Overview of the Holstein breed of cows and bulls


All cattle raised today are divided into two large groups: dairy and meat production. Of course, in most cases, farmers contain animals of the first variety. One of the most popular of all dairy at the same time is the Holstein breed of cows. The characteristic of its yield is simply excellent.

Breed history

Holstein (Frisian) KRS was bred in the USA. Dutch became his parent for him. These black-and-white cows were brought from Europe to America in the middle of the 19th century. American breeders have chosen the Dutch breed for improvement in the United States primarily because of its good performance. An important role was also played by the fact that these cows very well adapted to the new climatic conditions. Holstein-Friesian breed in America was bred with emphasis mainly on increasing the mass of animals and, as a result, increasing milk production. Practically, such indicators as fat content and chemical composition of milk were almost neglected. In 1983, the Holstein-Frisian cattle was renamed simply Holstein.

Breed description

From the European descendants of the Dutch cows, the American Holstein dairy cattle differs primarily in their large body mass. It is rather high at the withers and powerful animals. The color of Holstein cows for 150 years of selection has not changed. The most common color is black and white. Occasionally there are black or red-colored cows. The latter variety was initially culled. However, later these cows were selected specifically - to form a new breed. In addition to a large body mass, signs of Holstein cattle are:

strong and elongated body

cup-shaped udder with clearly visible veins,

pretty broad chest.

Adult Holstein cows reach 150 cm at the withers, and bull-calves at 162 cm.

Holstein breed of cows: performance by productivity

In terms of milk yield, this American cattle far exceeds many European varieties. During the lactation period, the Holsteinsky Burenka can produce 10-12 thousand liters of milk. Very good in this breed and returns. In a minute you can drink up to 3 kg. Milk fat in Holstein cows is not too big - about 3%.

As already mentioned, these animals are very massive. The weight of an adult cow can reach 700 kg, a bull - 900 kg. The meat output at slaughter is about 50-55%.

Holstein cattle in Russia

In our country, a lot of highly productive breeds of cattle have been bred. The Holstein breed of cows, the price of which in Russia is still quite high, has recently become increasingly popular with farmers. This American cattle is bred not only for the purpose of obtaining high yields, but also to improve existing breeds. The fact is that one of the advantages of a Holstein cow are strong genes. The main difficulty in obtaining hybrids are difficult childbirth. Many representatives of domestic dairy breeds are not too large in size and body weight. That is, the domestic Burenka is just hard to give birth to a large Holstein hybrid.

Breed minuses

The Holstein breed of cows, whose characteristics are simply excellent in terms of milk production, has, however, some drawbacks. One of the drawbacks of this cattle is the demands for feeding and maintenance. The productivity of Holstein cows directly depends on how well the diet will be developed. The premises for this cattle should be as light and spacious as possible. Although the Holstein breed is considered to be stable with respect to various kinds of diseases, with a high density of people and a lack of ventilation in the barn, the risk of epidemics increases significantly. In order to achieve good performance from this breed, farmers should strictly comply with all the necessary technologies for keeping cattle.

Feeding features

In Russia, dairy cattle of productivity has been bred for centuries. During this time, content methodologies have been developed that enable us to achieve the best performance indicators. In principle, all these technologies are very well suited for breeding including Holstein cattle.

The norms of feeding cows in domestic livestock farms are compiled primarily with regard to their live weight. In addition, the fat content of milk is taken into account. Actually the type of feeding is established taking into account the soil and climatic conditions of this particular area. In drawing up the ration for dairy cattle, they also take into account the fact that with monotonous feeding of animals, high yields cannot be obtained from them. Cows should be given as a concentrated (wheat, bran) and coarse (hay), and succulent (vegetables, roots) feed. In this case, the diet should be changed at least twice a month.

Milk buryonka should get rough feeds of 1-2 kg per 100 kg of weight per day, juicy - 8-10 kg. Concentrates are given on the basis of the productivity of this particular breed and the lactation period per 1 kg of milk.

Content Features

Most often, Russian farmers breeding cows are bred using pasture-stall technology. This technique can significantly reduce the cost of milk production. Stall technology is used only in areas with large areas of plowed land. That is, where there is very little pasture. In this case, in the summer, the cows are kept in cattle yards (they are fed with purchased green fodder), and in winter they are transferred to stalls with a walking range.

Of course, in any premises intended for the maintenance of cattle, ventilation and lighting must be equipped. Each individual is assigned its own individual place. 10 cm below the stall is arranged dung channel. The length of the leash must be such that the cows can freely move, lie down, drink and eat.

