Ayrshire Scottish Cow


A profitable cattle breeding business in our time in Russia can only be if the farmer chooses a high-dairy breed of cows. Such livestock is both demanding in terms of care and unpretentious. The latter group of cattle includes, for example, a Ayrshire cow. These undemanding cows not only give a lot of milk, but also consume not too much feed.

Breed history

Ayrshire cattle are bred in many European countries. But he enjoys particular popularity in Russia and Finland. Even large-scale breeding work is carried out with him in our country. Ayrshire bulls usually intersect with cows of such productive domestic breeds as the Kholmogory and black-and-white.

Such cattle in our country began to be divorced not very long ago. The first batch of these cows was brought to Russia in 1960 from Finland. The dairy breed of Ayrshire cows was bred in Scotland in the 18th century. For the first time such cows began to breed in Eyshir county. Hence, in fact, the name of the breed. Received Ayrshire cattle was by crossing the local Scottish cows with the Dutch cattle.

general description

The Ayrshire cow has a red-motley cow. The height at the withers of these cows is not too big. At least, they are inferior to the black-and-white domestic cattle. A distinctive feature of cows of ai r Shirsk breed, in addition to the red-and-variegated color, is the long, bright horns, slightly curved in the form of a regular lyre. It is very easy to learn ai Shire cow by these two signs. But, of course, cows of this breed have other distinctive features. These include, for example:

  • thin bones
  • udder of the correct form,
  • symmetrically arranged nipples,
  • developed musculature.

The legs of these cows are very strong, and their hooves are stable. All this allows the Ayrshire cows to graze, including on rather steep mountain slopes.


The Ayrshire cow belongs to the high-milk group. In terms of productivity, it is in no way inferior to the best domestic varieties - black-and-white and red steppe. One such adult burenka, several months after calving, is capable of producing up to 20 liters of milk per day. Representatives of the reference in our country Holstein breed, from which you can get up to 30-40 liters per day, she is thus inferior. But in the care of this cattle is much less demanding.

Ayrshire Cows: Milk Characteristics

High productivity is not the only advantage of these cows. Ayrshire cows are also popular with farmers for the excellent quality of milk. It is valued primarily for the low content of somatic cells. It is possible to use milk ai r shirsky cows, including for the manufacture of baby food. Very good for this product and taste. Many farmers believe that it even resembles a sundae.

Fatty milk of Ayrshire cows in Russia can reach up to 4%. This indicator for high-milk cows is, of course, very good.

Poor cream settling is considered to be some of the shortages of Ayrshire cows milk. This feature of it, unfortunately, makes it difficult to produce sour cream, butter and cottage cheese from it. The cost of manufacturing these products from Ayrshire cow’s milk is quite expensive, since manufacturers have to use special equipment. However, the taste of butter, knocked out of it, has a very pleasant - creamy.

Content Features

Farm farms for Ayrshire cows are settled in the same way as for any cows. That is, a barn equipped with pens with feeders is being built for animals. In the summer, cows are driven out to pasture. In winter, cows should get good hay. Concentrates, root crops, silage, etc. are used as feedings for cows.

Despite the fact that the breed is very undemanding, a farmer must, of course, necessarily comply with certain rules for its maintenance. In any case, the bedding of Ayrshire cows should always be fresh. It is not allowed to leave empty and drinkers of these animals.

Breeding features

In terms of keeping, the Ayrshire cow, therefore, has virtually no flaws. But in relation to breeding this cattle, unfortunately, picky. The fact is that Ayrshire cows often have diseases of the reproductive system. To monitor the health of livestock in this regard, the farm owners should take a closer look.

Calves of Ayrshire cows are usually born strong and viable. The weight of newborn babies is in most cases 28-30 kg. Sexual maturity in the Ayr of the Shire cows comes at the age of two years.

