The most common question I get from people who visit us at fairs, shows and displays is “Why Miniature Herefords?” My tongue in cheek answer is “why not?” Miniature Herefords make so much sense that I wonder why breeders continue to raise the larger cattle!
Remembering that Miniature Herefords are in fact descendants of the original Herefords brought to North America in 1831, we should first have a look at the characteristics of the Hereford breed to answer the question of “why”.
Herefords (the Royal Breed) are noted for their efficiency as foragers – turning grass into beef. They mature early, are easy calvers and good milkers for those calves. They are excellent mothers, known for their high rate of reproduction. An outstanding trait of the Hereford breed is their extreme hardiness. They adapt well to any environment, from extreme cold, to high humidity areas, to dry deserts. Herefords have always been known for their docile nature.
The Miniature Hereford retains all of those excellent traits. In addition, because of a strong genetic base that has been firmly established over the past several decades, the offspring are very predictable as to type and conformation.
· No special feed is necessary. Good pasture or quality grass hay, a salt/trace mineral supplement, and clean water will meet their nutritional needs.
· Miniatures convert feed to body weight more effectively than conventional sized cattle. They intake approximately 40% less food than conventional sized cattle. As a result, you can graze 2 to 3 head to one standard-size animal. Total nutritional intake is directly proportional to body weight. Therefore two 700 pound cows can be maintained on the same pasture required to maintain one 1400 pound cow. The result of these two facts is that 25 percent more beef can be produced from a given pasture utilising Miniatures. Miniature Cattle are exceptional beef cattle that thrive on limited feed intake thus lowering production costs while producing smaller sized cuts of lean, flavourful, high quality beef.
· Miniature Cattle will winter on roughly one-third the feed of many of the crossbred cows popular today. They are fast maturing and have excellent birth to weight gains. They reach market weights earlier and for roughly one-third the feed costs and have very lean carcasses
· The Miniatures inherit the docile nature of the full sized Herefords and because of their smaller size and friendly temperament, they are even easier to work with. In addition, they are gentle on fences, corrals, equipment, and handlers.
· Their lighter weight means they are easier on the environment with less damage to grasslands, pastures, and riparian areas
· They require no special veterinarian care. Cattle are very easy to care for, but if veterinarian care becomes necessary, any good beef cattle Vet can treat them. Moreover, Vets appreciate their size and docile nature.
· Cows are easy calvers, good milkers with strong maternal instincts.
· The Miniature Herefords mature up to 20% earlier than standard size cattle, offering more offspring and therefore income in a shorter length of time.
· High cow/Calf weaning ratios (Calf weight percentage to cow weight at weaning). The national cow/Calf weaning ratio average is 35 to 40 percent. Miniature Herefords maintain a 65 percent (or better) ratio.
· Miniatures produce 60% by weight of the prime cuts
· In addition to producing more of the prime cuts of beef, they produce smaller cuts of beef. The smaller cuts fit with today’s demand and are perfectly suited to the grill and the restaurant trade. Those smaller cuts can demand a price premium – typically 30% above the norm
· Dress-out weights of full size animals are approximately 45% of the live body weight. Miniature Herefords typically dress out at 65% of live body weight resulting in more beef for less feed
· The average rib eye area in larger cattle is one square inch per one hundred pounds of live body weight. In Miniature Herefords the rib eye area typically runs 1½ inch per one hundred pounds of live body weight – a 50% increase of higher priced cuts. Not only are we obtaining more meat for less feed, we are getting more, higher priced cuts for less feed. More beef at higher prices minus smaller feed costs equals more profit.
· The broad recognition and acceptance of the Hereford breed makes the Miniature Hereford very marketable and they are registrable with major International Hereford Associations
Miniature Hereford cattle can fill many niches.
* Profit from Cattle
* 4-H projects
* Single Family Beef Production
* Show Cattle
* Small Team to Drive
* Tax Valuation for your Property
* Backyard pet
* Retirement Income
· Miniature Hereford, with its small size, efficient feed conversion, and gentle disposition, is the ideal choice for locations with minimal acreage