Holstein cattle price

How much is this American cattle? Today, in our country, many farmers are breeding a Holstein breed of cows. The price of heifers and gobies, however, is still quite high. Depending on the age of the animal and the region, it can be 55-150 thousand rubles.

The Holstein breed of cows, the characteristic of which was given in this article, while maintaining technology without violating the technology, shows simply remarkable results not only in milk production, but also in meat yield. This American cattle is distinguished by just a huge amount of advantages, and breeding it, of course, is also beneficial in Russia.

Breed characteristic

The Holstein breed of cow is equally well suited for small farms as well as for large livestock enterprises. This animal is the result of long-term breeding work, and thanks to a number of features, it is still actively used today for breeding new species of cattle.


In the formation of the Holstein cow, several cattle breeds from Belgium, Denmark and Holland were used. But the main breeding work was already done in the United States, where the animals were brought to the settlers at the beginning of the XIX century. Due to the high milk production, the cattle brought special interest from the local farmer Winsrop Chenery, who acquired several heads for breeding in his farm. As a result, he significantly increased the milk productivity of animals and by the second half of the century created his own breed of cows, which was called the Holstein-Friesian.

The merits of a new kind of livestock for North America did not go unheeded, and in 1871 an association of breeders was created, which dealt exclusively with this breed. In the same year the tribal book of this breed line appeared.

Later on, such cattle spread throughout Canada, as well as to some European countries. And in 1983, the name of the breed was officially simplified, and it began to be called simply Holstein.

This type of cattle has a large enough weight. The average cow weight is 700 kg. In this case, the Holstein breed gobies are quite capable of reaching 900 kg. If, while keeping them, it is also possible to use a diet properly balanced in nutrients, it is also quite realistic to reach the mark of 1200 kg.

Holstein cow with calf

Holstein-Friesian cow bypasses other types of dairy cattle in terms of growth. Many individuals at the withers reach an average of 150 cm or more. The height of the bull, as a rule, is at least 160 cm.

As for exterior features, they include the following:

  • massive body with moderately muscular,
  • deep and wide chest,
  • the loin is a little narrower than the chest, but also quite voluminous,
  • narrow neckline
  • long limbs with strong joints,
  • a well-developed udder, which is distinguished by its cup-shaped form and is covered with short white wool.

Holsteins inherited the ancestors of the breed imported from Europe. In most animals, it is black and variegated. Much less often calves have almost black color with small white spots on the limbs and tail. Also, in some cases, red-motley gobies may appear. At the time of the appearance of the breed, they were considered "defective" and excluded from further selection work. But today such a litter is used for breeding new breed lines.


Holstein are rightly considered champions in terms of milk production. But It is worth noting that the annual yield of such livestock is largely dependent on the natural conditions in which they are bred, and on the composition of the diet. Thus, in the warm climate of Israel, breeders, with proper nutritional balance, manage to harvest an average of 10 thousand kg of milk per animal per year. For the United States, this figure varies from 8 to 9 thousand kg.

Reference. In the climate of Russia, representatives of the breed are able to produce on average from 6 to 7.5 thousand kg of milk per year.

But milk yield directly affects the quality of the product. If in Israel the fat content of the produced milk is only 3.1%, then the domestic cows produce such products with a fat content of at least 3.8%.

It is worth noting that the productivity and fat content of milk also differ in Holstein cows with different colors. Individuals with black and white color give about 7-7,5 thousand kg of product per year, and its fat content is 3.6-3.8%. Milk yield of red-motley livestock reaches 4-4.5 thousand kg. At the same time, their milk fat content reaches 4%. Both representatives of the breed are suitable for both manual and machine milking.

The meat productivity of the Holstein-Friesian bulls is distinguished by averages. Weight gain in young bulls is from 950 to 1100 g per day. At the same time, the output of meat from an animal is 55-60%. It has good taste.


The high demand for such cattle in the world can be traced mainly due to a number of advantages that the breed possesses. And among these moments, in addition to high milk productivity, also include:

  • high resistance to various diseases of cattle,
  • fast adaptation in any climate
  • calm disposition and lack of aggression towards other inhabitants of the farm or farmstead,
  • high quality beef, which is obtained from Holstein bulls,
  • early puberty in heifers.

Content and breeding

Holstein are quite sensitive to conditions. Moreover, a sharp transition to new feed, temperature drops, dirt in the barn are perceived by animals as severe stress and necessarily lead to a decrease in milk yields.

