European Brown Swiss Federation
# CALVING EASE
97.5 % of easy calving !
The robustness and functionality of the Brown Swiss breed are the basis for its long productive and reproductive career. Calving ease, fertility, udder health, functional feet and legs, temperament are all examples that demonstrate the easy handling of the Brown Swiss cow.
The calving ease of the Brown Swiss cow is excellent and appreciates worldwide. Indeed, in addition to a back sloped towards the back, the Brown Swiss have wide coxofemoral articulations which favors calving.
Into the European population, the percentage of easy calving is estimated around 97.5%. One of the highest all dairy breeds compared.
Easy calving results in better cow health status in early lactation and contributes to a longer life.
Feet & legs
The Alps mountain origins conferred Brown Swiss solid feet and legs and an excellent walking capacity. The black horn of hoofs is considered as being hard and resistant.
Several scientific studies shows that Brown Swiss have a lower prevalence of digital dermatitis than Holstein and more generally lower risk of foot lesions. (Holzhauer et al. 2006; J.Becker et al. 2014)
Low SCC and mastitis resistance
Udder soft texture, low volume and good teats placement have an indirect influence on the udder health which makes Brown Swiss one of the best breed for low somatic cells count (238 000 in average), with a higher resistance to mastitis. It is an economic strength avoiding milk price penalties and veterinary expenses.
A study from UK also shows that immune cells of Brown Swiss cows produce more oxygen and nitrogen radicals that kill bacteria than Holstein cows. This higher efficiency impact in the lower SCCs of Brown Swiss and is also seen in crossbred.
The more docile and calm temperament of Brown Swiss have a very positive influence on the herd management including milking and other operations.
In large herds, docility and quiet of the Brown Swiss are an asset in the handling of animals that must be done as easily as possible, to avoid wasting time. Finally, to add to its character, Brown Swiss is also a very affectionate and curious cow.
Brown Swiss longevity is obviously connected to a good fertility. Average age at first calving is 30.8 months but can be reduced to 24 months. The average calving interval of the breed is 416 days with a period of 128 days open.