsey too big?
    I hear far to much, “ I just bought 40 acres of woods, how can I turn it into pasture?”, “ I just bought 40 acres of pasture, what can I do to turn it into forest?”, “I have a Jersey but I want her to produce beef calves, how?” or “ I have a gentle Jersey that gives us plenty of milk, so now I want to see if she can survive a birth of a larger calf?”
    Jeresy bulls are often not rated for calving ease for a reason. It isn’t because the fine boned Jersey can birth a large calf. Actually, you’ve got it backwards. Jerseys produce, often easily, small calves, smaller than other breeds. So, if you use a Jersey bull on any other breed, you will always have a smaller calf. Conversely, when you breed a Jersey to any other breed, you can generally expect a larger calf. While we seem to grasp that calf size and calving ease go hand in hand, has anyone checked out the mortality of both the cow and calf when toying with larger sized calves? Vet can often save one or both if he gets there in time, has a good dry well lit area to do the cesarean section. Generally Vets carry cable blades that allow the calf to be removed in big chunks. None these “experiments” result in stories you’ll want to share with friends and family.
    When you post to a discussion board, you are requesting feedback. If she has been producing quality, registered Jersey calves all along, as a tribute to the hundred generations before you, keep the breed pure, breed to the best Jersey bull that excels in your cow’s weaker areas. You won’t regret it. Please reconsider mongrelizing your herd.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010
  7. linn

    linn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Some important characteristics of the Guernsey breed -

    Excellent temperament
    Excellent workability traits
    Calving ease
    Regular calvers
    Guernsey have sound components in percentages of protein and butterfat with good solid all round milk production.
    No known genetic recessives
    Guernseys are adabtable to a wide range of farming practices. They are efficient grazers but also adapt well to feed lot or silage etc.
    Guernsey work well in mixed herds. They are also excellent to use in cross bred herds.
    Guernseys also produce A2 milk.


    http://www.lbcentre.com.au/Guernsey.php
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010
  8. Chixarecute

    Chixarecute Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A veteran Jersey cow with that many calves shouldn't have any issues calving if bred to a Guernsey bull. Always good to remember she could have calving problems anyway, such as a the calf presenting with a front leg back, but that doesn't have anything to do with the breeds.
     
  9. Trisha in WA

    Trisha in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Me too, then I lost my Jersey cow and calf because the calf was too big to come out.

    And why not? As homesteaders we don't need 5 or 10 or more purebred Jersey cows but we can normally use a steer (or heifer even) in the freezer every year. A Jersey bred to an Angus bull with calving ease would produce a lovely (and delicious) freezer calf.
     
  10. Chixarecute

    Chixarecute Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A Guernsey isn't that much bigger than a Jersey. If she were a heifer I would say no.

    Breed her to a double muscled beef breed (Mack truck), and you will likely have problems.
     
  11. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    “And why not? As homesteaders we don't need 5 or 10 or more purebred Jersey cows but we can normally use a steer (or heifer even) in the freezer every year. A Jersey bred to an Angus bull with calving ease would produce a lovely (and delicious) freezer calf.”
    While this thread is about calving ease and my concern is also about mixing breeds, discussion about producing one’s own beef from their milk cow is a bit off topic. But I think it is an important decision none the less.
    Let me answer with my perspective. If I had a station wagon and I needed a pickup truck, I could cut the back off the station wagon and it would make a very serviceable truck. I could also simply trade in the station wagon for a real truck. The station wagon is worth more before I hacked the back off. It makes sense to me to leave the vehicle whole and trade it. Same with my cows.
    If I have a registered Jersey, bred to a high quality Jersey bull, there is a 50-50 chance that I’ll get a registered heifer. If I raise her for 6 months to a year, she will be valuable to a dairy or a homestead. This is especially true if I have spent time with her and she is easy to lead. If I do not need the extra milk, I can sell her and I can buy a beef steer that will grow much more meat than a cross bred Jersey. If I have a Jersey bull calf, he will provide a homesteading family with a lot of meat.
    To me, it makes more sense to breed beef to beef, Jersey to Jersey, poodle to poodle, pit bull to pit bull.
    We never plan on it, but often our plans change. What you wanted as a cross bred milk cow or a cross bred dairy/beef cow may end up on Craigslist or the local sale barn. The market may judge you harshly for your folly.
     
