Hereford Pig Breed: Origin, Characteristics, Meat Quality, Pros & Cons

Hereford pig breed

If you are looking for a pig breed that has high-quality meat, high fertility rates, and is easy to maintain, the Hereford pig breed may be the right option for you.

Our article below will provide you with detailed information about them.

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What is a Hereford pig?

A Hereford pig belongs to a domestic pig breed that was also given the name Hereford Hogs because of their color and pattern. Identical to the color pattern of Hereford cattle, the domestic pigs have a red coat and a wide, dished, white face.

They are medium-size with drooping ears as well as a curly tail.

Where did the Hereford pig originate from?

The Hereford pig origin is traced to the United States.

What breeds make a Hereford pig?

Duroc, Poland China, and possibly some Chester White/Hampshire pigs were used to develop the Hereford breed. They were first bred between 1920 and 1925, and now an uncommon pig breed.

The Duroc Pigs

The Duroc Pigs

They are also known as the “red hogs”, due to the signature red color. They have drooping ears, hard skin, and thick coats. Those traits help them survive well under harsh winter conditions.

In summer, some of the Durocs can even shed their coats. This self-shedding ability is like a natural instinct to help those animals cope with hot weather.

The Durocs are mainly raised for meat. Many people claimed that the pork is very tasty in spite of the high level of fat.

The Poland China

The Poland China

This breed is well-known for its weight and substantial bone. They are excellent feeders and gain weight quickly under good caring conditions.

The Poland China pigs are quiet and docile.

What are Hereford pigs known for?

Hereford pigs are known for their unique color. A Hereford pig color resembles the color of a Hereford cow. Their face, ears, underbelly, and four socks are white, while their body is red.

Based on the breed standards, the shade of their body coat can vary, but a deep shade of red is preferred.

In addition, small farmers love Hereford pigs because they gain weight quickly and their meat is high-quality. Moreover, they are docile, easygoing, and thrive on pasture.

What are Hereford pigs’ characteristics?

The Hereford pigs’ size ranges between medium to large. Their main coat coloring is red-brown with a white face, ears, underbelly, and socks. Hereford pig ears are drooping. Their physique is similar to other big pig breeds.

Both the Herefords’ color and build are suitable for outdoor production, but you should provide them with shade to protect them from sunburn.

Personality-wise, they are amiable, docile, and quiet, which makes them well-suited to young people and novice pig farmers.

baby hereford pigs
Baby Hereford pigs

How much does a Hereford pig cost?

The price of a Hereford barrow ranges between $100 and $150, while that of a gilt is slightly pricier, from $120 to $200.

However, to be registered as off-marked or to be eligible to be sold, these pigs have to meet the “50-50-50 rule”: a minimum half of their face is white, no less than half of their body is red, and they have a minimum of 2 white feet.

Regardless of the price and the weight, you should make sure that the Hereford pigs that you plan to buy are healthy. You can ask the sellers for some health clearance certification before deciding to make the purchase.

What are Hereford pigs’ pros and cons?

One of the most prominent advantages is the famous Hereford pig meat quality. They have high-quality meat that is lean but nutritious.

In addition, the Hereford pigs are low maintenance due to their cleanliness. These pigs like staying outdoor, which is suitable for farms with pasture.

Furthermore, they breed and grow their piglets in a ferocious manner. The average litter size varies between 8 and 9 piglets. Farmers will profit from this as well.

However, one of the disadvantages of raising Hereford pigs is that they like living in a large outside fence with plenty of room to wander around. Maintaining the management of an extensive outdoor system is a challenge for any farmer.

However if you can do it properly, the fact that these pigs are almost disease-free is also advantageous.

Additionally, much of the time, farmers would have to look after them. Even though they are not violent, the pigs can become combative at times.

Lastly, the Hereford pigs are getting more scarce with the passage of time. Their qualities are admirable, but their numbers are steadily dwindling. They are actively being replaced by pig breeds that have the highest growth rates.

Some Interesting Facts 

1. How big do Hereford pigs get?

The general breed size ranges from medium to large. Specifically, a grown Hereford boar can reach about 800 pounds (362 kg), while a mature sow, the female counterpart, can stand at about 600 pounds (272 kg).

2. How fast do Hereford pigs grow?

The Hereford pigs’ growth is relative faster, and their maturity also comes earlier. They usually grow to between 90 and 110 kg in the first 5 or 6 months old.

Herefords are easy eaters. They can pasture, which makes them grain efficient. In other words, they need less feed to reach the market weight than other breeds.

hereford piglet
Hereford piglet

3. Are Hereford pigs good to eat?

I give a high score for the Hereford pig meat quality which is good to eat with no doubt.

Hereford pigs excel at producing lean meat. Their marbled and delicious meat can make meat lovers mouthwatering.

What is the average litter size for Hereford pigs?

There are from 8 to 9 Hereford piglets per litter on average. Farmers cross many Herefords with sows that are bred commercially to increase fertility as well as numbers.

Hereford sows produce decent milk for their piglets like average mother pigs. It’s typical that they also wean all of their own piglets themselves.

Final words

The Hereford pig breed is ideal for farmers with an extensive outdoor system. What the domestic pigs can offer them are their famous lean and nutritious meat as well as relatively high fertility rates.

Even though the Herefords have some disadvantages, their advantages seem to outweigh them. Thus, the breed is worth your consideration.

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