Do Jersey Cows Really Have Horns? Why They Remove It?

Jersey cows are a breed of cows characterized by being one of the most important breeds of dairy cows. They dominate the dairy industry in many countries. Jersey cows are well known for their production of rich milk. Their milk is saturated with nutrients such as fats, proteins, and minerals.

When you visit a Jersey farm, you will find that most, if not all, of the cows, are polled!

Is this the truth about them that they are really without horns, or does the matter have other aspects?

In this article, we’re taking a deeper look on Jersey’s characteristics, its shape, and whether it have horns or not.

Do Jersey Cows Have Horns?

Jersey cow with horns

Jersey cows do have horns. Horns come naturally in Jersey males and females, but they are not large horns, but rather small and curved horns. You should always expect to see smaller horns in females compared to those of male bulls.

Why are Some Jersey Cows Polled?

All male and female Jersey cows have horns, but there may be a few exceptions:

When Jersey cows are crossed with animals of another polled breed. This leads to the birth of a calf without a horn. The gene responsible for the absence of horns is the dominant gene, while the gene responsible for the appearance of horns is a recessive gene.

Jersey cows may not contain horns in some cases. They are intentionally removed through the famous dehorning process. They do it especially in Jersey cows and other dairy cows.

The horns are burned at a young age, for several reasons that dairy farmers see as a priority.

Many farmers remove Jersey cow horns mainly because of the problems caused by horns which includes:

  • The horns of cows getting stuck in the fences.
  • Cows may be used their horns to hit each other.
  • In addition, they may lead to injury to workers while dealing with cows and their daily management.

Related Article: Are Holstein Cows Polled Or Horned?

Quick Overview On Jersey Cows Look

A small jersey cow with horns

To make this article more beneficial, I didn’t want to it stop at the fact of whether Jerseys are horned or not. In the coming lines, I am providing some general information on jerseys looks that will interest any farmer:

Jersey cows are really small cows, weighing between 800 and 1200 pounds only. You can identify Jersey cows very easily from their shape at first sight. they are very distinctive in their color and body shape.

Their color ranges from light gray or brown to darker shades. Jersey usually comes with a shade of fawn or cream, But sometimes it comes almost black. Their color patterns are generally uniform and unbroken. But they are usually darker around their heads, hips, and shoulders.

Some Jersey cows can have some small white areas. They appear as a diamond spot on the shoulders or hips, to a band from the top of the cow’s shoulder to the elbow. The white color is not usual in the legs.[1]

Jersey cows are a naturally horned breed known for their small size and delicate head size. They often have a feminine appearance, regardless of gender. Jersey cows are known for their distinctive body shape. They are well-boned compared to other breeds.

Jersey cows are originally a superior breed in milk production and are not meat producers. This is the reason for their angular body shape, to the point that they appear completely bony at times. The jerseys are dark, with dark skin around their eyes and noses. Its hooves and tail are dark black.

Why Do They Remove Jersey Cow Horns?

2 jersey cows with no hornes

Jersey cows are amazing creatures. They have the ability to produce the most nutritious and delicious milk. Jersey cows produce around 25 kg of raw milk per day with a high content of 5% butterfat. And a protein percentage of about 3.8%.

In addition, Jersey cow’s milk contains a higher percentage of calcium, up to 15%. It also contains more minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin B12. This is the first reason why Jersey cows are of great interest in most of the dairy industry. They are a great source of investment and profit.

There have always been attempts to develop Jersey cows more. Scientists aim at providing ideal conditions for Jersey’s productivity. Among these measures is the removal of the horns of Jersey cows. They consider it an important aspect from an administrative and economic point of view.

Although Jersey cows make excellent animals because they are docile and friendly, their horns are still a source of danger. The horns themselves are not a bad thing. They are a natural, inborn part of the formation of cows to defend themselves against predators.

Cows have been since the beginning of its creation grazes in open pastures. Because it is a non-wild pet, it is vulnerable to predation by predators. The horns were its first weapon to defend itself.

Jersey cows now live in protected barns away from any dangers. They are no longer raised recreationally or just as a pet at home to get some milk only.

They have become part of the economy of some countries. There is always increased needs to increase their efficiency, production, and health.

And since the horns are no longer needed in dairy farms, they represent a burden that may lead to more losses.

The trend of removing the horns of Jersey cows has become the prevailing trend in most dairy farms.

Despite the small horns of Jersey cows, they lead to injury to workers during daily care. They are also a source of injury when transporting cows and even while they remain in farming, as cows sway their horns and harm each other.

Usually, cow horn buds are cauterized at an early age, about a month after their birth. While some see this behavior as cruel and a violation of animal rights.

There is a better way, but it is still not very widespread. They crossbreed Jersey cows with other breeds without horns to get non-horned generations.

Dairy industry leaders may hesitate about this procedure for fear that it will affect the quality of the milk.

There is another wonderful procedure that is followed in Holstein cows to remove the horns. It is to replace the gene responsible for the horns in Holstein cows with the dominant gene responsible for the pod horns. It leads to the emergence of new non-horned generations without affecting milk production.


Do Female Jersey Cows Have Horns?

Yes, Jersey females have horns. They are usually smaller than male horns. Female horns can generally extend in most breeds between 20 to 26 inches, but they are smaller in Jersey females.

What Are Cow Horns Made Of?

Cows’ horns are made of keratin, not ivory, as is commonly believed by many. Cow hooves are also made of keratin. While human teeth are made of ivory or calcium phosphate.

Are Jersey Cows Horned Or Polled?

Horns are an essential feature in the appearance of Jersey cows. However, The horns of Jersey cows are usually removed when they are young. That’s why, some people believe that they are born without horns, and this is not true.

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Doaa Salah
The shy one (too shy to put her photo) and the only girl in our team! Doaa is a veterinarian who is passionate about writing content. She knows a lot about animals and birds, as she has been studying them for many years now. Her goal? She is researching and learning to convey to you all the knowledge she have and what's new about farming.