General information

Peculiarities of Ayrshire Cows


First of all, according to many owners of these cows, as well as observers from the side, heifers and bullheads of Ayrshires have an incredibly beautiful appearance.

In addition to charm and grace, this type of cow is characterized by high calving ease, as well as longevity.

But the main advantage is that the Ayrshire cow is able to consistently produce a rather high yield. For example, it was recorded that in Russia, these cows annually supply an average of 6,000 to 9,000 liters of the freshest milk.

Origin of the suit

An interesting fact is that the Ayrshire cow was bred in Scotland, in the separate county of Ayrshire. As a matter of fact, this name of cows came from the name of the city. The suit first appeared in 1862.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, the Ayrshires were massively brought to Finland, where there are currently the largest number in the world - about one hundred and sixty thousand heads.

Russia ranks second in terms of the presence of this type of cattle in the country, about ninety thousand heads are officially registered.

Let's talk about looks

In comparison with many other species, the Ayrshire cow has rather small dimensions. On average, a heifer weighs about 450 kilograms, and a bull — about 800 kilograms.

To understand that this species is just a dairy breed is quite simple - the body of individuals is quite proportional. The body of the cow is small in length, it can be said that it looks somewhat shortened. But instantly attracted the attention of a wide and powerful back.

In general, the Ayrshire cow looks very graceful - it has straight limbs with powerful bones, and under the right conditions of keeping it has well-developed musculature.

The Ayrshire cow, the photo of which can be seen below, has strong, not particularly long horns, shaped like a lyre.

Milk special attention

The Aishir cow, reviews of which can be heard from many livestock breeders, has a rather peculiar udder that immediately attracts attention. The fact is that, unlike this breed, not many cows can boast an udder of the correct form, which looks like a bowl. On the udder are widely nipples cylindrical type.

Such an udder structure allows these cows to produce simply amazing milk, whose fat content is about 4.2%. As for the protein content in dairy products, it is about 3.5%.

Among other things, a distinctive feature of this milk is the fact that it contains almost no somatic cells.

Scientists have conducted a study that resulted in the identification that, to obtain one liter of milk with 4.5% fat, this cow should eat about 880 grams of feed. These indicators are very beneficial in terms of agricultural business.

The main purpose of this cow is dairy products, they are rarely bred for meat.

Cow breeding

The Ayrshire cow is famous for its fast breeding and easy calving. As a rule, it is possible to inseminate a heifer at a rather early age - starting from one and a half years. The first calving accounts for about two years of cow age. Newborn bulls weigh approximately 28-30 kilograms, while only born heifers are only a few kilograms less, the average is around 25 kilograms. In the first year of life, with proper care, calves recover by about 280 kilograms.

Ayrshire Cow Content

Many livestock breeders appreciate this type of cow and for the fact that they are completely unpretentious and do not require privileged conditions.

The cow easily adapts to practically any weather conditions, and also is picky in food - it is easy to choose food for her. However, it should be borne in mind that poor quality food can affect the quality of milk and its productivity. Therefore, it is not necessary to feed the cow with anything.

In this regard, this type of cows has become one of the most popular in agriculture and is widely distributed in most parts of the world where animal husbandry is developed. Especially a large number of cows of this breed can be found in Europe, America, Argentina, Australia.

As for the Russian Federation, this type of cows numbers in twenty-three regions of the country, and, apparently, this figure will only increase. After all, animal husbandry experts have long concluded that the Ayrshire cow is one of the most productive, promising and profitable.

Ayrshire cow breed: characteristic

Growth of Ayrshirs is about 125 centimeters, the weight of the heifer varies from four hundred and fifty to four hundred and eighty kilograms, and the bull weighs seven hundred and eight hundred kg. Their bodies are short, like most breeds of cows. Despite their great weight, they have flexible joints and thin bones, but solid hooves. Their head is narrow with small horns spread out to the sides. It is easy to determine among other cows the breed of Ayrshirs. They are distinguished by an unusual color: white with red-brown spots. Or red color may prevailIn this case, it will be combined with white spots.

