Hereford Cattle

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Other common names: Red Hereford Cattle

The basics:
The Hereford breed of cattle originated in Herefordshire, England sometime in the mid-1700s when farmers needed to produce more beef to meet the demand. They were first introduced to the United States in the early 1800s and have since become a popular meat cattle not only in southwest USA, but also in Central America, Australia, and New Zealand, where they are the largest registered breed.

Also see Black Hereford Cattle and Miniature Hereford Cattle.

Appearance / health:
The Hereford is distinguished by its yellowish brown to deep red body color highlighted by a white head, neck, dewlap, belly, and tail. Herefords are medium to large in size and favored for the fast growing calves, well-defined muscles, adaptability, maternal instincts, and hardiness under adverse climate conditions.

Hereford cattle are naturally horned but due to a recessive gene, a hornless variant has been developed in the United States called the Polled Hereford (considered a separate breed, established and registered in 1901).

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. A bovine is expected to eat around 2% of their body weight in dry matter ration per day of hay, grass, or silage. 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.


large beef breed, great mothers, meat quality, cold tolerant, hardiness, docile herefords


uterine prolapses, pink eye, eye cancer, vaginal prolapse


maternal genetics, sunburnt udders, roan colored fur, Polled Herefords, calm Temperament traits

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