Farmers Reviews

The Ayrshire breed of cows, the characteristic of which was discussed above, is actually very popular among farmers. Reviews, for example, about this breed, there are only positive. The advantages of these cows owners of livestock farms, in addition to efficiency, undemanding and productivity, include:

  • lack of any problems with legs, udders and hooves,
  • easy calving
  • excellent adaptability to grazing.

Since the nipples of these cows are arranged symmetrically, it is very easy to milk them. And both manually and using automation. Also, the Ayrshire burenka is valued in our country and as a quality material for breeding work.

Breed flaws

Thus, a huge number of all sorts of advantages - this is what the Ayrshire breed of cow certainly differs from. Reviews about it in most cases positive. However, of course, these cows have certain disadvantages. The disadvantages of livestock of this breed, many farmers, for example, include its very difficult nature. Also, Ayrshire cows do not tolerate heat and humidity too well.

Thus, we have considered what the Ayrshire breed of cows has pros and cons. The conclusion from the above can be made only one. The cattle is highly productive, relatively undemanding, and in the conditions of Russia, of course, very promising. In any case, the Ayrshire cow breeding farm will most likely be profitable and profitable.

History of origin

The Ayrshire Dairy Cow is a crossbreeding product of four breeds. They created it in faraway Scotland, glorifying Ayr County. Valuable suit of cows quickly spread throughout the world. Although it was originally exported to the United States, it caught on with Finnish breeders. Finnish Ayrshires are distinguished by the highest milk yields and fat milk, which bring 140 thousand heads. But in other countries they are actively breeding this breed, for example, in Australia and South Africa.

Despite the different climatic zones, the Aire breed cows adapted everywhere, including in Russian farms, where they were introduced in the 60s of the last century. They are especially actively bred in the south, in the Krasnodar Territory, and more northern regions are not far behind.


Externally, Ayrshire breed representatives are more graceful and “smaller” than their rivals, have an increase in withers no more than 125 cm. The color is spotted, white-red, closer to a reddish shade. The weight of the Ayrshire bull - 750-800 kg, cows - 500, maximum 600 kg. Burenkas are muscular, with strong legs and narrow breasts. In order not to become a “victim of deception” (even if there is a special tag-identifier), buying a cow for a household, you should remember its characteristic features. If there is everyone, it is easy to distinguish the airshirku

  • short body with a wide back,
  • medium-sized head with curved horns far apart,

Attention! It happens that a cow has no horns, because in some farms, calves are cauterized by calves. This is a plus. A hornless cow in a state of aggression will no longer be able to hurt a person or her relative in the herd.

  • short reddish brown wool,
  • udder of large size, “bowl-shaped” with widely spaced nipples, without fat folds, veins are well visible,
  • nipples about 6 cm
  • the back of the hoof is deep with smooth edges.

Ayrshires live around 19-20 years. At the age of a year or a little more, the Burenka is already able to settle and for the entire lactation age gives about 5 thousand kg of milk.

Better than others: why?

The "rating" assessment of various breeds of cows is ambiguous. For example, in terms of quality indicators of the dairy direction, the Ayrshire breed leads, and in terms of the amount of milk, it ranks second after the Holstein color. As for the quality, Ayrshirok milk is notable for its excellent fat content - it was once chosen for the production of infant milk formulas.

By the way, by productivity, the tartan produces a good amount of meat - not less than 50 percent of the total weight. Excellent farm product even if there is only one cow on the farm.

Returning to the quality of milk, in cows of Scottish origin, it has the highest protein content with a minimum of somatic cells - small particles of the udder. The protein content is 3.5%, which is a very good indicator. An important detail - with a deterioration or reduction in the amount of the diet, the cow for a long time gives out milk without reducing the quality.

A few more factors that speak about the advantage of the northern cows over the others:

  • the ability to digest food well, which reduces dietary costs,
  • the cow is able to ottelno, without the help of man,
  • consistently gives milk,
  • adapts quickly to automatic milking
  • rapid maturation. "Return" milk since the first year of life.

