Holstein Dairy Cows

The Holstein breed is from the Netherlands, coming both from Friesland and northern Germany. It is believed that selective breeding originated the breed about 2,000 years ago. It is called Holstein in the Canada and United States. Other places, it is called Friesian.

Holsteins were brought to the United States by the Dutch settlers in the years between 1621 and 1664. Other large importations occurred in 1857, 1859, and 1861. There have been no large importations of Holsteins since 1905.

Almost 90 per cent of all dairy cattle in the continential United States contain Holstein bloodlines. Authorities say that there are almost 1,500,000 registered Holsteins located in the United States.

Holsteins are black and white in color. Occassionally, a recessive red gene will cause a Holstein to be red and white and in color. Purebred associations will not register a solid black, red, or white Holstein. Horns of Holsteins are of medium length, tapering to the tips, and incline forward and curve inward. Holsteins are the largest of all dairy type breeds. A mature bull will weigh about 2,200 pounds. A mature cow will be in the 1,500 pound range. The Holstein cows possess large udders and mammary systems. Naturally, Holstein cattle have a excellent grazing capacity and a spacious feeding ability.

Holstein cows are usually quiet docile and well-adjusted to humans. However, Holstein bulls can be quiet dangerous. I can attest to this fact. When I left our dairy farm to go to college, my Dad purchased a Holstein bull because I had previously artificially inseminated our cattle.

This bull was young and docile initially. Pretty soon, he became aggressive and dangerous. He charged and struck my brother one Fall day, this I did not know about. Later, when I was home for Christmas, he struck me from behind, throwing me about 15 feet (I believe this is why I have some back problems today). He tried to get me when I hit the ground as well. I got away from him to safety.

When my Dad came back to the barn from eating breakfast, I asked him a question. “Do you see that rifle right there?” (I had a rifle in the barn because of coyotes). He said, “Yes.” I said, “If you don’t sell that bull at the sale on Tuesday, I am going to shoot him right now.” Dad did sell him Tuesday and bought a gentler bull.