Hereford Cows: Description of Content and Productivity
Hereford breed of cows is famous for its high yield of meat, aromatic and delicate taste. Although it is impossible to milk such cows, since all the milk goes to feed the calf, farmers still recommend raising these cows because of the meat. In addition, Herefords are able to travel long distances, are not whimsical in the care and maintenance, and eat any grass.
Description and Feature of Hereford Cow
This breed was bred in the 18th century in the UK. At first there were ordinary red cows, but they did not please the peasants with either productivity or appearance. They began to cross until the first “excellent” Hereford breed calf was obtained. The name came about thanks to the English county of Herefordshire, it was on their territory that the first calf appeared.
A century later, the livestock was brought to Canada, and then to the United States, where the breed continued to improve in terms of constitution and muscle mass. In appearance, the cows have a strong and muscular physique; they acclimatize well even in the Northern and Southern countries. The most popular cows are famous in the following countries:
America (south and north).
In the USSR, cows fell before World War II, where they were crossed with local cows and received a white-headed Kazakh breed.
People from cities leave for villages to raise cows, farmers more often choose those breeds that quickly adapt to different climates and give good milk and meat productivity. Every farmer dreams of such a cow, because she has a strong physique, a herd can be grazed all day in the pasture, and they also tolerate long hauls.
Outwardly, they look somewhat rude and differ from their counterparts in the following parameters:
the neck is short;
the head of white color is wide and strong;
white color of the following parts of the body: nose, lips, withers, mane, neck, abdomen and tip of the tail);
the horns are white, the ends are dark;
the sides are convex, the stomach hangs down;
short but steady hooves;
the mammary glands are mild.
Growth of an adult animal reaches 130 centimeters, chest circumference 195 centimeters. The weight of an adult female in Russian households is 600 kilograms of live weight, and bulls reach 850 kilograms. In England, a cow can weigh 700 kilograms, and a bull 1 ton. By the age of two years, the weight of the bull varies within 800 kg, and that of the heifer is 600-650 kg.
Calves quickly gain weight, 900 grams per day, and sometimes this figure reaches 1.5 kilograms. At six months old, heifers weigh 170 kilograms, and by the year 300 kilograms.
Hereford cow is the most popular meat breed, because they do not require special care, are unpretentious in nutrition and give good products.
In our time, there are three types of constitution of Hereford cows:
The life expectancy of such cows and bulls reaches 18 years, until the last day good productivity and fatness remain.
Although for many years breeders tried to achieve precocity from these cows, they still failed to achieve this. The first time a cow settles at the age of 36 months. The breed belongs to the late-ripening and it is aimed at meat productivity, therefore, it cannot boast of the amount of milk, its amount is 200 liters. Cows have developed maternal instinct, they become good mothers, but they do not allow other kids to come to their place. Slaughter meat yield is as much as 70%. The meat is marbled, juicy and nutritious due to its high calorie content. There are thin fibers, and the fat layer is very thin.
Meat indicators are inherited when crossing with other breeds, this is what breeders always have in mind. The thickness and quality of the skin indicates its high value. After all, from the skins of Hereford breeds, a shoe frame, soles and insoles are made. In addition, on the market you can see bags, wallets and other products made from the skins of these animals.
The maximum amount of milk that a Hereford cow can produce per year is 1,200 kilograms, the fat content of which is 4%.
Hereford breed types
Cows were very often crossed to obtain good appearance and productivity. Herefords were crossed with an Aberdeen-Angus breed to get even stronger calves. Herefords also differ in what climatic conditions they bred and where they are kept.
This appearance is distinguished by its red-mottled color, when the main body is red. The head has a white color. The pezhina at the bottom of the body merges with the pezhina on the head. This type of cattle is horned, they are directed either forward or down.
Hornless Hereford turned out due to a mutation, they have no horns. To date, this species is the most common, because they are easy to care for and maintain. If the bull and the cow aren’t divided, they won’t do much harm to each other. They are no more different from the classic type.
Since Hereford cows are often crossed with other breeds, it is not surprising that the breed appeared, like a black Hereford. They have Aberdeen-Angus and Holstein blood. The characteristics are completely the same as those of the red Hereford breed, the difference is only in color. The black Hereford is usually larger than the red, so if the target is to be bred for meat, then the black breed is more suitable.
Care and maintenance of Hereford cows
Hereford cows are not dairy, therefore, in principle, they are not milked, their milk is intended only for feeding newborn calves. Babies receive additional food during pasture walking with their mothers.
