Here at Hancock Farm we milk mainly Ayrshire cows. Why do we milk Ayrshire cows and not the traditional Holstein? Well it all started when Rickey bought his first horse and had to take a job milking Ayrshire cows to pay the board to stable his horse. When he moved into his own house with a barn where he could stable his horse at he bought an Ayrshire cow to raise and sell. She never sold; Rickey married Sandy and horse numbers increased so they bought a larger farm. They farm was an old dairy farm and they decided to start milking cows. Rickey and Sandy decided they like the Ayrshire cow and bought a small herd of Ayrshires and Jerseys to start.
Since then, we have learned a lot about the Ayrshire cow and realize that she is the complete cow. She has a long life span, living on average to be 10 years of age. They are a hardy breed and adapt quickly to different environments or weather changes. As the Ayrshire tends to be lighter in color, she will be out grazing the pastures in the hot summer sun as opposed to the darker colored cows that go lay under the shade; this fact helps aid in milk production. They have a wonderful friendly deposition and are relatively small cows, making them easy to work with. The Ayrshire cow was developed in Scotland to make cheese prior to the 1800s. She was imported into the US in 1822 for farmers in New England. They needed a breed of cattle that were hardy and could graze the rough pastures and withstand the harsh winters.
The Ayrshire cow’s milk is similar to goats in that the fat molecule is much smaller than any other breed. This helps aid in cheese yield and gives their cheese a richer, creamier texture. The smaller fat molecules also allow for humans to be able to digest their milk easier and absorb more of the nutrients in the milk as the nutrients of milk are in the fat. She produces between 17,000 to 20,000 lbs of milk per lactation (usually 305 days per year). Her milk on average consists of 3.9% fat, and 3.46% protein.