Devonshire Milking Cow:
Nicknamed the Orange Elephants
Traditionally, the South Devon cow was a triple purpose breed: that is, productively milking, producing butterfat and excellent beef. But in the early 19th century they were also used to draw ploughshares. The magnificent breed could be seen throughout Devon.
The breed are nicknamed Orange Elephants, for their wide faces, big ears and rusty coloured coats. They are also the largest native breed in the UK today, which also have helped them get this name.
The breed dates back to the time of the Norman invasion when they were introduced to Britain from Normandy. South Devons were also exported to the American colonies including a few on the famous Mayflower which transported the now famous 'Pilgrims' to America.
In the early twentieth century South Devons were known primarily for their milk. However, the demand for greater milk yields since the Second World War, has led to the dominance of foreign breeds such as Holsteins and Friesians (your typical black and white cows) in the herds of dairy farmers. South Devons only became known for their beef.
Back in 2005, Rob and Helen Taverner began a project to re-introduce the Devonshire Milking Cow, giving Devon its very own milking breed once again. Beginning with a small number of pedigree South Devons, they began to use the creamy milk for making Orange Elephant Ice Cream.
One of our recent initiatives saw Melody, our prize South Devon heifer, artificially inseminated with 45 year old semen for the rare breed society's national genetic archive to try and reproduce the genetics of Milkmaid, the famous cow who once set a world record for milk yield in 24 hrs.
However, our wonderful Orange Elephants don't really produce enough of their milk. With a clever system of cross breeding, Rob and Helen are using the genetics of the Short Horn and Danish Red to give the Devonshire Milking Cow a greater milk yield with the same level of creaminess.
If you would like any more information about the Devonshire Milking Cow project free to email firstname.lastname@example.org