There are some features that, fortunately, do not affect productivity. Animals are shy and aggressive enough, with an active temperament. Owners of such cows should be patient, do not shout and do not make sudden movements in contact with them.

Care and feed

Ayrshire cattle graze with pleasure outside the barns, on open pastures. These northern cows tolerate cold due to their origin. Health does not suffer even at high humidity. But the heat suffer worse, despite the good survival rate in any climate. Therefore, it is desirable to keep cows in a ventilated room. Ayrshire cows do not pretend to feed - they are suitable for both dry winter and fresh meadow grass.

As for food, in summer and spring cows feed on pastures, and in winter - hay with additives of mineral vitamins.

Cows of the Ayrshire breed is a valuable acquisition for the dairy farm. A stable amount of high-fat, high-quality milk and a small amount of feed more than offset the costs of buying and maintaining livestock. A detailed description will give an idea of ​​the distinctive features of the breed.

History and distribution of Ayrshire cows

This dairy breed is quite old by modern standards. She was bred at the end of the 18th century in Ayrshire county (Scotland). The basis for the creation of the breed was the local cows, which were purposefully crossed with Dutch, Turkish and Alderney producers.

By the middle of the XIX century, the breed gained a certain fame due to its high productivity. In 1845, ayrshirov was brought to Finland, where the breed became very popular because it felt good in the cold Scandinavian climate and at the same time gave the hosts high yields.

The Ayrshire breed of cows turned out to be so suitable for regions with a cold climate that the lion's share of the modern livestock falls on just Finland (140 thousand heads) and Russia (about 90 thousand), and mostly in the northern regions. In Britain itself, today there are only a little more than 60 thousand Ayrshire cows. Farmers in the USA, Canada and Australia breed this breed in much smaller quantities.

Although in the 19th century Finland was part of the Russian Empire, the breed itself came directly to Russia itself about half a century later. But we also quickly evaluated these cows and began to massively breed in the field of dairy cattle breeding. Today, Ayrshires are grown by enterprises of the Republic of Karelia and Komi, as well as Moscow, Novgorod and other regions. Of course, there are many Ayrshirs and in the most developed region of Russia in agricultural matters - in the Krasnodar Territory.

However, it should be noted that if in Finland the Ayrshire breed accounts for about 60% of the livestock in the country, then in Russia this breed is less than 3% of the domestic dairy herd.

Characteristics of Ayrshire cows

It is safe to say that if the Holstein breed did not exist, the Ayrshire cow would be the world leader in terms of the number of dairy livestock. However, due to the nominally lower gross yields of the "Scottish", they are compelled to be content with second place, and therefore their total livestock is quite small even on a global scale.

However, the Ayrshire breed has its own characteristics. For example, it is scientifically proven that the quality of milk in “Scotch” is much higher than that of Holstein cows. In particular, Ayrshirok's milk contains much less somatic cells (those that make up the udder), which is an important indicator of product quality. Also, their milk has a higher fat content and protein content. Finally, the Ayrshire cow's milk is corny tastier than Golshtinka milk.

Although the appearance does not have special significance for dairy cows, the description of the Ayrshire breed of cows will be incomplete, if you do not mention that the "tartan" is also more beautiful than its main competitors, the Holsteins. If the latter body is heavy and large, and the head is disproportionately small, then the Ayrshir women on the contrary are very harmoniously combined and much more correspond to the visual image of a beautiful and healthy bore.

It is noteworthy that Ayrshire cows are either white with red spots, or red with white spots. The black color of this breed does not occur in principle. Another distinctive feature of the breed are large lyre-like horns, directed in different directions.

The size of this breed can be called average:

  • both cows and bulls reach 125 cm at the withers,
  • The average body weight of cows is about 500 kg, bulls - 700-800 kg,
  • animals generally have good muscles and a strong body constitution.