When preparing a barn for keeping cows of this breed line, one should take into account such moments:

  • it must be dry and warm, for which it is necessary to provide high-quality insulation of walls and ceiling,
  • There must be a functional system of exhaust ventilation,
  • drafts must be completely eliminated
  • the floor is required to equip drains that will help maintain cleanliness in the machines,
  • it is also important to organize the right lighting system,
  • the barn should be spacious, since the high density of the content is perceived by the cows extremely negatively and leads to a decrease in milk yields.

Important! The best option for the maintenance of such animals is loose stitched box. If all other conditions are met, it allows you to reach maximum milk yield and maintain optimal livestock health.

Also, when breeding Holstein cows should adhere to such nuances:

Representatives of the breed love cleanliness

  • cleaning in the barn is carried out daily (Holstein extremely clean animals),
  • the litter is replaced as it is caked and contaminated,
  • Burenka need to provide sufficient drinking water, which is necessarily heated before serving,
  • cows need constant veterinary control.

Of course, one of the most important moments in obtaining high yields is proper feeding of livestock. It is best to use high protein feed for this purpose. If feeding is based on feed and hay (greens), then it is important to ensure that a significant part of the food is made up of various legumes (alfalfa, peas, lupine).

Attention! It is mandatory to also include in the diet of wheat, roots, vegetables, mineral and vitamin supplements.

The calculation of feed volumes is carried out as follows: for every 100 kg of mass, at least 2 kg of hay and 8-10 kg of vegetables per day are needed, and the higher the productivity of the animal, the more feed is needed. Transitions between summer and winter diets or different types of food supply are carried out within two weeks. If the term is shortened, it will affect the volume of yields.

With regard to cattle breeding, the cows are ready for insemination by the age of 14 months. But most often it is carried out when the animal reaches the age of 24 months. Holstein hotel calving is usually easy and does not require special human intervention. Complications at birth can be traced only in 10% of cases.

Thus, Holstein-Friesian is the most popular breed of dairy cattle in the world of productivity. It is distinguished by its rapid acclimatization, high disease resistance, and calm disposition. But, in order to get record milk yield, one should be extremely responsible in creating special conditions for keeping such animals. Indeed, in the case of their absence, the volume of milk in a cow may be even less than that of ordinary universal varieties.

Breed appearance

The first individuals of the Holstein breed of cows appeared on the territory of Holland, but they received significant characteristics as a result of the subsequent selection of cattle breeders in North America. Europeans were selecting animals, giving preference to cows with black and white color, and breeders in Canada and the United States focused on high rates of weight gain and milk yield.

Officially, the breed was adopted by 1861. The Holstein-Friesian cattle breeding society was formed in 1871. The breed has already spread in twelve states. By 1983, the word “Friesian” was omitted from the name, and such cows began to be called Holstein.

Characteristics and features of the Holstein breed

Most of the Holstein-Friesian specimens have black and motley hides, but red and motley varieties can also be found. Until 1971, the last specimens were disposed of, but then they were carried into a separate species and began to be considered tribal animals.

The distinctive features of the appearance of cows include following indicators:

  • wide lumbar region
  • long, massive shoulders,
  • wedge-shaped deep body,
  • toned, large udder with prominent veins.

Characteristics of the Holstein breed includes the following parameters:

  • a mature bull can reach 160 cm at the withers,
  • cows grow to 150 cm
  • the normal weight of calves at birth is 38-43 kg,
  • the mass of a newborn bull can reach 45-48 kg,
  • Mature cow has a weight of 600-700 kg, but sometimes there are individuals with a mass of a ton,
  • the bull gains weight up to 900-1200 kg, some individuals reach 1500 kg.

Feeding and maintenance rules

This breed of animals has high demands on feed quality and contentthat is especially noticeable in the winter. Individuals do not tolerate any stressful situations, as a result of which the level of milk yield decreases.

Holstein-Friesian cows require a loose-box type of content. A mono-food of the full ration type is used as food, heated water is supplied for drinking. Manure removal should be mechanized. Milking cows should be in specially prepared halls. Full-fledged care is also provided by allocating recreation areas, veterinary examination, and places with comfortable stalls and galleries. Indoor microclimate should be maintained.

Выбор кормовой культуры зависит от важности генетических особенностей коров. В пищу животным идут следующие виды растений:

Качество корма должно быть самым высоким. В год корова дает до 6 тыс. кг молока, потребляя примерно 72 ц кормов, имеющих энергетическую ценность в 72 тыс. МДж. In order to maximize the potential of the species, animals need to ensure optimal conditions of detention that meet all modern standards.