Calves cattle

Ayrshire breeds are also characterized by the fact that they give birth to fairly large calves, from twenty-five to thirty kilograms. These cows tolerate childbirth quite easily and painlessly. Usually, calves weigh a few pounds more than chicks. With proper care, during the year the weight of calves increases tenfold.

Females of the Ayrshire breed very quickly develop, and, as a rule, they can be inseminated as early as a year and a half. The best time for this process is spring, then female representatives of this breed are very calm and obedient. At the age of two years, they already bring their offspring to their owners. And yet, Ayrshire cows are valued by farmers for their beautiful udders with elastic and thin skin.

On average, one Ayrshire cow gives 7,000 kg of milk. It has excellent taste and high quality. It contains a very small number of organs and tissues, the protein content is equal to three and a half percent, their milk is rather fat, about 4.3%.

Ayrshire cows are long-livers, even after 17 years of their life, their yield is quite rich.

Baby food is based on milk from Ayrshire cows..

Positive qualities of Ayrshire cows

  • In a short period of time they adapt to climatic conditions.
  • Well assimilated food, do not require special care.
  • Have strong health, very active
  • Early begin to produce offspring, namely - with two years
  • They can be crossed with other breeds of cattle.
  • Do not require special costs.

With all the above qualities, the breed of these cows has a difficult character. By virtue of their activity, they can be aggressive and at the same time fearful.

Farm - it is not easy. Animals require patient care and love. If you choose this breed of cows, you will become the owner of unpretentious handsome men who are beneficial to keep.

You should know that the Ayrshire breed of cows is characterized by extreme heat intolerance, so if you live in a hot climate, you should not buy this breed for your farm.

Keeping Ayrshire Cows: Shed Equipment and Care After Calving

In the warm season for the Ayrshirs, a special pen should be built, which should be separated from the rain and the hot sun with material. In winter, they must be kept in a warm room, so take care in advance of the insulation of the shed. Feels best Ayrshire cow at a temperature not higher than seventeen degrees Celsius and not less than fifteen. This breed easily tolerates cold and moisture, in contrast to the heat, because of which the amount of milk yield can be significantly reduced.

How to equip a barn

  1. The room should be bright, for this purpose suitable bulbs 40 watts.
  2. The shed must be vented, make sure that there is fresh air.
  3. Make the floors of the boards, and on top of them cover them with straw.
  4. The stall should be constructed based on the size of the cow.
  5. For feeding animals you need to make special feeders.

Departure after calving

After the Ayrshirka pleased you and brought the offspring, be sure to take the last from her. Let her rest for half an hour, and then bring good hay and warm water. Milking a cow after calving is necessary about four to five times a day, so you can achieve good milk yield.

Room cleaning and milking preparation

The shed must be kept clean and tidy. Farmers who regularly clean the stall, animals get sick much less often.

While cleaning, remove the cattle from the shed, clean the floor, wash the feeders and drinkers. Clean out all the dirt and debris, and then change the flooring.

Before you start milking: clean the pen, lock the door and tie the cow. Wear clean clothes for work and wash your hands with soap and water. Using a clean cloth, wipe the belly and legs of the animal. Wash the udder with warm water., wipe with a clean towel and start the process.

Feeding features

The Ayrshire breed is characterized as a productive and unpretentious farm, feeding livestock does not require any special financial costs.

In the summer, farmers usually drive their cattle to graze in pasture. In winter, be sure to feed them with hay with vitamins and minerals. For high-quality milkThree feeding steps are needed:

  1. The main feed. This group includes hay, husks, straw.
  2. Balanced - oats, wheat, grain, soybean meal and cake.
  3. Combined feed for cattle. It is recommended to give no more than 3-4 kilograms at a time.

If an animal eats poorly, its yield will not decrease, but the quality of the milk will suffer. Therefore, be careful. Proper feeding is a very important step..