Speaking about the characteristics of the Ayrshire cow, it should also be mentioned that the breed is considered to be quite early, since the first calving of cows is possible already at the age of 24-26 months. During the lactation period, a cow is able to produce up to 5,000 kg of high-quality full-fat milk. This is noticeably lower than that of the Holstein breed, but, as has already been said, the “Scots” do not take in quantity, but in quality.

Even despite the fact that this breed has a pronounced milk orientation, its meat productivity is also at a fairly good level. The meat yield is about 55% of live weight, which is quite good.

Another important advantage of the Ayrshire breed is the constancy of milk yields with a fairly high life expectancy. In this direction, Finnish breeders achieved the greatest success, receiving from each cow during its life 150 thousand kg of milk with fat content of 4.3%. Moreover, even with a decrease in the diet, the animal for a long time keeps high milk yield, which saves from any temporary disruptions in the supply of feed.

Pros and cons of Ayrshire cows

For large-scale dairy production, the Holstein breed of cows remains more preferable, since the average milk yield is 6.5–7 thousand liters of milk per lactation. The Ayrshire breed with its 4-5 thousand is noticeably inferior in this indicator. However, if the farm focuses on the quality of milk and works not on the mass market, but on specific regular customers, then Scottish cows become more preferable.

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, it is necessary to study all the pros and cons of Ayrshire breed of cows. Benefits include:

  1. High quality milk. Fat content on average 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 the high productivity of the herd, 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 stock (over 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. Коровы айрширской породы легко переносят дождливый и холодный климат, что объясняет их популярность в северных регионах.
  6. Непритязательность к условиям содержания. 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 have abandoned them precisely because of the ill temper of the Scotch. Moreover, aggression in a bizarre manner 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.


As mentioned above, the first time Ayrshire animals appeared in Scotland. This country is famous for its harsh climate, and in the small homeland of this species of cattle, coolness and high humidity reign almost all year round. At the same time, almost the entire county territory is covered with good pastures with lush grass.

Such natural conditions of life gradually made animals more robust and resilient. Even modern representatives of the breed, who do not need to constantly adapt to difficult living conditions, are distinguished by good health, unpretentiousness to feed and quickly adapt to new living conditions. at the same time, high nutritional and taste qualities of milk are preserved regardless of the conditions of detention and feeding.

Figure 1. Ayrshire cows on pasture

Interestingly, the Ayrshire breed did not appear on its own. A key role in its breeding was played by the Scots, who arbitrarily crossed the females and bulls of native species. As a result, the Ayrshire breed obtained is a complex hybrid of animals from the Dutch, Alderney and Tisuater species.

Note: A long period of breeding a new species led to the fact that the Ayrshires as a separate breed were isolated only in the 18th century, and officially registered in 1862.

Currently this type of cattle is popular in many European countries, including regions with cold winters. In addition, Ayrshires are often bred in North America, but in Africa and other warm countries, such animals are almost never found, as they do not tolerate heat.

Although the Ayrshire breed was bred in Scotland, the true flowering of the species is observed in modern Finland. Here animals are provided with such high-quality housing and feeding conditions that the life span of most individuals is more than 20 years, and the annual milk yield reaches 11 thousand tons of milk per year. In Russia, Ayrshire livestock is also quite numerous: now the country is the second largest cattle population of this species.

External characteristics of Ayrshire cows

The Ayrshire breed is so productive that if the Holstein cattle did not exist, the Ayrshires would have become the leaders of the industry. Despite the fact that the appearance does not play a key role for dairy cattle, it is simply impossible not to mention the exterior of the airshire, because they have a very attractive appearance (Figure 2).

