Jersey Cattle at Our Long Island Zoo

Jersey cows are a small, docile breed of dairy cattle, bred for the high fat content in their milk. Members of the subfamily Bovinae, they originated in the Channel Island of Jersey, United Kingdom, in the 18th Century. Baby cows are called calves. Females (cows or heifers) can weigh 800 to 1100 pounds and males (steers or bulls) can weigh 1,200 to 1,800 pounds.

Cows are peaceful, genial creatures. Their pleasant temperament makes them an ideal addition to many farms. Cows are ruminators, meaning after they chew their food – a diet of grasses and hay – it is passed down into a four-chambered stomach full of digestive microorganisms. The digestive process produces a lot of gas, causing cows to belch so that they don’t suffer from bloat.

In some regions of the world, including Nepal and parts of India, cattle are a symbol of wealth and hold significant religious meaning. The popularity of beef and dairy products has made cattle farming in the United States a very profitable trade, but it is not as popular in other areas of the world. Fun Fact: Approximately 65 percent of adults around the world are lactose-intolerant, and cannot drink milk.