Holstein breed has vulnerability to mastitisthat requires the avoidance of drafts in places of livestock. The complexity of the content also includes the need for well-trained personnel and the short lifespan of the cows. On average, individuals of this breed live up to three years, giving two calves. Standard types of cows can produce up to eight calving and remain in a productive state.

Features care for calves

In the initial hours of life, bulls are poorly protected from various infections, so they require careful hygienic care. In two weeks, calves should get used to the environment and adapt.

The main source of infection can be place of calving. It must be well sanitized and cleaned. There is a lawn for summer calving, and in winter you need to allocate a special room for this process. All interaction with newborn calves must be carried out with thoroughly disinfected hands.

An abrupt change in temperature can adversely affect the health of the young, so calves should be kept in a prepared health center. In this room, in hot weather, you need to keep cool, and in the cold to provide additional heating with infrared lamps. It should also monitor the level of humidity and temperature.

For young dispensary plays a role quarantine zone, which may include a limited circle of people who comply with all standards for protection against the spread of pathogenic infections.

Suppliers of Holstein breed in Russia

High performance indicators allowed this breed to earn popularity among Russian livestock breeders. Many farms contain Holstein cows both for milk production, and for breeding and selling livestock.

The following firms are engaged in the sale of Holstein breeds of bulls and cows:

  • LLC “Kamaagro”, Naberezhnye Chelny,
  • LLC Prime Agro, St. Petersburg.

Characteristics of the Holstein breed of cows

The Holstein cow is a recognized leader in milk production. But at the same time, it also has obvious external signs, according to which the trained eye easily identifies this breed among many others.

First of all, the overwhelming majority of Holsteins have a motley black and white color. The ratio of colors for each cow is individual, therefore there are almost completely black and almost completely white individuals. Occasionally, calves are born with a red-motley coat color, which is a manifestation of a recessive gene. In the old days, such animals were rejected, but today they are specially selected to create a new red-red breed.

Secondly, in spite of the pronounced dairy specialization of the Holstein-Friesian breed, it is also characterized by rather large sizes. The weight of adult cows reaches 6-7 centners, and the bulls weigh on average about 9 centners. Many farmers practicing intensive feeding of Holstein cows, and achieve more impressive results: the weight of heifers can reach 8-9 quintals, and bulls - 1.2 tons.

At the same time, the growth of animals can be considered quite familiar 145-150 cm at the withers of cows and 10-15 cm more at bulls. One of the distinguishing features of the breed is deep enough chest - about 85 cm. At the same time the chest width reaches 64 cm, and the width of the pelvis is 62 cm.

The rest of the Holstein breed of cows has a pronounced appearance of the dairy type.

Advantages and disadvantages of Holstein cows

Characteristics of the Holstein breed of cows directly indicate that the breed is optimal for large cattle breeding complexes. There you can create the necessary conditions of housing for which the cows will be calculated by high yields. As mentioned above, with an average annual rate of 7.5 thousand liters in Russia, these cows have no equal. For enterprises working primarily for the mass and / or wholesale buyer Holstein-Frisian cows are optimal.

In general, the list of all the advantages that the breed possesses is as follows:

  1. Record milk yield with which no other dairy breeds of cows can match. Although the nominal fat content of this milk is within the average, taking into account the amount of milk received from one cow, the fat output is also quite significant.
  2. A large live mass of both bulls and cows, which makes it possible to produce about half a ton of meat and offal from one slaughtered animal.
  3. Cows of this breed grow quite quickly and by the age of 12 months they reach sexual maturity, which significantly reduces the unproductive period of life of the dairy livestock.

The disadvantages of the black-and-white Holstein breed of cows will be significant mainly for small farmers and private households, where it is difficult for these cows to create the necessary housing conditions. The main disadvantages include:

  1. Increased cleanliness. For holshtinki need to constantly clean and change the litter, they themselves regularly need to be washed and cleaned, otherwise the dirt will immediately affect their productivity.
  2. Susceptibility to infectious diseases. If you violate the basic principles of keeping Holstein cows (temperature, lack of drafts and cleanliness in the barn), they will quickly pick up some infection.
  3. The need for a large number of high-quality feed. It is especially important to follow the feeding regime in winter, when the risk of reducing milk yields due to the natural annual cycle increases.
  4. Low stress tolerance. Any invasive veterinary procedures, noises and other adverse events cause the Holsteins to be very worried, which in turn affects the milk yield indicators.

