Learn All About the Holstein Cows

Learn All About the Holstein Cows

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Holstein cows are the cattle that produce the highest milk in the world per lactation. They originate from Netherlands, Germany and Denmark and are distributed all over the world. More than 19 million animals are registered in the Holstein Association’s herd book.

There is a 90% chance that the milk products you are using such as milk, butter, cream and ice-cream etc. come from these amazing cows. These cattle are also used for meat purpose, hence they are good for both meat and milk. In Europe Holstein cows are bred for beef purposes too. 

Holstein Cow

Holstein Cow Facts:

  • Origin: Netherlands, Germany and Denmark
  • Use: Dairy and Beef.
  • Coat Color: Black and White or Red and White or Blue Roan
  • Height: 58 inches at shoulders
  • Time of First Lactation: 21 to 24 Months
  • Weight of Cow: 680 – 770 kg at Maturity
  • Weight of Calf: 40 – 50 kg
  • Milk Production Per Day: 25 – 30 liters.
  • Famous Holstein: Pauline Wayne, RORA Elevation, Missy, Lulubelle III, Kian, Toystory

Holstein or Friesian

They are known as Holstein in the US and Friesian in the UK. The actual name of the breed is Holstein Friesian. Whether someone is talking about Holstein cows or Friesian cows or Holstein Friesian Cattle, they all are the same breed.

Physical Characteristics:

Holsteins are large and stylish animals. A healthy Holstein calf weighs around 90 pounds at birth. Heifers can be bred at the age of 13 months and calve usually at 23 to 26 months of age. The gestation period of Holstein cows is approximately 9 months.

A Dual Purpose Breed: 

This breed is very popular for its milk production. Originally it is a dual-purpose breed which means it is also good for beef.

In Europe this breed is used for milk in the north and for beef in the south. Due to this reason the breed that come from Dutch origin as compared to that bred by the US are very different because in US Holstein cows are only used and bred for dairy purpose.

The Coat Color

Holstein cows are black and white in color. However they can also be of red and white or blue color which is a mix of black and white actually, often referred as blue roan in some farms.

Holstein cows milk production

The average milk production is 22530 pounds of milk per year. A mature  cattle weighs 680 to 770 kg. The heifers are bred at the age of 11 to 14 months and usually calve for the first time between 21 to 24 months.

The Presidential Cow: Pauline Wayne

Pauline Wayne - The Presidential Cow

Pauline Wayne in front of the Navy Building, which is known today as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building

Holstein cow has the honor of being the presidential cow of the 27th President of the United States, William Howard Taft. The name of this presidential cow was Pauline Wayne and it served as a pet from 1910 to 1913. There are other famous Holstein cows too such as Missy, a prize winner from Canada.


Highest Milk Producing Cow:

The world record for milk production was set by Selz-Pralle Aftershock 3918, a Holstein cow from Wisconsin, in 2017, She produced 78,170 pounds of milk that year.

Famous Holstein Friesian Bulls

Kian which was a red bull whose semen sold over 1 million units and Toystory which that sold more than 2.4 million units of its semen worldwide.

Holstein cows Care:

Holstein Cow

Holstein cows are problem-free cattle but they feel best in 6 to 18 degree Celsius temperature and start feeling stress above 25 degree Celsius along with high relative humidity.

For better milk production and keeping your cow happy, you should keep their environment clean, milk them at the same time every day and feed them properly before and after calving and during lactation.

You should properly formulate a diet with 14 to 16 % crude protein. It can be a mix of silage, hay and concentrate such as Soybean meal. Provide a feed according to 4% body weight of the cow and you can increase that to 5 or 6% if your cow gives more milk than average.

Protect your cattle from Mastitis, Metritis and Bloat. Vaccinate them properly and on time. Provide a proper dry period of 2 months before calving and take care of them at all times.

Holstein Cow

Holstein cows dominate USA’s milk production industry and the reason behind is very clear: They excel in production, farmers earn greater income over feed costs, they have great genetic progress and adapt to wide range of environments.

On an average your Holstein Friesian Cattle will remain productive for around 4 years and in 3 to 3.5 lactation a it will give you around 26000 to 28000 liters of Milk.

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