History of the Jersey
Jersey cattle originate from Jersey the largest Island in
the Channel Islands and just some 14 miles away from the French
There are fewer than 6000 Jerseys on the Island in total with
nearly 4000 of these being adult milking cows. The purity of
the breed on the Island is maintained by a strict ban on imports.
This ban has been in place for some 150 years. There are no
other breeds of the cattle on the Island.
The Jersey shares a common ancestry with not only the Guernsey
breed but also those cattle found on the Normandy and Brittany
coasts. This type of cattle is believed to have originally
travelled up across Europe from the Middle East.
Jerseys are known to exist in the UK mainland since 1741 and
probably well before. At that time they were known as Alderney's.
The Jersey Cattle Society was founded in 1878.
In 1999 there were 18,719 recorded lactations, averaging 4491kgs
of milk @ 5.55 and 3.85% Jersey milk is noted for its high
quality rather than the quantity, it is particularly rich in
protein, minerals and trace elements.
One of the oldest herds in the country is that of Her Majesty
the Queen at Windsor.
There is another herd at Osberton Notts which is 100 years
old and one of a similar age at Brighstone, Isle of Wight.
Jersey milk is noted for its high quality - it is particularly
rich in protein, minerals and trace elements. It is also rich
in colour which is naturally produced from carotene, an extract
from grasses (the cows natural food).
After the Holstein the Jersey is the second most popular specialist
Dairy breed in the world.
The Wheelbirk Herd in Northumberland was the first noted by
the Jersey Cattle Society in 1925 with the first recorded birth
on August 2nd - Miranda Vanity. This herd was recorded from
the start and records note one of the foundation cows Merry
Jest, yielding 5149 kgs @ 5.75% in 355 days, at 4 years of
age, calving on 19th March 1926. 12 cows were recorded by the
Northumberland Milk Recording Society in 1926.
The Wheelbirk prefix was the first registered in 1927. The
current owner has served on the Council of the Jersey Cattle
Society in many capacities and was President in 1984/85.