In this article, we will talk about Guernsey cattle, focusing on breed history, origin, characteristics and temperament.
We will also talk about certain points that should be kept in mind when interacting with cows 😉 These points are essential for the safety of tourists and of course the cows.
History of Guernsey Cows
Guernsey cattle have been present on our island of Guernsey for centuries. They have a rich history with Guernsey Island, and that is where they get their name from. Our island is a bit isolated from the others, and that helped this breed preserve its distinct characteristics as a dairy cattle.
Guernsey cows have been vital in uplifting the agriculture and dairy sector on the island.
The farmers established dairy farms on the island after recognising the potential of Guernsey cattle.
Later on, they were exported to other countries as well. All of these steps led to a substantial economic boost in the area!
Over time, Guernsey Cows have become essential to Guernsey Island’s cultural identity!
Origin of Guernsey cattle
The origin of Guernsey cattle is a subject of great debate. There are various theories about the origin of this breed. The most popular and logical one suggests that Guernsey cattle were derived from cattle imported from France. They are most likely the descendants of cattle produced from a cross of Brindled cattle from Normandy and Froment du Leon of Brittany.
In the following years, some influence of Dutch cattle is also reported. Later on, the import of cattle into the island was banned to maintain the genetic purity of the breed. Still, some cattle from France were merged into the Guernsey breed in World War 2.
Whatever the origin story of the Guernsey breed might be, the fact that it has had a huge impact on the lives and economics of the us, inhabitants of Guernsey stand true.
Breed Characteristics and Temperament of Guernsey Cattle
Guernsey cows have a medium size and weigh around 500 kg. Bulls weigh about 600-700 kg. These cows have a characteristic red or fawn colour that may or may not have white patches.
The milk of this breed also has a distinct golden-yellow tinge due to high levels of Beta-carotene. Moreover, the milk of these cows has a higher percentage of fat and protein as compared to other cows.
Guernsey cattle are considered efficient milk producers with relatively small sizes. They mature at a young age and can give birth to a calf at the early age of 22 months. Data has shown that they give birth to young ones without difficulties mostly.
Guidelines to Follow When Around Guernsey Cows
If you are in an area with cows, the following are some points you should follow for the safety and well-being of your cows and yourself:
- The most important point regarding your safety is to maintain a safe distance.
- Don’t get too close to a cow and respect its space.
- If you are around a cow with a young calf, stay extra vigilant because such cows are protective of their young ones and may perceive your presence as a threat. Similarly, bulls are more aggressive in the breeding season.
- Be calm around cows, and don’t make any gestures or sudden movements that can surprise or startle them.
- When stressed, cows can behave in an unpredictable manner and may attack you!! (the stories I can tell about tourists running… 😉)
- Just like in the case of all other animals, it is recommended that you do not make an eye-contact.
- Most animals consider locking of eyes as a challenge and may try to hurt you.
- Be extra cautious if you have any children with you.
- Teach children to be respectful near the animals.
- Do not chase or harass the animals.
- In short, don’t do anything that can disrupt cows’ natural, normal behaviour!
- Do not try to touch or feed something to the animals.
- Feeding without knowledge of dietary needs can do more harm than good. So, it’s better avoided.
Though cows from the Guernsey breed have a calm nature and do not show aggression. They are curious about their surroundings, and just like other cattle breeds, they form friendships with other cows in the herd.
Guernsey cows are affectionate animals and can develop a bond with their caretakers.
Have a safe and enjoyable experience when you are around Guernsey Cows 😊
Would you like to learn more about Guernsey? Then don’t miss our latest article: 15 fun facts about Guernsey