Prospects for breeding in Russia

Breeding factories and large cattle breeding complexes in Russia actively breed Holstein-Friesian cows. The possibility of attracting significant financial resources allows them not only to finance the construction of barns, specially adapted for Holstein women, but also the purchase of animals themselves, which are much more expensive than other breeds.

At the same time, the peculiarities of the organization of the production process in such large enterprises, as well as the possibility of attracting highly qualified specialists of various profiles, allow them to create all the necessary conditions for the animals. This applies both to the organization of feeding, and to other technological processes.

But on small farms, and even more so on private farmsteads of villagers, the Holstein breed of cows in Russia almost never occurs. Too whimsical and too demanding, this cow not only does not give the expected result, but also with a high degree of probability will bring significant losses.

Inference history

North America is considered the birthplace of Holstein cattle, but its ancestors, black-and-white cows with great success were bred in Western Europe. These animals were brought to the States in the middle of the XIX century. The first cows were acquired by farmer Winsrop Chenery, who drew attention to the high milk productivity and decided to bring this quality to the ideal. Fruitful work was a success, as a result, a society of breeders engaged in the breeding of Holstein-Friesian cows was created and a breeding book was also published. A year later, the breed has spread to 12 states.

Canadian and American experts have changed the name of the name itself, leaving only the first word. But in some sources you can find the original name.

Holstein breed of cows: characteristics and distinctive features

Characteristic suit - black and motley. However, you can meet motley-red representatives. Initially, breeders wanted to get rid of this color, but then the animals began to be considered a separate breed and acquired tribal status.

External noteworthy features:

  • the presence of a wide and long brachial region,
  • on the udder veins are well visible, it is large,
  • wide lumbar,
  • the body has a wedge structure.

  • animals reach a height of about 1,5 meters at the withers,
  • an adult cow can gain a weight of 600-700 kg, some cows weigh almost a ton with intensive fattening,
  • for bulls, the average weight ranges from 900 to 1200 kg, the mass of some producers reaches 1500 kg,
  • height of an adult bull is 1,6 meters,
  • heifers at birth have a mass of from 39 kg to 42 kg,
  • The goby weighs from 45 kg to 48 kg.

Productive features

It is characteristic for Holsteins to produce the highest milk yields compared to other dairy breeds. If we talk about specific numbers, they will depend on the climatic characteristics of the region, as well as feed. Israeli livestock breeders have created an ideal balance in terms of housing, with the result that cows produce approximately 10,000 kg of dairy products in 365 days. The percentage of fat is about 3.1%, the protein content is 3%.

Breeders from the United States can not boast such a good indicator of products. Here, about 9000 kg per year are obtained from animals, but the percentage of fat content reaches 3.6%, and the protein content - 3.2%. In our country, from Holsteins receive an average of 7,500 kg with a fat content of 3.8%. In cows of the bright-red color, dairy products are characterized by a higher rate of fat, almost 4%, but they get about 4000 kg of milk per year from them.

Meat products have a delicate flavor and low fat content, which makes it highly popular. Slaughter yield from one animal is not so big and is about 55%. Young bulls that are not suitable for breeding are sent for slaughter. Despite the small amount of meat, products are valued for their taste and fall into the category of lean veal or beef. The bulls are characterized by a rapid set of carcass weight and by the year their weight can reach 700 kg, this figure is due to the precocity of the young. Due to this, the breeding season starts early.

Holstein producers are used as "improvers" when crossing with other breeds of cattle due to the many positive qualities of valuable breeders. Not only bulls with a black suit are used, but also red-motley ones.

Subtleties of content

The described breed is not unpretentious, animals must be provided with special conditions of detention in order to avoid diseases such as smallpox and others. Cows are easy to stress, in the role of which are various negative factors:

  • wrong diet
  • severe temperature fluctuations in animal rooms,
  • wrong milking,
  • severe pregnancy.

Stray animals, as a rule, gain weight, their mass becomes 55 kg more. Stressful situation can have a negative impact on the health of the animal.

With proper maintenance during pregnancy, no problems should arise, and the calf is born without human intervention. Despite this, experts recommend additional care for animals at this time. At month 9, cows are constantly monitored. Statistics show that in 99% of cases, calving occurs without complications.

Despite the high rates of milk production, such returns can be achieved only with the right content. According to the reviews, the main role here is played by a balanced feeding, if everything is correct, then the cows give higher milk yields with increased product quality. With the wrong diet, dairy indicators are reduced, the general condition of the animals deteriorates markedly. In addition to feeding, proper care should be taken for cows, rooms should be cleaned in a timely manner, and airing should be carried out.