Among the main external characteristics of the breed are:

  1. The structure of the body is correct and proportional. At the same time, outwardly animals seem small: the average height of animals is only 125 cm.
  2. The weight of the heifer varies from 450 to 480 kg, and the goby can weigh up to 800 kg.
  3. Both females and males have a short body with a straight, wide back and narrow deep chest.
  4. Despite the fact that the animals seem to be rather stocky, they have thin bones. At the same time, the joints are very flexible, which allows livestock to overcome great distances to pasture without much difficulty.
  5. The legs of Ayrshire cows are short and straight, but their hooves are strong enough.
  6. The head is small and narrow, but the horns look quite impressive. They are painted in a light color and in shape resemble a lyre, as they are proportionally set apart.
Figure 2. Features of the exterior of the breed

It is easy enough to notice the Ayrshire breed in the herd due to its colorful red color. It is noteworthy that for this species it is considered normal and white-red, and red-white coat color.

Advantages of Ayrshire Cows

Most farmers who already have experience in keeping Ayrshire cows speak positively of her. Let us dwell on the advantages of these animals.

The main advantages of Ayrshires are:

  1. Quick adaptation to new living conditions and climate. It should be borne in mind that cows have a higher milk yield in a cold and not in a hot climate.
  2. Animals are distinguished by unpretentious care and are happy to eat almost any food. Due to this, in summer you can significantly save on livestock feeding, since most of the diet consists of meadow grasses on pastures. In winter, to preserve the productivity, it is desirable to feed the animals with high-quality hay, and as a supplement to the diet, you can produce silage, chopped grain and fresh vegetables.
  3. Ayrshire cows are quite active and have good health. This allows them to easily carry transportation or long transitions to pasture.
  4. Young heifers are distinguished by precocity and are ready for insemination at the age of one and a half. Accordingly, the young of the new cow can be obtained as early as two years, and calving occurs without complications and rarely requires human intervention.

In addition, representatives of the Ayrshire breed are often used in breeding work, in particular, for crossing with other dairy species to increase milk yields and the nutritional quality of milk.

The only drawback of animals of this species is their aggressiveness, especially during the hunting period. In addition, cows can be fearful, so care must be exercised when pasturing on pasture.

Despite numerous advantages, planning the maintenance of Ayrshire cows, it is necessary to take into account some features of these animals. They tolerate cold and are highly resistant to disease. However, so that in winter the cows do not get sick, it is still necessary to take care of building a solid and reliable barn (Figure 4). The fact is that the Ayrshires do not tolerate drafts, and if the cold wind constantly walks in the barn, the cows can stop giving milk or become sick.

Figure 4. Features of the livestock and the arrangement of the barn

When keeping Ayrshire cows, it should also be borne in mind that in summer animals are kept mainly on pastures, and in winter in stalls. Accordingly, this is reflected in the type of feeding. In the spring, when switching to grazing, animals do not have a rumen bulge, the transition to new feed and way of maintenance should be carried out gradually. In addition, to improve the quality of milk, especially in winter, mineral supplements are necessarily added to the animals ’diet: chalk and salt.

Ayrshire breed is considered one of the best, both in terms of milk production, and in terms of cost-effective content. However, if you doubt the profitability of growing such a livestock, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the video, which provides detailed information about this breed and the characteristics of its keeping, breeding and feeding at home.

Breed description

Ayrshire cow is very beautiful. She has a correct and harmonious constitution, a good large udder. The size of the cows is small, which is quite typical for the dairy direction. Here are the main parameters of appearance and characteristics of this breed:

  • Height calf and bull - 125 cm.
  • The body is short, about 154 cm long.
  • The weight of bulls is 700-1000 kg, heifers 420-550 kg, one-year-old calves 220-350 kg.
  • The back is straight, wide.
  • Breast volume is moderate, there is a dehydration, the depth is approximately 67 cm.
  • The head is small, dry, elongated.
  • The length of the neck is medium, it is thin, with wrinkled skin.
  • The skeleton is light, the joints are mobile.
  • The horns are large, in the shape of a lyre, the tips are bent back, the color is light.
  • Udder in the form of a bowl, well developed.
  • The nipples are wide apart, the sizes are average.
  • The color is white with red spots; they are darker in bulls than in heifers.