Adult individuals are quite voracious, because in one winter 15 heads can eat 200 tons of hay. Therefore, before starting such cows, it is necessary to purchase special equipment for mowing grass and harvest it in advance.
The room where the cows are located should be dry and always clean. This breed quickly acclimates and gets used to any weather conditions, cows can tolerate even northern frosts. As for drafts, there shouldn’t be so, all the cracks must be closed and the room a few times aired.
It is good to arrange a separate room where the cows will be with the calves. In the stall there should be a pen for a cow and a stall for calves, in the middle of the room there are feeders and drinking bowls. Litter should always be dry, and clean water should be available around the clock. In addition, the barn should have a room for childbirth, where the cow is transferred three days before the expected date of birth and within seven days after.
The cows of this breed have elastic and delicate skin, so every day they need to be cleaned with a soft brush and rinse off the dirt, otherwise they will have lichen.
The best results for growing Herefords are noted in Orenburg. In addition, cows are bred in Novosibirsk, Omsk, Perm, Rostov, Chelyabinsk and Tyumen region.
Cows of this breed are responsive, quickly respond to changes in content or feeding. Before the fall, animals gain fat, which in winter will serve them as energy. Also in the fall they are overgrown with dense hair, and in the spring they fade.
In general, Herefords are non-conflict, but nevertheless, in order to avoid disagreements and stresses, it is necessary to graze cows by age, that is, young animals separately, adults separately, as well as calves. But until the end of the suction, the calves are kept with their mothers.
Hereford cows are unpretentious in feeding, which positively affects the economy. They feed on hay and crushed barley, slightly salted.
In order to feed a calf, mother spends a lot of energy, for this reason it is necessary to add:
rough concentrated feed;
mineral top dressing.
Animals can graze in the pasture from morning to evening, and there is no need to choose places with special grass, Herefords eat even weeds.
The best method of feeding Hereford cows is a combination. In the summer, natural grass and artificial land, and in winter, concentrated additives, hay and silage. It is also important to add calcium, protein, phosphorus for the proper development of the younger generation.
If the diet is made up correctly, then the daily weight gain will be 1 kilogram per day, and severe frosts of the cow will be easily tolerated. But if the animals do not eat properly, then the gain will drop to 500 grams, and they will even endure even the weakest cooling.
Feeding is selected depending on the climate where the animals live, so whether the burenka is pregnant. Feeding of pregnant cows in the dry period is different.
This should look like the diet of pregnant cows during the dead season:
Live weight of a cow
If the goal is to grow a cow with a lower fat content, then it is fed a little longer, and low-calorie foods are selected. If you keep pregnant cows before giving birth on poor nutrition, then a high probability of miscarriage and the calf in the womb will die. If the cow gives birth, the calf may be weakened or sick.
Herefords quickly adapt to any climate, and you can keep them outdoors even in winter. Cows are resistant to infectious and viral diseases. This breed has serious hereditary diseases, but only in southern countries, where the scorching sun. In the North, cows are kept exclusively in cowsheds, where it should always be clean, dry, without drafts and the room must be aired several times a day.
Herefords in rare cases can have a disease like eye cancer. This can also affect the area where the day is long with constant sun. Less likely to suffer from this disease are cows that have “black glasses” around their eyes.
On the muzzle of animals, the wool protects slightly from external influences, there is no wool on the udder, so because of the hot sun they often get a udder burn. Burns can also be caused by food, which increases sensitivity to ultraviolet light.
Among hereditary pathologies, vaginal prolapse also occurs, but this can also occur due to malnutrition. On the other hand, if you overfeed a cow during pregnancy, the calf grows large and under strong pressure the uterus can fall out during calving.
One of the main goals when breeding Hereford cows is to get delicious marbled meat. Due to the fact that the animals are on the walk all day, they quickly gain weight, the meat yield is 70%. The weight of calves at birth is not large, about 25 kilograms, so childbirth usually passes quickly and without complications. With the correct content of giving birth cows, the calves' survival rate is 98% and they almost never get sick.
Puberty occurs at approximately 30 months. First calving at 36 months. Good productivity is achieved through grazing, but, unfortunately, this cannot be done in all regions of Russia. Therefore, it is recommended to change it, namely:
create perennial cultural pastures;
plant annual herbs, use them in autumn and winter;
use concentrated additives 35%.
