Guernsey Cow – Everything You Need To Know

Guernsey Cow

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Did you know it’s not only one cow breed(Jersey) from the islands of the British mainland who made a mark in this world? There is another cow breed from the same island that has been serving the livestock keepers for centuries. It’s a “Guernsey Cow”.

Guernseys are widely distributed in the whole world. It’s just that they are so common that we do not pay attention to this poor animal.

However, we do admire them for their supernatural milk production. Since this animal deserves attention, here’s what you need to know;

Guernsey History

Before going back in time, allow us to inform you that Guernsey cows have not ” very” impressive history.

Not sure how true is that Guernsey is believed to have originated in the 17th century from two French breeds; Brindle and Froment du Leon.

This cow breed was recorded as a registered breed for the first time in 1700.

Until 1995, Guernseys continued to serve the livestock keepers of the same island as imports were not allowed by the law.

Importing Guernsey was banned to maintain the purity of this breed. Somehow, during world war ll the animal escaped and even merged into Spahr and Opperman.

As Guernsey made its way to the world, it began gaining popularity. Until the 20th century, Guernseys had all the fame they deserve.

That’s all the books of history have to say about this cow breed.

Appearance of Guernsey

Guernsey might not have an impressive history but it has an impressive appearance. This medium size has the regular medium-size, regular eyes, ears, and even tails.

However, they have got a unique reddish-white coat with brown patches like Sahiwal cattle. This patchy coat has become the mark of Guernsey’s recognition.

Besides the reddish-white patchy coat, what’s more, worth admiring in Guernseys are their strong back, smooth blending shoulder, broad loin, wide rump, deep barrel, and strongly attached extended udders.


It’s “really” hard to tell exactly how much the Guernsey cows weigh. However, as per the assumptions, male Guernsey weighs somewhere around 600 to 700 kgs whereas females around 450 to 500 kgs.


The experts consider Guernseys as medium-sized cows. So, whether it is male or female the animal typically achieves a height of up to 54 inches or more in some cases.


According to Frontiers Genetics, Guernseys stayed on the Channel island they originate from for centuries. Soon after World War ll, they made their way to people’s hearts and other countries.

Now, this exceptional Guernsey cow breed is serving in almost all countries of the world.

However, they are more commonly bred and raised in the UK, Canada, the USA, South Africa, Australia, and Newzealand.


Guernsey’s cows are loved for various reasons; one being having a rich, kind, and gentle personality.

They readily form a great bond with their owners. Because of their ultra-friendly temperament, Guernseys are highly suitable for novice livestock keepers.


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Use of Guernsey Cow

Guernseys are known for their excellent milking abilities. As per the rough estimate, an average Guernsey can produce milk up to 6000 liters annually.

For its highly nutritional milk, Guernsey is widely recognized as a dairy cow breed. It is mainly raised for milk but sometimes for meat as well.

The milk obtained from the said cow breed is highly in demand as it is rich in beta-carotene(vitamin A). The percentage of Beta-Carotene can be judged by the milk’s yellow color.

Sometimes this cow breed is raised for both milk and meat. In such cases, milk is collected for a good four to five years.

When the cows reach the age of six, they are sent to be butchered. They can be raised for meat alone as well however, livestock keepers prefer raising them for Beta-Carotene-rich milk.

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Everything else you need to know about Guernsey cow

Guernsey is bred and raised for utility, not good looks

To be honest, Guernsey is an average-looking animal. However, they are considered good farm animals.

Guernsey earned the title of being a good farm animal because of their high nutritional yellow milk and supernaturally flavorful meat.

If you go on finding the animal most Guernseys would be noticed serving at the farms. It proves that this cow breed is hardly raised for its looks but utility.

Guernseys require 20 to 30% less feed to produce milk

It is believed that optimizing feed and cows comfort induce impressive milk production.

It is noticed in Guernsey cows that even to produce more milk, they require 20 to 30% less feed than the fellow animals, isn’t it great?

Guernseys are true farm animals as they can have a calf at the of twenty-two months;
Guernseys have all the qualities of a good farm animal.

It does not just produce highly nutritional milk and requires less feed but can have calf early as well.

The regular cow breeds are often ready to have a calf at the age of twenty-four years whereas, Guernsey can is mature at the age of twenty-two months.

This cow breed is recorded to have minimum calving complications

Calving complications might not hurt you but they do increase your vet bills and the chances of losing the cow and the calf.

