GENERAL INFORMATION








HOW, WHY, AND WHEN DID THIS BREED BEGIN?

This breed we fondly call "miniature Jerseys" is NOT a heritage breed, nor did it originate on the Isle of Jersey as some may claim. Do the research and you will find the truth.

About 40 years ago, several breeders here in the USA, began to use the standard Jerseys to breed with smaller beef bulls, hoping to bring the sizes of their offspring down to a smaller and more useful sizes for homesteads.
They were also hoping to retain most of the Jersey milking qualities...and some of the offspring do indeed milk like their Jersey predecessors. The resulting offspring were named "Miniature Jerseys", but even then, they were only 50% standard Jersey by genetics, with the other half of their genes donated by the smaller beef sires. Many types of smaller beef bulls were used such for this purpose such as Belted and White Galloways, Lowline Angus, British White Parks, Dexter's, as well as other small beef breeds including Zebu's. Many of these small bulls did reduce offspring in height, while others remained pretty much the same as their larger Jersey parents.


Still today, we will see the genetic traits of these smaller beef breeds in our offspring in coat colors, heights, horns (or absence of horns), markings, stockiness/beefier confirmations and even the sometimes deadly Chondrodysplasia gene (donated by the Dexter breed). If these cattle were purebred as many claim, they would consistently produce other miniatures exactly like themselves, but this is not the case as all breeders know. One can breed two actual miniature cattle at or under 42" at maturity, and get a standard sized offspring from the pairing. The results are a simple flip of the genetic dice.


Genetics will always have the last say, regardless of our best efforts.


One particular early breeder called their offspring "Belfairs", while another called them "Belmonts", but they were both the same: 50% standard Jersey and 50% of a different smaller beef breed. Many names have been assigned to this breed over the years, but one thing remains clear: this breed is not going away anytime soon! Breeders all over this country and others where they have been imported, are enjoying the fruits of milking and owning these delightfully smaller dairy cattle. And here at White Star Farm, we enjoy them immensely as we milk twice daily, year round here. This is not a hobby for us, it is our lifestyle.


There are legends on the internet that can be easily located, which state that this breed originated on the Isle of Jersey, but this has proved to be false. I personally contacted David Hambrook, the Registrar for the island Herd Book, several times to get this story straight. He is adamant that this information (that we hold dear here in the USA) is fully incorrect. Per Mr. Hambrook, the only Jerseys that originated from there historically, are standard Jerseys in the 46" - 48" range in heights. They were first imported into America by the wealthy oil baron who owned Standard Oil at that time in the 1850's. He was a friend of the Queen's and she owned her own Jersey herd, which he greatly admired.


They were not then, nor have they ever been under 42" on the Isle of Jersey, nor do any carry the name "Miniature Jerseys". After further research, I found that this breed began here by crossing of the above mentioned cattle, plain and simple. There were a few throw backs from the Depression era that were smaller because of malnutrition, but those were few and far between. When bred, those also produced larger offspring most of the time. The mystery of the origins of our breed were settled permanently for me, after my research and for anyone seeking the truth, it can be found.


What about the BBR (Breed Base Representation)?

It has been stated by some that, by using the BBR standards it can be proven to show the purity of the "miniature" Jersey genetics. So some push for this testing. The ONLY thing that a BBR test on a mini Jersey can state with accuracy is the percentage of standard Jersey genes that may be in the animal...there is no such standard for "miniature" Jersey blood purity, because it does not exist!. The closest one can get may be 15/16ths of standard Jersey genetics, certainly never 100% or purebred...the genes of the beef sire are always there no matter how far back in the lineage they are and can appear at any time in future offspring, as we all know. The cow may appear smaller in height and more standard Jersey in the BBR testing, yet it can and will still produce large offspring that can vary wildly in characteristics, because of the standard Jersey genes as well as the beef influences of the past crossing.


Based on this, save your money and choose the cattle that appeal to you in personality, size, coat color, affordability and many other traits that will make them a great companion for your family and farm.






WHY ALL THE HUBBUB OVER THE A2 GENE?