It is recommended to graze in one area goals of the same age, and it is better to keep the calves that are on the sucker near their mothers, thus achieving better growth.
Care and maintenance of Hereford calves
A newborn Hereford calf weighs from 28 to 35 kilograms. Since cows have a strong constitution, they themselves give birth without complications, calf mortality is 3%. With proper care and feeding, calves are very rapidly gaining weight and are characterized by early maturity. The development of calves depends on the initial body weight, milk production of Burenka and proper nutrition.
If the milk yield is 1200 kg, then the calf should weigh 220 kg during weaning from the udder. If milk production is greater, then a calf at the same age will weigh 250 kg. The best time for childbirth is March-April. Indeed, during this period, juicy grass sprouts and it is more likely that milk will grow, and along with this, the calves will gain weight better.
The calf must try the first milk, which is called colostrum, in the first hour after birth. It has a yellowish tint in comparison with milk and is much more satisfying. Until they reach the age of three months, they feed mainly on mother's milk.
From day 15, you can add a little succulent, and then concentrated feed. Hay must be gentle, collected before flowering, and drying took place in the shade. It will also be useful to drink with hay infusion, for this it is necessary to grind the hay (necessarily clean) and pour boiling water at the rate of 1 kilogram per 6 liters. Cover with a warm towel, wrap in a blanket and wait 7 hours. Before drinking the calf, the infusion is filtered and given in a warm form. Also per liter of infusion should add a gram of salt. On the second day, leaving the finished drink is prohibited.
It is important to ensure that the calf sucks colostrum and milk calmly, in small sips, so it is properly digested and assimilated. What can not be said about drinking from a bucket, the baby eagerly swallows with big sips, there is a failure in the fragile digestive system, hence the problems of the gastrointestinal tract.
At the age of six months, the calf reaches 200 kilograms of live weight, during this period it is time to wean it from the mother’s udder and transfer it to independent feeding. Thus, it will gain weight faster and mature.
Until the calf reaches the age of six months, the owner chooses one of three feeding options:
If the offspring appeared in the spring, then the traditional way is selected, this is when the calf with her mother grazes in an open pasture.
If the baby was born in autumn, the best option would be a safe feeding method. Young growth is fed with artificial feed, achieving maximum weight gain. This option is expensive and heavy.
As for regulated feeding, this is when the calf is brought to the mother about once a day, gradually reducing the amount of feeding to 2 times a day.
Advantages and disadvantages
Hereford cows are considered unique, because they:
easy to maintain and care;
high life expectancy - about 15 years;
speed of weight gain;
feed on any grass, even weed;
not prone to infectious and viral diseases;
high quality meat;
have a calm character.
There are very few drawbacks and they are insignificant:
Herefords can get an udder burn in hot countries;
fear of drafts;
Farmers holding meat breed Hereford cows left their reviews:
Julia Vysotskaya, 35 years old, farmer. When choosing a cow, the question arose which breed is best to buy: dairy or meat, I immediately preferred the second option, in Russia beef is now expensive. Fear of cows and bulls remained from childhood, but still decided to get some Hereford cows and, to my surprise, they are really calm and affectionate, but they do not give milk to themselves. Marble meat is very juicy and tasty, while cooking does not lose its values.
Denis Plotsky, 50 years old. I keep animals purely for myself, of course there is a lot of a whole cow or a bull for me, therefore I sell the excess to neighbors. This year there was an offer to buy Hereford breed, the price is certainly expensive for them, but I was still persuaded to purchase them. I did not regret for a minute that I chose these bulls, they are calm, not whimsical either to care or to feed. For the slaughter, I led these bull-calves with tears in their eyes, but marble meat really turned out to be very tasty.
Hold Holstein, but recently took two heifers Herefords. Of course, we won’t try meat for a long time, but as for the character, I can say one thing with confidence that they won’t give offense, they quickly get used to new conditions of keeping and feeding. Not cocky, try not to conflict with the rest of the cows, but can also put in place. They got used to my hands quickly, but still shy, they don’t allow strangers. Of course, vaccinations, vitamins and insemination only through a split will not stand on a leash either. As I was not discouraged or scared by this breed, I can say from experience with certainty that Herefords for breeding is an excellent breed.
Hereford Cow is one of the best breeds for breeding for meat. It is impossible to milk such cows, their milk yield is low, which is given to all newborn calves. In maintenance and maintenance, it is simple, the main lack of drafts and good nutrition. If you follow all the rules, then cows will delight with their marble juicy and delicious meat.