  12. springvalley

    springvalley Family Jersey Dairy Supporter

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    Much beyond the idea that Haypoint says you mongrelize your herd if you cross your jersey with a guernsey. Alot of new cattle breeds have been started by crossing the two differant breeds and coming up with a superior breed, good traits from each breed. I do think that some breeds can be improved by crossbreeding, I have one guernsey/jersey cross, she is just a first calf cow, but has done very well this year. So don`t think anything about the cross, either way you will get a good calf. Some of the times when a cow has problems having her calf it may very well could be she was overfed and not really the bulls fault. Good luck with you decision, and raise what you want. > Thanks Marc
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010
  13. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    there is a place for the Purists, and there is a place for everyone else, sadly that place is not the SAME place, if wants to breed a jersey cow to a gurnsey bull that is nobodys buisness but that individuals, its actually a pretty good mix as mixes go, Ozark Jewls whole herd is a mix of Jersey and Holstine and last i read they are adding a Brown Swis or milking Short horn bull to the mix, its a Dairy and Dairy breeds apparently all milk out Dairy products regardless of who their daddy was,
    if the Jersey breed was endanger of becomming extinct and every single last pure cow was needed to SAVE the breed then i might feel compelled to defend the Purist mentality but thats not the case.
     
  14. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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    Except most of us don't have 'herds'. And people around are hungry for a family dairy cow. The mix really doesn't matter to them. You can get a really nice milk cow with a number of mixed breeds. I don't see a problem with it. My AI guy does - he won't mix breeds.....I think it would be great if my jersey was bred to a beef bull - then her NEXT bull calf might be a bit heavier than the full jerseys.
     
  15. BlackWillowFarm

    BlackWillowFarm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I for one, would love to have a Jersey/ Guernsey cross milk cow. I'm a family cow person, not a dairy owner. I'm not alone. There are plenty of family cow owners out there who are happy to have a kind, gentle milk cow to provide for their families. Being 100% pure bred and registered is low on my list. It's just not important to me with my "herd" of one or two cows. What is important is a gentle, tractable animal who'll be around for several years and provide me with heifers as a replacement or to sell for a little income or a bull calf for my freezer. I don't need that steer to grow fast to get to market. I'm not after that market. The only market I care about is milk in my fridge and beef in the freezer. If I have extra's then maybe I'll offer them for sale to people who are looking for the same thing.

    I'd buy a Jersey / Guernsey cross milk cow as long as she fits my criteria for a family cow.
     
  16. arcticow

    arcticow Well-Known Member

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    I stand somewhere short of haypoint's stance. Someone has to maintain breed purity, and it has often been individuals with a few cows who have kept breeds alive. Careful crossing does work, but other genes have been introduced. Thus, no more purity. My 2 cents, if I was gonna cut the back off a station wagon, metaphorically, I would us a calving ease Milking Shorthorn on that Jersey to add beef to her calf, and if it were a heifer, save her back for breeding.
     
  17. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My hat's off to your A.L. guy. Some don't see a problem with it, some do. It's a free country.
    Breeding a beagle to a beagle or a Percheron to a Percheron or a Jersey to a Jersey isn't being a purist. If you think you can improve on what the Jersey breeders have done in over 300 years, go ahead. While not endangered, continued improvement within the breed, insures a broad base of genitic diversity within the breed through the use of superior Jersey bulls.
     
  18. cjb

    cjb Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Great discussion and points on both sides - thanks all.

    When I was looking for a family cow, I looked at both Jersey and Guernsey and liked different aspects of each breed. It occured to me that I could stand a chance of producing my own via breeding. If the progeny is a bull, I would assume that the Guernsey might give him a bit more size.

    We have two cows - Violet, and her daughter. The daughter (heifer) will definitely be bred to Jersey but thought it might be cool to have the cross (via Violet) as well. I'll let you know what we do.

    In our goat herd, we started with Oberhaslis and now have Nuberhasli's, Obersaanens, and Nigeriasaanuberhasli's. Clearly, I'm ok with crossing :) Our favorite and best goat is a Nub/Saan/Ober.
     
  19. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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    I'd breed mine to a guernsey just to get some spots! Jersey's don't come in the most intersting color patterns.
     
  20. CJBegins

    CJBegins Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is the result of a guernsey/jersey cross. Very nice calf, unfortunately a bull. I did rebreed the cow for next spring in hopes of a heifer cause I just love the spots. I would love a pure guernsey but can't afford to give up an arm and a leg for one. The sire guernsey bull was inexpensive and is now very tastey.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010