Our 'Guernseys'

our guernseys

The Guernsey cow breed, known as 'Guernseys' or the 'Golden Guernsey' is famous within the world dairy farming industry.

They're known for their friendly, docile nature and for producing some of the best milk in the world - golden in colour, rich in flavour and with a high nutritional value. You can   find out about why its just so good here.

The History of the Breed

It's said that the first Guernsey cows stepped foot in Guernsey in the middle ages, led by monks from Mont St Michel. 

The breed has since settled and flourished on their island home, happily grazing on the green cliff tops with fresh sea air.

But only 10% of the world population are actually farmed here in Guernsey. As news got round of this super breed, the cows have made their way to farms all over the globe.  

Travelling Guernseys

Mainland Britain got wind of the breed's reputation in the 1770s and began to import Guernseys to wealthy households desperate for their own personal supply of rich Guernsey butter for the table. Their beauty stole the attention of aristocrats and the cows began to be dotted around estates across Britain. They were even showcased at the World Exhibition in 1851 in London. 

By the 1900s, news of the rich golden milk from our Guernseys had travelled across the Atlantic and after an exhibition in Chicago, they 'broke America' and became the dairy cow of choice across the country.  

The adventures continued northwards to Canada (accidentally) after a ship of Guernseys were forced to divert to Nova Scotia where they made quite the impression, again. Canadian Prime Minister, Sir John Abbott was so taken with the cows, he made them an official importation to Canada.

As the breed become recognised for their hardiness and plentiful production of rich golden milk, three Guernseys were taken where no cows had ever gone before- to Antarctica. 

Deerfoot, Klondike and Emmadine accompanied Admiral Richard Byrd on his voyage in 1993. Their adventures went down in history and even inspired award winning children's book 'Something to Tell the Grancows' by Eileen Spinelli.

Protecting the Guernsey breed

Since 1819, Guernsey law has prevented the importation of cattle to the island to ensure all our cows that produce the Guernsey Dairy's milk are pure, bred on island and disease free.  

Guernsey's Biodiversity Strategy recognises the Guernsey cow as an important part of the island's culture and heritage and each farm has a Farm Biodiversity Action Plan which helps and encourages each farmer to keep animal welfare and wildlife in mind. 

Our Guernseys today

Guernsey's RSPCA Accredited dairy farming community spans many generations with 11 working dairy farms and over 1,250 milking cows, supplying approximately 7.6 million litres of liquid milk to the Dairy a year.  Using some of the latest technology, these farms uphold the highest standards of animal welfare whilst enhancing our natural habitat and maintaining rural life as a valued part of Guernsey's cultural identity.

Guernsey farmers manage 50% of our natural habitat including fields, hedgerows, earth banks and wildflower meadows.  Each farm has an action plan to maintain and encourage biodiversity designed to support Guernsey's rural environment.  

Shortcuts

The Guernsey breed is so popular, you can find them on farms across Britain, North America, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

Share this page