Cattle and better breeding program

Dairy cattle in Mangskog, Sweden, Production levels peak at around 40 to 60 days after calving. Production declines steadily afterwards until milking is stopped at about 10 months. The cow is "dried off" for about sixty days before calving again.

Cattle and better breeding program

The county is divided into the three districts of Cunningham, in the more northern part, Kyle, which lies in the center, and Carrick, which forms the southern part of the county. During its development, it was referred to first as the Dunlop, then the Cunningham, and finally, the Ayrshire.

How the different strains of cattle were crossed to form the breed known as Ayrshire is not exactly known. There is good evidence that several breeds were crossed with native cattle to create the foundation animals of the breed.

In Agriculture, Ancient and Modern, published inSamual Copland describes the native cattle of the region as "diminutive in size, ill-fed, and bad milkers. Probably the improvement of the native stock began around when it was crossed with other breeds.

The principal blood used in improvement was that of the Teeswater stock, which later was largely used in the Cattle and better breeding program of the Shorthorn breed in England.

A majority of the breeding in the Teeswater was from Dutch or Flemish cattle that also were used in the formation of the Holstein breed. Animals from the West Highland and improved Shorthorn were to improved the original Ayrshire stock. There is also considerable evidence that cattle from the Channel Islands were used in the improvement of the cattle of Ayr.

It is to the credit of the Scottish farmers that they used any available improved stock that they felt would improve their cattle for practical use in their area. Regardless of the details of origin, the early breeders carefully crossed and selected the various strains of cattle to develop the cow we now know as the Ayrshire.

She was well suited for the land and climate in Ayr. She was an efficient grazer; noted for her vigor and efficiency of milk production. She was especially noted for the superior shape and quality of her udder.

The composition of her milk made it ideally suited for the production of butter and cheese by the early Scottish dairymen.

Breed Characteristics Ayrshires are red and white, and purebred Ayrshires only produce red and white offspring. Actually, the red color is a reddish-brown mahogany that varies in shade from very light to very dark. On some bulls, the mahogany color is so dark that it appears almost black in contrast to the white.

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There is no discrimination or registry restriction on color patterns for Ayrshires. The color markings vary from nearly all red to nearly all white. The spots are usually very jagged at the edges and often small and scattered over the entire body of the cow.

Usually, the spots are distinct, with a break between the red and the white hair. Some Ayrshires exhibit a speckled pattern of red pigmentation on the skin covered by white hair. Brindle and roan color patterns were once more common in Ayrshires, but these patterns are rare today.

For many years, the Ayrshire horns were a hallmark of the breed. These horns often reached a foot or more in length. When properly trained, they gracefully curved out, and then up and slightly back. When polished for the show ring, the Ayrshire horns were a spectacular sight.

Unfortunately, the horns were not very practical, and today almost all Ayrshires are dehorned as calves. Ayrshires are medium-sized cattle and should weigh over pounds at maturity. They are strong, rugged cattle that adapt to all management systems including group handling on dairy farms with free stalls and milking parlors.

Ayrshires excel in udder conformation and are not subject to excessive foot and leg problems. Few other breeds can match the ability of the Ayrshire to rustle and forage for themselves under adverse feeding or climatic conditions.How to Feed Cattle.

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Cattle and better breeding program

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