The Miniature Hereford has been developed over the last 30 years by selective breeding of stock that was originally imported to the US from England in the early 19th Century. The Miniature Hereford breeding program was started by the Largent family in 1974, whose ranch is located in the Davis Mountains of Texas. Rust Largent initially concentrated on breeding the most efficient cattle suited to the local conditions of his ranch. After working on size reduction for several years with efficiency in mind, a bull called Laser was used at the ranch that enabled a reduction in frame size to be achieved at an increased rate. Since Laser there has been a succession of small animals. The herd has been systematically culled and improved continuously to produce the base herd.
Whatever is true in the care and upkeep of larger market cattle, is true for Miniature Herefords. They are the same animal, only smaller. Handling, health issues, nutrition requirements, mating, and calving, are all the same. Any differences will due to their specific breed. Consequently, State Agricultural Extension publications are expert and relevant resources for us. Since Ag Extension functions to promote profitable agricultural production, their goal is tied to the economics of cattle husbandry and marketing. Some of the economics may not always be as relevant to us as Miniature Hereford owners. And, some techniques may not be as applicable to raising non-market (pet and breeder-market) cattle on small properties. The very best resource for information on raising Miniature Herefords specifically, is the Miniature Hereford Community. I am indebted to many people who spent a lot of time acting as mentors to my education. Here are the two things you should do early-on if you want to shorten your learning curve.
The first Miniature Herefords were sold on the open market in 1991. All Miniature Herefords are able to be registered with the American Hereford Society, once they are checked free of the dwarfism gene Standing at just 3ft 6in tall, Miniature Herefords are almost a third of the size of pure Hereford cattle. This means the herd of 41at Red House Farm can run on just 14ha of permanent pasture. They originated from the Largent family’s Points of Rock ranch in Fort Davis, Texas. The Largent’s bred from the smallest Hereford cows and bulls in a quest to produce smaller bullock carcasses for their butchery business. The Forsyths also ran a butchery for five years selling free-range chicken, Shropshire lamb and grass-fed beef. Like the Largent family, the idea to breed smaller cattle was spawned from a need for a small and manageable carcass – just like how the breed came about. But it was a chance meeting while visiting a friend in Scotland that got Mrs Forsyth started.
The only difference between a Hereford and a Miniature Hereford is the height, the Miniature has the same body profile in terms of proportion to a full sized Hereford. A Miniature Hereford averages around 107cm (42 inches) in height and weighs around 450kgs (1000 lbs). Apart from that the Miniature Hereford is the same in characteristics as its larger counterpart.
Uses/benefits of Miniature Hereford
- Efficient at converting grass
- Capable of finishing off 100% forage
- Early maturing
- Easy calving
- Very docile
- Natural marbling
- Less poaching than larger cattle.
Prices of Miniature Hereford
They range in price from $1,500 to $2,500 each.