Other common names: Red Hereford Cattle
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.
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
Our Life with Marge - Hereford
Marge was a great mom! She was however cantankerous. More than once I would bend over a trough and she would butt me over it or into it! However, her offspring were strong and relatively gentle compared to Marge. Marge was accidentally inseminated too closely in her genetic line and her son, William's front legs were very short, but he still had a wonderful temperament. As in my review of our cats, moms of animals make the owner's life tremendously easier. I do not suggest you raise cattle in very cold climates unless you have ample barn space. You also have to keep them in mind when its time to mow hay. They are a great deal of work, more than folks that have not grown up on a farm know. Marge was a real pip...but we loved her!.
From sjgould106 May 18 2015 7:42PM
Very Hardy, Good Temperament, Good Growth Rates, Some Health Issues
Herefords are a very aesthetically striking breed, with a vibrant red coat and white markings. Our Herefords have generally had a very good temperament, experiencing problems only with a new bull who was simply trying to assert himself as the head of the herd. None of our Hereford cows have experienced any problems calving, and consistently throw beautiful and healthy calves. Our Herefords seem to do well regardless of the climate: thriving in both the heat and the cold of Central Eastern Kentucky. The growth rates for our Hereford steers are on par with our Black Angus steers, producing lean carcasses with exceptionally good meat. Overall, our Herefords have proven to be very healthy, however the breed overall is predisposed to develop tumors around their eyes. I would definitely recommend Hereford cattle to owners of small farms and large commercial operations alike. I do not think that you will be disappointed..
From cgallimore Apr 19 2015 2:43PM
If you're just starting out with cattle, be careful with Herefords.
Having grown up on a farm in North Texas, I can tell you that Herefords are by and large a pretty tame breed that are not prone to jump fences or breaking through corrals. They also stand up pretty well to the Texas heat as well as our sometimes harsh winters.
However, if you are a just getting into the cattle business, you need to know that Herefords are notorious for having difficulties when giving birth to their first calves. My father and I had to intervene numerous times during labor, and be under no illusions, we lost a few.
Some times the situation was so desperate that we had to strap a log chain to the calves body, then tie the chain to the hitch of our the farm truck, and then GENTLY pull the calf out. We saved both mother and the calf doing this on several occasions.
I would strongly advise against by an entire herd of female Hereford heifers, because when birthing season comes along you'll probably be elbow deep in blood and placenta. You're probably going to lose a few for good measure, and if you don't have an experience with them, you could actually end up losing a substantial number of them..
From mshawnkirby Jul 21 2015 2:23PM