Hereford Hogs

Great for showing or producing meat, Herefords are a red hog with white feet, faces and sometimes bellies.

by Dani Yokhna
PHOTO: iStock/Thinkstock

Use: Herefords are a lean, meat hog that mature early, needing five to six months to reach market weight (250 pounds). Hams from Herefords are gaining popularity in specialty markets. Popular for 4-H and FFA projects for showing, Herefords now have their own division at most state shows.

History: Herefords were created from a cross of Duroc-Jersey and Poland China hogs by John C. Schulte of Norway, Iowa, around 1920. Modern representatives of the breed can be traced to this foundation.

Conformation: Hereford enthusiasts claim they raise the “world’s most attractive hog.” Herefords are a red hog, ranging from blonde to mahogany, with white feet, faces and occasionally bellies. They have drooping ears, a wide, slightly dished face and a curly tail. Their color and hardiness are well-suited to outdoor production, but shade should be provided to protect against sunburn. Herefords are even from shoulder to ham with a slight arch to the back.

Special Considerations/Notes: Herefords can be raised on pasture or in semi-confined conditions. Farrowing can be managed easily on pasture or in barns. They grow well on a variety of feeds and do not put on large amounts of fat. They love to root and can be quite useful for tilling. Hereford boars are known for their aggressive breeding habits and are very prolific. Many Herefords are being bred with commercial-breed sows to improve fertility and numbers. Hereford sows are average mothers with decent milk production. They typically wean all the piglets they gave birth to. Litter size averages eight to nine piglets. Full-sized Herefords range from 600 to 800 pounds at two years of age. The Hereford Hog is blessed with a large breeding population and an active registry (National Hereford Hog Record Association) with close to 10,000 hogs. Breeding stock is readily available from reputable breeders across the country.

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