As the dairy twin to the beef Shorthorn breed, Milking Shorthorn Cattle are extremely valuable and have been bred over the centuries to near perfection! Though they are playful and frisky when young, mature Milking Shorthorn Cattle are very docile. They are easy to handle and adapt very well to most management systems.
Milking Shorthorn Cattle are also quite hardy and with their easygoing personalities, they make an ideal dairy cow! At maturity, a Milking Shorthorn bull weighs around 2,500 pounds and cows weigh around 1,400 pounds. Milking Shorthorns are available in horned or polled varieties, and offer a choice of colors as well!
They may be red, white, roan, although the most common coloring is that of basic red with white undersides. In appearance, they are nearly identical to the Shorthorn, save for the fact that they have excellent dairy conformation, with wedge-shaped bodies. Milking Shorthorn Cattle are extremely adaptable to climate and weather changes.
They are valued cross breeders and milk producers and may still be used for beef, though Shorthorn Cattle are more ideal for such product. Milking Shorthorns arise from the same genetic line as Shorthorn Cattle. They were developed in the Teeswater area, where the presence of Shorthorn Cattle is recorded as early as 1650.
The Milking Shorthorn line was developed extensively by Bates, Booth, and Cruickshank, who all bred these cattle. In 1783, Milking Shorthorn Cattle arrived in the United States and today remain extremely popular in that country. Their herd book was established in 1842, but it embraced the Shorthorn as a triple purpose breed. Through the work of specialty clubs, the Milking Shorthorn was developed as a separate strain and received its own herd book in 1969.
Today, Milking Shorthorn Cattle remain valued as dairy cows and are renowned for their good reproductive traits and docile personalities. Milking Shorthorn Cattle may be used for beef when they are finished with their productive dairy life.
They do very well on all sorts of feed, whether home grown fodder or concentrate feed. Also, Milking Shorthorn Cattle adapt very well to most climates and varieties of management. Milking Shorthorn Cattle have a reputation for easy calvings. Their calving intervals are regular and generally a calf per year may be expected.
Milking Shorthorn Cattle are, obviously, good milk producers and can suckle a calf while providing milk for the dairy or family that keeps them. The calves are extremely healthy and vigorous at birth. Various breeding and artificial insemination programs are in place for the Milking Shorthorn line.