Given that the Ayrshire breed has a whole range of such advantages and disadvantages, in order to make an informed choice of breed for breeding on the farm, you need to study all the pros and cons of Ayrshire breed of cows. Benefits include:

  1. High quality milk. An average fat content is 4.3%. For comparison, in Holstein breed this indicator does not exceed 3.7%.
  2. Good yield of meat at the bottom. Since even the dairy farm has to regularly slaughter animals in order to maintain high herd productivity, this figure remains very important.
  3. High precocity. Animals quickly reach productive age, and therefore, the cost of production decreases.
  4. Good health. The breed is characterized by a high survival rate of young (more than 90%). At the same time, adult cows rarely get sick and are generally quite hardy with proper compliance with the rules for keeping cattle. At the same time, the breed has no obvious genetic defects characteristic of other artificial breeds.
  5. Good adaptability to cold climates. Ayrshire cows easily tolerate a rainy and cold climate, which explains their popularity in the northern regions.
  6. Casualty to the conditions of detention. While the Holstein cows need to create “greenhouse” conditions and literally blow away dust particles from them in order to get high milk yield, the Ayrshire dairy cow will be satisfied with just a clean, bright barn.
  7. Undemanding in matters of feed. Again, if Golshtinki need to make a detailed menu as in a restaurant, the "Scots" will be happy simple balanced feed.

Disadvantages can not be called global, but they still should be considered:

  1. Not very high milk yield. Although 4-5 thousand liters of milk per lactation is quite good, all milk yield records belong to other breeds.
  2. High activity of cows. Compared with other breeds, ayrshirki are very mobile, so they cannot be kept in a stall all year round. For a normal state of health cows need at least occasionally be released into the open pen, so that they can warm up. The organization of the walking platform will require small expenses, but still they will.
  3. Bad character. According to reviews, Ayrshire cows can be very aggressive and capricious. Many farmers abandoned them precisely because of the bad temper of the Scotch. Moreover, aggression in a bizarre way is combined with a truly hare-like fearfulness. In practice, this means that a cow is easily frightened for any reason, and when frightened, it often becomes aggressive.
  4. Poor heat tolerance. If you plan to build a farm in the southern regions, you will have to spend money on a full-fledged air conditioning system in the barn.

Peculiarities of keeping Ayrshire cows

Given the excellent adaptability to the cold climate, good productivity, high quality milk, undemanding to conditions and feed, Ayrshire breed of cows is excellent in characteristics for breeding in the northern regions of Russia. These cows easily adapt to any content systems, which de facto makes them an excellent commercial breed.

"Tartan" are equally productive with pasture and stall feeding. Of course, in winter, the dairy herd still needs to be kept in a full barn. Moreover, it is important that it be a normal stationary building with warm walls and hermetic doors. Although in itself cold cows and not terrible, drafts extremely adversely affect the health of even the enduring ayrshirok.

With all the simplicity of food, which can limit the diet of cows of this breed, do not forget that in the winter period, animals need to be fed with vitamins and minerals.

In the spring, the cow should be transferred from stall to grazing with extreme caution and very gradually, since after months of dry hay, a scar may swell from the abundance of lush green grass in animals.

In more detail about all the intricacies of keeping Ayrshire cows can be found on the breeding plants, which will have to buy the starting population. The main breeding farms for breeding cows of the Ayrshire breed in Russia are the ONO SZPPZ plant (Sergiyevo-Posadsky district, Moscow region), Moscow stud farm No. 1 (Odintsovsky district, Moscow region) and FGU Novoladozhsky (Volkhovsky district, Leningrad region).

Breeding history

Ayrshire cows were bred in 1848 in Scotland, Ayr County. It appeared as a result of successive crossing of several breeds of dairy cows at once. The basis of the species was local animals, which were crossed with Dutch, Alderney and Tissanter species. The result of this selection was an animal with good health and active genes. When crossed, they will be dominant.

The official status of this breed was in 1862, after which it quickly spread throughout the world. The cold climate and high humidity of natural pastures cause strong health and excellent taste of milk.

Interestingly, it is the Ayrshire cows milk that serves as the basis for creating infant formula.

