The Ayrshire breed originated from the county of Ayr in Scotland. The characteristics of the breed were so good that in 1786 it was considered as an independent breed. In 1822 the New England American ranchers needed a dairy cow to feed on the hard and rocky lands area and tolerate the cold weather, so they started importing the breed. Since New England’s weather was similar to that of England, the Airshires adapted well to the new home, but today the largest number of Ayrshire is in New York City, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio USA, with a lower milk production than any other dairy breed such as Holstein, Brownsville, Shorts Horn and Guernsey and rank fifth in this respect.
The Ayrshire breed is universally recognized as one of the most beautiful dairy breeds. The color is red and white, and the Ayrshire breed gives birth to only white and red offspring. In fact, red is a reddish brown that ranges from very light to very dark. In some males the brown color is so dark that it is black compared to white. In some Ayrshire, red pigmented patterns appear on the skin, covered with white hair.
In the past, the horns of Ayrshire were a prominent feature of this breed, The color of these horns were quite light except for the tip, which was dark, reaching 30 cm in size. Unfortunately, today horns are often cut by herds during calving because of the lack of functionality.
The Ayrshire breeds have the least attack rate and least tendency to leave the group compared to other dairy breeds.
Their milk is moderately high in fat and high in protein. Studies have shown that the milk of the breed is better and healthier especially for infants and children.
The average actual production of all Ayrshire in Ayrshire Breeder Association was reported by in 2002 at around 8,000 kg of milk, which contained about 301 kg of fat and about 246 kg of protein.
Ayrshire are medium-sized cows and weigh about 550 kg during maturity. They have no calving problems and their lifespan is high. The shape of the udder is good in Ayrshire and does not expose them to foot problems. The calves are strong and grow easily,
These animals are known for their tenacity and ability to efficiently convert forage to milk.
- Average milk production: 7800 kg
- Average milk fat: 3.9%
- Average milk protein: 3.3%
- Duration of pregnancy: 9 months