Guernseys face no calving issues even when they are bred with the heavier beef breeds. So, Guernsey is probably the only cow breed that has been recorded to have fewer calving complications than any other cow breed out there.

Guernseys have an ideal farm animal temperament

As per the Guernsey fans, the said cows are docile, playful, kind, gentle, and intelligent. All these qualities make Guernseys the best farm animal.

This cow breed has an exceptional heat tolerance

Though, the farm animals are not “necessarily” required to be hardy enough to survive the harsh living condition.

However, there is no harm in being one. Guernsey cows are admired for many reasons; one having exceptional heat tolerance.

They do not require an air conditioner to survive unfavorable weather. Their reddish-white coat assists the cow in surviving the hot summers.

The milk produced by Guernsey is far more superior than the regular milk

Milk is the major reason why Guernsey cows are mostly chosen to raise. The milk produced by Guernsey is far more superior to regular milk.

It contains 30% more cream, 12% more protein, 25% more vitamin A, 15% more calcium, and 33% more vitamin D than the milk produced by the regular cow breeds.

See if this is not a valid reason to breed and raise Guernseys, what else would be?

Guernseys can be horned or naturally polled

As soon as Guernseys left the island, they began losing their originality. Frequent cross-breeding has changed Guernseys a lot.

It can be judged by the presence and absence of horns. The Guernseys that exist today are not all horned.

Most of Guernsey’s population is horned however a countable number of cows are naturally polled as well.

Guernsey cow breed has got a nickname as well

The world recognizes Guernseys as a “golden cow” as well. This title is given to them for two reasons; one being having a golden appearance and the other: producing highly nutritional yellow milk. Frankly, this exceptional dairy breed deserves to have a nickname anyway.

In some parts of the world, Guernseys are not desirable for meat

It might be shocking as their beef has more or less the same flavor as the meat breeds. However still Guernsey and Jersey, the two breeds originating from the same island are least desirable for meat.

Let alone milk, the Guernsey butter has a distinguishing color as well

The butter that is made from the milk produced by the Guernsey cow can also be easily recognized. It has got a unique yellow color as it is a processed form of yellow milk. Whereas, the regular butter has a more whitish color.

The milk produced by Guernsey cows get sold at higher prices

If you ever get a chance to see how rich Guernsey cow’s milk look, the idea of selling it for the highest price would make sense.

Since it contains more cream, protein, calcium, vitamin A and D than regular milk, their milk is immensely demanded and gets sold for higher prices.

However, it might not be as expensive as the milk produced by the Holstein-Friesian cow.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do Guernsey cows originate from?

Guernsey cows originate from one of the channel Islands located in Guernsey. The place that is famous for the breeds of cattle, some export fruits, flowers, tomatoes, and potatoes.

How were Guernsey cows developed?

Guernseys have been around since the 17th century. The records of this cow breed are a bit doubtful.

However, it is believed that this cow breed came into existence from crossbreeding two french breeds called Brindle and Froment du Leon.

What is so special about the Guernsey cow breed?

Well, if something gets admired this much there is always something special about that. As far as Guernsey’s case is concerned, it’s rich yellow-colored milk.

Their milk has more cream, protein, calcium, vitamin A and D than regular milk. That makes the Guernsey cow more special than the regular breeds.

Why Guernsey butter is more yellow than white?

The milk produced by the said cow breed is also more yellowish than white. It’s because the milk contains more Beta-carotene than regular milk.

Since the butter is made from milk that is also yellow and has got the same amount of Beta-carotene, that’s why the butter takes the yellow color.

How much milk does Guernsey produce in a day?

Guernseys are excellent milk producers. As per the rough estimate, the said cow breed produces about six to seven gallons of milk every day.

Why are Guernsey cows bred and raised?

Guernsey cows are mainly raised for their high nutritional milk production. Their milk contains % more cream, 12% more protein, 25% more vitamin A, 15% more calcium, and 33% more vitamin D than regular milk. So, it is mainly demanded, bred, and raised for its highly nutritional milk.

Are all Guernsey cows horned?

No, not all Guernsey cows are horned. However, most of the population have short slightly curved horns and a countable number of Guernseys are naturally polled as well.

Are all Guernsey cows grass-fed?

Yes, Guernsey cows do not need a variety of foods in large amounts to produce highly nutritional milk. So, most of the Guernseys found in the world are grass-fed.

Is Guernsey cow breed hardy?

Yes, Guernsey cows are believed to be hardy. They have exceptional heat tolerance. Moreover, they can survive on less food as well.


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