I have personally read any and all books and articles that I could find to understand what the A2 beta casein gene was all about. And I encourage anyone to do this same research. I believe it is no more than a ploy to make money for the A2 Corporation. A2 Corporation gets a kickback on every single test performed to find out the gene status of every cow tested and they actually own the patent for the A2 name. They don't have to prove anything, and they still make money! A2 milk is not a panacea for our ill health as it is touted to be!


Many years ago, when the Lord gave me standard Jersey cattle to farm and feed our family with, He failed to mention that this A2 gene would rise up one day in the future. So, when it became popular, I began to seriously look into it. No where in the Holy Bible could I locate any info on this mysterious and new gene...yet all throughout His Word, I found that milk was associated with health and prosperity. Why would He leave this out if it were so important to our health? I wanted the very best for our family...was I missing something?


Back then the A2 Corporation boldly stated on their website that ALL cattle were once a2 and some big bang type thing happened to them and their DNA split off into a1a1, a1a2 while some remained a2a2. Huh? It's like the ape thing and humans (evolution)...if the big bang theory really happened, why are there still apes? Wouldn't it have changed them all into humans? :-) I guess evolution is still not complete after all these years. And how does the A2 corporation know that all cattle began as a2? The testing for this gene is only about 20 years old...go figure. It is my assertion that God made cattle different, just as He made humans different...end of story.


Either way, I do not now, nor have I ever bought into the a2 thing. The miniature Jerseys that we breed and raise here to milk are a1a1, a1a2 and a2a2, and we do not breed specifically for this trait. We do not separate the milk from the different cows, either. If anything, less than 1% of our population would benefit from this a2 theory.. It is my opinion, that the beta casein of our cattle will not kill us, but the diseases can. Please read on.



NOW, PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT THE DISEASES AND HOW TO PROTECT MY FAMILY.

There are many, many diseases that can and do affect our little cows. And I want to do my best to help them live long healthy lives, plus protect our investment in them. One way we do this is to have them tested at least once a year, by blood at a reputable lab. Our lab of choice is Antel Bio (listed in our RESOURCES section). I'll explain why this lab over others further in this section.


I want to list the things that we test for in particular, so that you can do the research to educate yourself before you buy your first cattle. And if you already own cattle, you may want to look into this asap. There are four diseases that we test for without exception, that are now known to be "zoonotic" or can pass from species to species...ie: from cattle to humans. Only one of these is not yet known to be zoonotic, BVDv.


This testing is inexpensive...most of the tests are under $5 each...cheap insurance if you ask me!


1) BLV (Bovine Leukosis Virus)

This is cancer of the blood. Up to 70+% of the dairy and beef cattle in our country today, are carriers of this
cancer. I wonder if it is a cause of many in humans, too..
You can do the research and read to see if you find it important, like we do. It is highly contagious through
blood from an infected animal...or tools used by Vets that are not sterile. It can be transmitted to other

cattle on the farm, too. Be sure your Vet uses a sterilizing solution on all tools used to contact blood in your cattle. For instance tattooing your cattle after coming from another farm where they tattooed with that same instrument. Anything that contacts blood should be suspect and sterilized.


2) JOHNE'S DISEASE
Johne's is transmitted through urine and feces of an infected animal. Goats that carry it, can and will transfer it to cattle. One cannot tell by looking..so test to be sure. We have know of several farms who had goats, bought cattle only to find out later, that those cute little goats had infected their cute little cows! It is stated that the bacteria that causes Johne's can be latent and stay on the soil for up to three years before becoming benign. In humans, you'll recognize this bacteria (Mycoaviumparatuberculosis) in diseases like Crohn's, IBS and Colitis...yep, it's the same one found in infected cattle.


3) TUBERCLOSIS

Tb has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years. It infect humans and cattle alike. Tb infects the lungs and is deadly. Although many states declare that they we Tb free, it is still around. Purchase from states that are accredited to be Tb free..


4) BVDV (Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus)

This is deadly and infectious only to cattle, at least from all the research that I can find today. It can wipe out herds of cattle in a few days. To date, I have never heard of a single case affecting our breed of cattle...but it is something we test for to be sure our cattle are the best that they can be.