Getting started with Guernseys

This question is one that is asked by most new members, who are keen to get started with breeding Guernsey Cattle, regardless of the fact that you may wish to breed for pedigree status or just use the breed as an alternative in the great New Zealand cross-breed cow.

Firstly, source all the bull semen available in New Zealand. All of the major semen suppliers have a good supply of bulls available. The biggest mistake that most people make is by picking only one bull. Use a TEAM of bulls eg: if you are going to use approximately 100 straws spread these over at least eight-ten bulls. This will spread the risk of ending up with a bull that doesn't cross well with your herd.

Guernsey calves

When you have selected your bulls, DON'T breed to only your bottom producing cows! The Guernsey is not a SUPER-BREED that produces top offspring from bottom cows. Use a good cross-section of your herd, remembering the BULL only does HALF the job. You can use any breed or cross-breed (and still register the offspring). When using Holstein-Friesian cows the offspring will usually be black and white and to the untrained eye will still look like a Holstein-Friesian, it usually takes up to three generations before the offspring from Holstein-Friesian start to show Guernsey colour. But don't be fooled the other attributes start to shine through in the first generation. When crossing with the Jersey or Ayrshire cow the offspring nearly always shows Guernsey colours and it is difficult to tell the difference between the first cross and third cross animal with this parentage. Sometimes when using the Jersey cow as a base, there is the possibility of black noses and brindle colouring.

It takes three generations to produce a pedigree cow or bull. All generations need to be registered with the breed association.

You may also find the links page contains some useful resources.