External characteristics

Ayrshire cows are relatively small, their growth is only about 125 centimeters. They are distinguished by a strong physique, well-developed muscles and strong legs. An animal of this breed is easy to find in the herd by the characteristic external features:

  • the body is short, with a broad back,
  • a small head with massive, widely spread "lyre" horns,
  • neck of medium length, with pronounced folds,
  • short coat of characteristic red-brown color with dominant white spots,
  • narrow chest with a distinctive heel,
  • the skin is quite dense, but elastic,
  • large udder
  • long and winding milk vein,
  • the nipples are medium wide apart
  • thin bones
  • flexible joints
  • straight short legs ending in strong hooves
  • Grandmas short and strong,
  • The hooves have smooth edges and a deep back.

The average weight of a cow is 450 to 480 kilograms. Bulls quickly gain weight, reaching a weight of 750 - 800 kilograms. Due to good health, the life of the Ayrshire cow is up to 20 years.

Animals of this breed often differ aggressive temperament, they are rather shy. However, they are quite willing to go to the milking.

Conditions of detention

Ayrshire cows are great for grazing. They quickly acclimatize in a new place, tolerate cold. Advantages of Ayrshire Cows:

  • tolerate negative air temperature and high humidity,
  • not demanding to feed. If necessary, they are easily transferred from dry fodder to pasture.
  • the size of the cow’s stall must be at least 6 square meters.

In winter, a full-fledged stationary barn with insulated walls and sealed doors is required. “Ayrshirkam” is not afraid of cold, but drafts can worsen the health of even the most hardy animals. In the summer it is recommended to transfer Ayrshire cows to pasture. Зимой основной корм – это сено в сочетании с минеральными добавками. Активный темперамент «айширок» позволяет легко приучать их к машинному доению.

Стоит помнить, что айрширские коровы хорошо переносят холодную и дождливую погоду. But the heat they endure badly. If the region has stable hot weather in summer, you should equip the barn with air conditioning.

The quantity and quality of milk produced directly depends on the diet used.


For one lactation period, that is, for the year you can get from 5000 to 7000 liters of milk. The peculiarity of this breed is milk with a soft and pleasant taste. Cows show the same productivity as with predominantly pasture and stall maintenance. Due to the successful shape of the udder, the performance of mechanical milking can be up to 2 liters per minute. Comparative milk composition:

  • fat content from 4.2 to 4.3%,
  • protein 3.4 - 3.5%.

The structure of milk with small fat globules, without impurities of somatic cells. Even with a decrease in the diet, the milk indicators for some time remain the same. This allows you to get a stable yield. Milk is suitable for making butter and cheese. When breeding for meat, the average slaughter yield is up to 60% with good fattening.

Despite the unpretentiousness of Ayshir cows in the content, the poor quality of the feed leads to a decrease in the fat content of milk.

Ayrshirs retain high productivity up to 16 - 17 years. It is their milk that is actively used for the production of baby food. But this is possible in the case when the animals are healthy.

To get high quality milk, special attention should be paid to the degree of balanced diet. Ayrshire cows are completely undemanding to feeding conditions. But the taste of milk, the stability of yield and the quality of the product depend on the nutritional value of the feed. The diet should include:

  • high-quality hay or fresh grass in summer,
  • beet,
  • carrot,
  • potatoes,
  • cabbage,
  • pumpkin,
  • vegetable tops,
  • feed,
  • legumes,
  • clover,
  • alfalfa.

To improve the nutritional value of food in the winter, you can add salt and ground chalk. With the spring transfer to pasture, the change of feed should be done gradually and carefully. This is done in order to prevent bloating of the scar due to the abundance of juicy and soft grass.

In winter, fertilizing with vitamins and minerals is required.

In the feed must contain such vitamins as:

The average feed consumption for a liter of full-fat milk is 880 grams, and for non-fat milk it is up to 800 grams. For feeding calves in the absence of breast milk, use this mixture:

  • fresh milk - 1 liter,
  • eggs - 2 pieces,
  • salt - 10 grams,
  • liquid vitamins A and D - 2 ml.

The resulting mixture is fed calf. Milk enough to feed up to one and a half months. Then it is transferred to the feed or other diet.


Ayrshire cows are a type of dairy. These are beautiful and hardy animals with high productivity. They are distinguished by good health and unpretentiousness to the conditions of detention. Milk of high fat content with a soft, pleasant taste. Chicks mature already by 2 years. But the cows of this breed are active. They are often shy and aggressive.