Bos taurusJersey Cow

Family

  • Bovidae

Lifespan

  • 20-25 years

Size

  • Height:
  • Weight: Males: 1200-1800 pounds, Females: 800-1200 pounds

Origin

  • Jersey cattle originate from the Island of Jersey, a small British island in the English channel near the French coastline

Habitat

  • Only found in captivity, this animal can graze in fields and grasslands

Diet

  • Wild:  Not found in the wild; cattle ancestors would have eaten grasses and similar plant matter
  • Zoo:  Hay and high fiber grain in cold weather or for treats

Reproduction

  • Jersey heifers can be bred as early as 13 months of age. A single calf is typical after a gestation of about 9-10 months. The Jersey calf is small compared to other breeds, weighing on average 60 pounds at birth. The calf will quickly gain weight as it nurses on the protein–rich milk, doubling its weight in less than 2 months.

Special adaptations

  • Cattle are ruminant digesters and process food through a 4-chambered stomach. This adaptation allows them to leech as many nutrients from their food as possible, which in turn allows ruminants to be able to survive in places where non-ruminant herbivores could not live. They also do not have to consume as much food to supply their bodies with energy.
  • Cattle tongues are extremely long – they lick their interior nasal cavities to increase the amount of good bacteria in their digestive tract, which help break down the course matter in their diet.

Facts/info

  • Jerseys are one of the most popular dairy cattle breeds
  • The cow on Borden sweetened condensed milk cans (Elsie) is a Jersey
  • The bull head on Elmer’s glue is a Jersey
  • Ruminants usually do not have upper incisors or canines, just a rough pad on the roof of their mouths
  • Cattle are considered to be the most important livestock animal and are among the most populous domestic animal
  • Our Jersey, Andy, is a fixed male – known as a steer
  • Andy is very gentle and comfortable around his keepers

Conservation status

  • IUCN: Not Evaluated
  • CITES: Not Listed
  • Although domestic cattle are not threatened, there are 5 Bovid species which are in need of protections:
    • Bos gaurus (Gaur)
      • IUCN: Vulnerable
      • CITES: Appendix I
      • Found in India, China, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia
    • Bos javanicus (Banteng)
      • IUCN: Endangered
      • CITES: Not Listed
      • Found in Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, and sporadically in Indonesia.  Small population introduced to Australia
    • Bos mutus (Wild Yak)
      • IUCN: Vulnerable
      • CITES: Appendix I
      • Found in China.  Historically found in China and India.  Believed to be extinct in all countries except China
    • Bos sauveli (Grey Ox/Kouprey)
      • IUCN: Critically Endangered
      • CITES: Appendix I
      • Found in Cambodia and southern Laos
    • Bubalus arnee (Indian Water Buffalo)
      • IUCN: Endangered
      • CITES: Appendix III
      • Found in India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia; all extremely fragmented

Sources:

  1. American Jersey Cattle Association. Ed Zirkle. 9 November 2011. American Jersey Cattle Association. 13 November 2011 www.usjersey.com
  2. Jersey. 12 December 1997. Oklahoma State University. 13 November 2011 http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle/jersey/
  3. Feldhamer, George A. et al., Mammalogy: Adaptation, diversity, and ecology. 2nd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004.
  4. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  5. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org

Jersey Cow