Miniature Jerseys- Our Breeding Stock
So, what exactly are “Mid-Miniature” and “Miniature” Jerseys?
Mid-Size Jerseys are not a new breed. They are descendants of the original Jerseys imported from the Jersey Islands and Britain. They normally range in size from 48-44 (Official Registry height change occurred in 2019 from 42 up to 44 ) inches in height. After much research and reading emails form the Royal Registrar of Jerseys on the Isle of Jersey, it is my belief that Mid-Size Miniature Jerseys are very similar to the original Jerseys imported from the Jersey Islands and Great Britain. Polled genetics have become very popular with Mid-Miniature and Miniature cattle in the last 30 years. There is evidence in the Jersey Journals from the 1950’s that Jersey Polled genetics were imported from the Isle of Jersey. The main difference is that a polled gene has been introduced somewhere in the genetic history which has eliminated the horns that all Jersey Island cows were born with. Many of the Mid-Size cows are now born without horns.
Through selective breeding in the United States the Miniature Jerseys have evolved with heights ranging 44 inches (officially changed from 42 up to 44 in 2019) and under. These very small homestead cows are ideal for many self sustaining farms and households. They are commonly polled (hornless) and are bred down replicas of the modern Standard Size Jerseys commonly found today in the United States. There are a lot of websites that give different theory’s on the evolution and history of Miniature Jerseys. However, after talking to many breeders and historians and reading many of the published History’s of Importation of Jerseys to the USA, I believe that most of what is published is purely rumor and hype. Regardless of how the small size came into being, these little cows are wonderful in every way and I feel privileged to own a herd of them.
If you are curious about the heights on these cows, I update them on occasion. We measure cattle OVER 6 months of age to the hook bone which has been the historical place to measure all Miniature Cows in accordance with most of the Miniature Cow registries. Add 1 and 1/2 inch to the height if you want to know how tall they are to the “top” of the hip bone. Calves UP to 6 months of age are measured to the top of the hip as there is not much difference in the two measurements in young cattle. If the cows birth date show them to be 3 years or older it is a permanent height. If they are under 3 years old the height listed was the last measured. Miniature cows are not assigned “permanent” papers until they are 3 years old and their adult height is known. In January 2014, our Veterinarian certified our heights on our cows. Normally when Health Certificates are Issued for Transportation upon sale, the cattle are height verified by the issuing veterinarian.
There is no way to know the final height of an animal prior to it’s 3rd birthday when it receives its “Permanent” measurement. When a calf is born it is measured within the first 2 days of birth. This is known as the birth height. We can “guesstimate” what the animal’s final height will be from the birth height measurement. However, we are dealing with Mother Nature here and animals sometimes will NOT achieve the “guessed” height and sometimes will OVERGROW the “guessed” height. From our experience, calves with birth heights 24 inches and under will likely grow to 44 inches or less. Calves with birth heights of 24+ to 25 inches will likely grow up to 48 inches. Often calves born 26 inches or taller will be full size. On our farm there is not a difference in price between Mid-Miniature and Miniature cows. We are breeding for animals that are appropriate for the family farm and not specifically for “the smallest”. In fact, it has become well know that it is in the best interest of the cows themselves and the people who will milk them that being “too” small results in difficulties with milking, especially as the animals age. Different bloodlines in Mid-Miniature and Miniature Jerseys have been found to grow at different rates. Some bloodlines will reach 90% of their permanent size by age 12 months. Others grow very slowly and only achieve 50% of their growth by 12 months of age. This makes any kind of chart addressing “size vs age” problematic at best. Size charts obtained from the International Miniature Cattle Breeders Society and Registry website were based upon the growth of miniature beef breeds which are known to mature much more slowly than dairy cattle.
All of our cattle are dual registered with the American Miniature Jersey Association and the International Cattle Breeders Registry. We no longer have any association with Miniature Jersey Herdbook.
High Altitude Certified
Our herd has been tested by Dr. Tim Holt of Colorado State University Veterinary Hospital. He is renowned for his development of the “PAP” test which measures the Pulmonary Arterial Pressure in cattle. High Altitude disease in cattle is caused by hypertension in response to low oxygen levels at higher elevations. Our entire herd has been tested for High Altitude Disease and they are all NEGATIVE for this heritable problem.
Polled Genetics-Dairy Only
We test all of our cattle for Polled genetics. These results are reported to us from the UC Davis VGL Laboratory. According to a quote from the VGL Website, “Recently, candidate mutations associated with polled phenotype in European breeds of cattle were found. There are 2 independent origins of polled, one found in Holstein-Friesian and Jersey breeds (Pf), the other in many European breeds of Celtic origin (Pc) such as Angus, Blonde d’Aquitaine, Dexter, Limousin, Charolais, and Hereford, among others. Polledness is dominant; a polled animal can have one or two copies of the gene. All offspring of a bull with 2 copies of polled (homozygous) will be polled.” The polled genetics offered from our farm are dairy only genetics. They are not and did not come from Dexter, Angus or Aberdeen/Lowline.
This chart was taken from the UC Davis VGL Laboratory website to show how the Polled genetics work in cattle and how using their results will affect your breeding outcomes.
|HORNED. No copies of either Polled molecular marker are present.
|POLLED. One copy of the Polled-Friesian molecular marker is present. At least 50% of the offspring will be polled.
|POLLED. Two copies of the Polled-Friesian molecular marker are present. All offspring will be polled.
|POLLED. One copy of the Polled-Celtic molecular marker is present. At least 50% of the offspring will be polled.
|POLLED. Two copies of the Polled-Celtic molecular marker are present. All offspring will be polled.
|POLLED. One copy of Polled-Celtic and 1 copy of Polled-Friesian molecular markers are present. All offspring will be polled.
Medugorac I, D Seichter, A Graf et al. Bovine Polledness – An autosomal dominant trait with allelic heterogeneity. PLoS One 7(6): e39477, 2012.
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