These animals have well developed muscles, legs short and straight. The breed is very hardy and active. Look at the appearance in more detail on numerous photos and videos on the web.

Product Specifications

Ayrshire breed refers to the dairy type. Already in the year chicks produce about 4-6 tons of milk. The average yield of the breed is 6-7 tons per season, the record holders produce up to 11 tons. High milk yield persists up to 15-17 years, and cows live up to 20 years. Milk of this breed has excellent quality. Its main advantage is the low content of udder cells, so Ayrshire cattle cows are often raised on farms, where they take raw materials for the production of baby food. Here is the main characteristic of cow's milk:

  • Fat content - 4.2-4.3%, small fat globules are visible.
  • Protein content - 3.4-3.5%
  • Quantity per season - 6000-7000 kg.

Meat yield at the slaughter of Ayrshire cattle bulls - 50-55%. Young calves are born with low weight: 25-30 kg. But over the year, their mass increases almost 10 times. The one-year-old calf weighs about 220-240 kg, the bulls are a little more than heifers. The birth of a cow are easy, mostly without complications.

Ayrshire breed is bred within purebred lines. She has no hereditary diseases, the offspring is born healthy. Bulls are often used to improve the dairy qualities of other breeds. They are crossed with steppe red, Simmental and Holstein cows.


The virtues of many breeds are offset by the difficulties of their content. The Ayrshire cattle cow is a pleasant exception to this rule. It is perfectly adapted to the cold climate. Suitable for both stall livestock and free grazing. It is successfully bred in small private farms and on industrial farms.

With all the unpretentiousness of the Ayrshire breed of cattle, proper care and maintenance are necessary. Burenka require special attention in winter. In the barn should be a normal microclimate, without drafts. It is best to install an exhaust system. The cows should be kept clean, timely cleaning of the stall will avoid many diseases.

To increase livestock productivity, you need to feed him properly. The diet includes high quality hay, roots and animal feed. In the summer of Burenka may be free grazing. It is important to ensure that she does not eat fresh grass, especially at the beginning of the season. This may cause bloating. It should be noted that this breed, even with inadequate nutrition, can maintain high yields for a long time.

Positive and negative qualities of the breed

Reviews say that the Ayrshire dairy breed of cows is a great option for breeding in any type of farm. It gives high quality milk, its product characteristic is considered the highest. Here are the advantages of this breed:

  • Easily adapts to the cold climate (heat tolerates worse).
  • It does not require special care.
  • High digestibility of feed cow.
  • Good health.
  • High activity.
  • Rapid ripening, already from the age of 1.5 years, the heifer can be inseminated, and in 2 years she brings the first calf.
  • Milk of high quality, milk yield stably high, persists until mature age.
  • Bulls can be used to improve the food quality of other breeds.
  • The maintenance of breed is favorable from the economic point of view.

Has Ayrshire breed and its cons. She is very active. Sometimes it is aggressive or too shy. In short, it is a cow with character and requires proper treatment. But the breed has fewer disadvantages than advantages, so it consistently receives good reviews.

How much does an Ayrshire cow cost? The average price for an adult cow in Russia is 200-260 rubles. for 1 kg of live weight, or 80-10 thousand rubles. per adult. Elite breeding bulls and heifers can cost a little more. Before buying, you should carefully consider the photos and videos of cows, read the description. It also does not hurt to find out reviews about the farm, so as not to buy a sick animal or a mixture, because then milk yield and milk quality may not meet the standard.

It is possible to buy breed on farms of the north of the country. It is best to look for it in Karelia, the Leningrad, Vologda, Novgorod and Arkhangelsk regions, as well as in the suburbs. The largest livestock of this breed is in Finland. If desired, cows can be ordered directly from there. Especially in cases when breeding is planned, because the Finns have real elite bulls and heifers.