Meet Our Dairy Cows: The Golden Guernsey
Our family became interested in raw milk in 2017 after we had first heard about the benefits through the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Wise Traditions podcast. This was around the same time that we were becoming more and more aware of the types of foods we were eating, along with how and where those foods were produced. After a little searching, we found a small family farm nearby that was producing raw milk from three cows and began buying about 3-5 gallons weekly.
In 2019, the small farm that we were buying raw milk from decided that they were ready to get out of the small dairy business. Operating a dairy is certainly one of the most demanding enterprises that a farm can enter into. We jumped on the opportunity to purchase the three Guernsey calves that were born on their farm in the previous year.
The Guernsey breed originated on the small Isle of Guernsey which is located off the coast of France, in the English Channel. Guernsey cows are known for their ability to produce high-quality milk from grazing pastureland and produce rich golden-colored milk. This developed into the moniker Golden Guernsey. Guernsey milk contains 12% more protein, 30% more cream, 33% more vitamin D, 25% more vitamin A and 15% more calcium than average milk. 96% of Guernsey cows carry the protein Beta Casein A2 in their milk.
Foxtail is the herd bull and his sole job is to breed the cows annually. He has a very nice, even temperament. He occasionally will get excited and act a little crazy, sprinting and jumping around. We have even seen him roll around in a large pile of dirt, using his head and body to fling the dirt around.
Holly was born around Christmas 2018. She is the boss cow of the herd and the feisty one, although she has calmed down somewhat as she has gotten older. Holly is the darker reddish-brown colored cow with not many white patches and shorter horns.
Glory is the oldest of the original three Guernsey calves. She is also the sweetest. She has a very mild disposition and is very easygoing. Glory has longer horns and is a lighter brown with a bit more white coloring than Holly.
We purchased Celia from a dairy farm in Cashton, WI in March 2021. She had been a 4H show calf and then joined a larger dairy farm. She has a very calm disposition and is very friendly towards people, likely from her experience as a show animal when she was younger. Celia is mostly reddish-brown with little white and has no horns. Her horns were likely removed when she was a young calf.
We rotate the cows around the farm throughout the growing season. Sometimes they will be up by the road and sometimes they will be way in the back. If you happen to drive by and see them out, you will now know them all by name.