Where can I find sources of old-style dairy cattle?
J.F.CaliforniaAnswer: Finding Guernsey and Jersey stock that has not been “bred up” is somewhat difficult. These two breeds are considered major dairy breeds and have been in commercial dairy production for quite a long time in the U.S. Therefore, finding stock that has not been bred for commercial production is difficult. I suggest you contact the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC). The ALBC keeps lists of breeders of Guernsey cattle. Guernsey cattle are on their list of breeds to watch, as they are becoming more and more rare. You can contact them at www.albc-usa.org or 919-542-5704. The breeders of dairy cattle associated with the ALBC may know of sources of Guernsey and Jersey stock that haven’t been heavily bred and have characteristics of more traditional stock. To locate breeders and sources of cattle you can also contact the American Guernsey Association at www.usguernsey.com or 614-864-2409; California Guernsey Cattle Club at www.calguernsey.com or 209-632-7539; and the American Jersey Cattle Association at www.usjersey.com or 641-861-3636. It may take you some time to locate cattle that haven’t been bred for today’s conventional production systems. I would suggest you visit some breeders and talk with other producers to find the type of animals you are looking for. You may find cattle with the genetics and characteristics you are looking for in smaller herds where heavy production hasn’t been bred for. Farms that maintain closed herds and those that don’t employ artificial insemination (AI) may have cattle that resemble the “old type” of cow that you are looking for.If you are interested in dairy cattle that haven’t been bred up for conventional dairying, you may want to consider other breeds such as the Dutch Belted or Milking Devon. These breeds, along with others, are less common and have not been “bred up” for conventional production. You can obtain more information about these breeds from the ALBC.