Holstein cows: description, care and feeding

The Holstein breed of cows has been popular among breeders for a century and a half since it was bred at the end of the 19th century. About the reasons for popularity, as well as about the features of its content, our material.

Description and breed standard

The Holstein cow is one of the most common dairy breeds in the world. It was brought out by Dutch breeders. However, it became widespread among the Americans, who for a long time improved its characteristics.

In the United States, the selection of this animal began in 1852, Winnsrop W. Chenery. Today, the breed is appreciated for its high productivity and good adaptive abilities.

Exterior of the breed:

chestdeep, 80 cm deep, 55 cm wide
bodytriangular format, deep, elongated
limbselongated, widely spaced, with strong joints and high hooves
woolshort, shiny
suitblack and white, rarely red and white
height at the withersheifers - 143-145 cm; gobies - 150–160 cm

Did you know? Domestication of the cow occurred during the early Neolithic period in the Altai region - India - Western Asia. The ancestors of modern cows were tours and zebu. Since then, this cattle (cattle) has decreased in size by 3 times.

Pros and cons of breeding

  • The advantages of this breed include:
  • high milk performance;
  • high milk flow rate - 2.5–3 kg / min .;
  • cleanliness;
  • excellent adaptability to various living conditions;
  • excellent immunity and high resistance to disease;
  • precocity;
  • adaptability to machine milking;
  • fitness for grazing;
  • fitness for group housing in cowsheds;
  • easy calving;
  • high demand.

  • Among the minuses of the content:
  • exactingness to living conditions;
  • demanding feed base
  • susceptibility to stress.

Maintenance and care

How much milk a cow gives and how high-quality it is, directly depends on the conditions of her living and the feed that she is provided in the winter and summer.

In this section you will be able to familiarize yourself with the recommendations on the content of representatives of this breed, following which you can achieve their maximum productivity, long life and well-being.

Important! The productivity of a cow is affected by its age, state of health, nutrition, shape and size of the udder. A good dairy cow should have a wide, soft and elastic udder in the shape of a bowl with smooth and symmetrical lobes and a developed circulatory system.

Summer playground

Cattle must have a place for walking. Daily walks in the fresh air contribute to the fact that in the animal’s body metabolic and digestive processes proceed properly. Without walking, high productivity is also impossible.

For the safety of cattle and protection from sunlight, it is necessary to equip a summer area at the rate of 20 square meters. m per 1 individual with a canopy, where animals can take shelter in case of adverse weather conditions. Overheating threatens to worsen appetite, the appearance of aggressiveness, growth retardation.

Summer area will make milking more convenient. It should be equipped with drinking bowls, which animals will have constant access to. In the autumn-spring period in case of shortage of pasture, the installation of feeders will also be required.

Walking animals released daily for at least 2-3 hours, except for days when there is bad weather or icy conditions. The walking of pregnant cows is stopped 2-3 days before calving.

Settlement of a barn

The best materials for building a barn are brick or limestone. Wooden walls are undesirable. It is necessary to take care of its warming, since cows should not be frozen - this will adversely affect the state of health and future productivity. It is necessary to control that the insulation is fireproof and resistant to detergents and disinfectants.

The dimensions of the dwelling for cows should be calculated based on the norm of 20 cubic meters. m per 1 adult, 10 cubic meters. m per 1 calf.

The barn should also be well ventilated. Otherwise, the risk of frequent diseases in animals increases.

This breed is not kept on a leash. She needs stalls or boxes. In addition, the cow dwelling should have a place for rest, feeding troughs and drinking bowls. Devices for feed and water need to be purchased or made from high-quality safe materials. The owner should be able to freely wash and disinfect them.

The arrangement of the floor will depend on the number of animals and how it is planned to be cleaned - mechanically or automatically.

For cows, a wooden flooring made of good durable breeds and thick boards is suitable. The floor of cement or concrete will be too cold and traumatic for representatives of this breed. On this floor you will need to lay wooden shields. An option for a burnt brick floor is also possible.

Straw (20 cm thick), peat (10 cm) or hay (20 cm) are used as litter. This litter will need to be regularly changed and poured.

It is advisable that a drain or sewage system be equipped in the barn. Then the floor will need to be done with a slight slope.

Conditions of detention

The optimum temperature for keeping representatives of this breed is +5 ... + 20 degrees. In summer, in a barn, it should not rise above +22 degrees for dairy cows, heifers and +27 degrees for calves. Lowering the thermometer below +5 ° C threatens to terminate animal productivity. Optimum humidity is 50–70%.

The barn should have large windows that could provide a long daylight hours in the spring-summer season. Ideally, they should be located east and south. In the autumn-winter period, additional lighting sources must be used.

Since Holstein cows are susceptible to mastitis, care must be taken to prevent drafts in the barn.

Regular cleaning of the stall and equipment

Among the advantages of the breed is cleanliness. These cows love cleanliness and do not tolerate living in unsanitary conditions - they instantly react with a decrease in milk yield.

The barn should be kept dry and clean year-round. Manure should be cleaned every day, ideally in the morning and evening. Every day you need to wash the feeders, drinkers and used equipment. Litter is changed once a month, poured every 10 days. Disinfection and general cleaning is carried out 1-2 times a year.

Feeding and drinking

Holstein cows put forward high demands on feed. Meals in summer and winter will be different. In summer, feeding is performed 1-2 times a day (only if there is not enough pasture, in winter - increase to 3 times.

Important! Through experiments, it was noted that the best milk yield occurs when the cow's nipples are compressed at a speed of 60–90 times per minute.

Summer grazing in the pasture

In summer, horned animals must be provided with juicy green food.

In the diet of a cow, there must be such ingredients as:

  • lupine;
  • alfalfa;
  • peas;
  • clover.

It is important to select food of the highest class. In a year, one animal needs about 72 centners of feed.

The recommended protein content in the feed is 20% of the total weight.

Winter Feeding Diet

The winter menu of cows should consist of cereals, corn, hay, legumes, meal. Fodder must be selected in the highest quality.

The daily menu of a milking individual may consist of:

  • hay and haylage - 3-10 kg;
  • straw - 3-5 kg;
  • corn silage - 10-15 kg;
  • beets, pumpkins, zucchini - 5-15 kg;
  • concentrates - 2–5 kg;
  • table salt - 50-100 g.

If calculated as a percentage, then:

  • 38% of the diet should be roughage;
  • 34% are juicy;
  • 28% are concentrates.

Solids should be 5 kg per 100 kg of live weight.


Throughout the day, the animal needs to solder at least 50 liters per day. During lactation, the cow's water demand increases. At this time, she can drink even 100 liters per day. Water should be warmed to room temperature. Today you can purchase special heated drinking bowls.

Summing up, we note that the Holstein breed of cows is in demand by many farmers in various countries. She gained popularity thanks to excellent milk indicators, a beautiful exterior, good meat qualities.

Did you know? Average cows live for about 20 years. However, in 1993, a longevity record was registered - a cow named Big Bert lived for 48 years.

However, in order to achieve high productivity, the animal must be provided with proper conditions, quality care and feeding.

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