The Jersey Cattle Society & Breed History

The Jersey Cattle Society, founded in 1878, provides breeders with the opportunity to add value to their herd by recording births and compiling ancestry records for every pedigree animal. This provides farmers with valuable information for herd analysis leading to improvement of any weakness by selecting sires to correct the genetic potential of the next generation.

Jersey cattle originate, as their name suggests, from Jersey, the largest Island in the Channel Islands and only 14 miles away from the French coast.

There are fewer than 6000 Jerseys on the Island in total with nearly 4000 of these being adult milking cows. The Islands breed purity is maintained by a strict 150 year old ban on imports and no alternative dairy breeds located 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.

In 2000 there were 15,341 recorded lactations, averaging 5048kgs of milk @ 5.45% and 3.90% fat & protein. Jersey milk is noted for its high quality rather than the quantity; 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.

One of the oldest herds in the country is that of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor. There is another 100-year-old herd at Osberton, Notts and another similarly aged at Brighstone, Isle of Wight.

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. 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.


The Jersey cow is the 2nd most popular dairy breed in the world. With an ever-increasing number of Jerseys being born and bred in the UK it has become apparent that many dairy businesses are looking for a well performing breed to produce a sustainable herd.

Animal Search
2016 Data Breed Average Top 25%
Milk Yield
(litres/per lactation)
6,043 7,021
Fat Yield (kg) 332 383
Protein Yield (kg) 233 270
Calving Interval (days) 399 352


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