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.
In this post, we provide you with detailed information on all there is to know about the Hereford Pig Breed, from origin to quality of meat and everything in between.
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What Is A Hereford Pig?
A Hereford pig is a domestic pig breed that originated in Iowa and Nebraska and is unique to the United States for its ability to grow quick.
They are called Hereford Hogs because they resemble Hereford cattle as they have identical color patterns – a coat that is red with a white face and white feet.
This pig breed is a medium-sized hog with drooping ears as well as a curly tail and farmers love this breed because they are easygoing and fatten quickly.
What Breeds Make A Hereford Pig?
The Hereford pig breed was actually created from three different breeds: Duroc, Poland China, and Chester White or Hampshire.
They were first bred between 1920 and 1925 and were popular to help small-scale farmers, but it is said that fewer than 2,000 exist today.
The Duroc Pig
The Duroc Pigs are also known as “red hogs” due to their signature red color.
They have drooping ears, hard skin, and thick coats, all traits that 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 claim that pork from the Duroc pigs is very tasty in spite of the high level of fat.
The Poland China Pig
This breed is well-known for its weight and substantial bone.
The Poland China Pigs are excellent feeders and gain weight quickly under good caring conditions.
And because the Poland China pigs are also known to be quiet and docile, these are all reasons this pig was chosen to be part of the Hereford Pig.
The Chester White Pig
The Chester White pig originated from Chester County, PA, and was chosen to be part of the Hereford hog breed due to its durability and mothering abilities.
These hogs also gain weight quickly and are raised for meat.
The Hampshire Pig
The Hampshire pig breed is black and white and one of the oldest pig breeds in existence.
This breed has very few issues when it comes to birthing and parenting, and they are super easy to raise.
They were also chosen for the Hereford breed due to their ability to grow fast, are well-muscled, and produce lean meat.
What Are Hereford Pigs Known For?
First and foremost, Hereford pigs are known for their unique color.
A Hereford pig color resembles the color of Hereford cattle. 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 land.
Hereford Pig Characteristics
The Hereford pigs’ size ranges from medium to large.
Their main coat coloring is a unique red-brown with a white face, ears, underbelly, and socks.
Their ears droop and 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.
Hereford pig meat quality is another characteristic to not be overlooked, and the reason for their creation.
Their meat is a darker red than other breeds, richer red meat, and well-marbled.
How Much Does A Hereford Pig Cost?
The price of a Hereford barrow r(a male castrated pig) ranges between $100 and $150, while that of a gilt (young female pig) 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”.
The “50-50-50 rule” states that a minimum of 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 a health clearance certification before deciding to make the purchase.
Hereford Pig Litter Size
While Hereford Pigs do not have large litters, the average litter size is 8 to 9 Hereford piglets per litter and provide plenty of meat once full grown.
Farmers tend to 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 and it is typical that they also wean all of their own piglets themselves.
Hereford Pig Pros And Cons
Hereford Pig Pros
One of the most prominent advantages of the Hereford pig 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, and these pigs like staying outdoors, which is suitable for farms with pasture land.
Furthermore, they breed and grow their piglets in a ferocious manner.
With the average litter size varying between 8 and 9 piglets, farmers will profit from this as well.
Hereford Pig Disadvantages
One of the disadvantages of raising Hereford pigs is that they like living in a large outside space 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 will need 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 and 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 relatively faster, and their maturity also comes earlier. But they usually grow to between 90 and 110 kg in the first five or six months of age.
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.
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.
4. How long do Hereford pigs live?
Because the purpose of Hereford pigs is for meat production or breeding, these pigs live to be six months to 3 years of age
5. At what age do Hereford pigs breed?
Hereford pigs are ready to breed when they are just 8 months old and weigh at least 300 pounds.
All There Is To Know About The Hereford Pig Breed
Now that you know all there is to know about the Hereford pig breed, just remember that they are ideal for farmers with an extensive outdoor system.
What these domestic pigs can offer 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, this breed is worth your consideration.