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Black Hereford Cattle

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The basics:
The Black Hereford is a hybrid type of beef cattle produced in the British Isles by crossing a Hereford beef bull with Holstein-Friesian dairy cows. Black Herefords are not usually maintained from generation to generation, but are constantly produced as a byproduct of dairy farming. They are one of the commonest types of beef cattle in the British Isles, outnumbering many pure beef breeds.

According to the American Black Hereford Association, "Most ranchers breed for black baldies when using Hereford bulls on black hided animals. The primary benefit of using a Black Hereford Bull versus a Red Hereford bull on black hided cows is that you virtually eliminate red baldies which bring lower sale prices at most auctions. Many ranchers report that Their Red Hereford bulls will yield up to 40% red baldies. This breed of Hereford can make ranchers more money at auction by eliminating the less profitable calves. This was the primary motive behind the breed."

Appearance / health:
The white face of the Hereford and the Black hide color of the Holstein-Friesian create a distinctive physical appearance for the offspring. There can be some white on the legs and underside of the body, but there is no mixing of the colors on the back and shoulders. The black body color is a direct contrast to the red color seen in the normal Hereford cattle.

Like other livestock, cattle require regular vaccinations and inoculations (for example, rabies inoculations) for disease prevention and health management. Similar to other mammals, cows can suffer a variety of ailments and health issues. A veterinarian should be on call and provide regular checkups and monitoring for the entire herd.

Behavior / temperament:
Cattle are docile animals that have strong maternal instincts. They are big and bulky, and could, therefore, inflict harm without intending to. Handling and brushing them constantly while juvenile will help train them to be calm and trusting around humans, which is helpful especially when they need to be attended to by the veterinarian or groomer.

Housing / diet:
Housing for cattle is essentially to give them shelter from extreme weather conditions. Barns, rub-in sheds, stalls, and other structures like windbreaks, should be available where the cows graze. Aside from manmade shelters, trees and tall bushes can provide resting places for cattle to minimize heat stroke or wind chill.

Shelters will give the cows the option to seek safe haven from strong winds, extreme heat or cold, and heavy rains. Shelters should be strong, stable, spacious, well ventilated, and waterproof. Barns should be provided with water supply, and stalls should be lined with hay. They should also be cleaned regularly.

Sprinklers and other cooling systems are recommended for areas that overheat during summer months. Professional and humane fencing should be provided. All poisonous plants should be removed from the pasture; and hay should always be kept dry (wet hay grows molds, becoming a health hazard for cows).

A good quality pasture for grazing is the basic dietary requirement of cattle. The recommended pasture size per cow is 10 acres, without which, the diet should be supplemented with hay. The recommended quantity of hay is an average of 2% of the animal’s body weight per day (or 2 lbs. of hay per 100 lbs. of body weight). Supplements include grain mixes, protein and mineral cubes, and salt blocks, depending on the type of cow, its uses, and the local climate.

Providing a constant supply of fresh water is essential. An adult cow consumes an estimate of up to 20 gallons of water per day.