Other name(s): Hereford Hog; Hereford Swine
Scientific name: Sus domestica
Country / Place of origin: United States
History: The Hereford Pig, often called the Hereford Hog, is a breed of domestic pig named for its resemblance to the Hereford breed of cattle. It was developed in Iowa and Nebraska during the 1920s from Duroc, Chester White, and Poland China pig bloodlines. Development first occurred from 1920 to 1925, and by 1934 the official Hereford Pig registry was opened. According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, "The Hereford began to decline in numbers during the 1960s with the shift away from the commercial use of purebred hogs and toward a three way cross of the Duroc, Hampshire, and Yorkshire breeds. Today, the breed population is estimated at fewer than 2,000 pigs in the United States, most of them found in the upper Midwest and Plains states. The characteristics of the Hereford, however, make it a natural choice for a -variety of small scale production systems. If the breed is given opportunity under such systems, it will be able to earn its place in the future."
Current Uses: Meat
Appearance: The true (qualified for registration) Hereford is a medium-sized pig with medium-sized droopy ears and a long neck. The body is reddish (light to dark); the face, ears, and feet are white. They are a medium-large swine breed, and generally weigh 200 to 250 pounds at five or six months of age. Mature sows weigh about 600 pounds, boars 800.
Average weight: 600 - 800 lbs.
Lifespan: 6 - 9 years
Grooming: Pigs are one of the easiest domestic animals to groom. They only require a good washing with a mild shampoo to remove dirt from the body and feet. For show pigs, excess hair is clipped from the tail and ears. A hairbrush can be used to tidy up the hair and remove any dust particles or sawdust that may be clinging to the animal’s coat.
Diet: As omnivores that eat plants and animals, Pigs will consume almost anything that is edible like fruits, roots, flowers, grass, insects, worms, all types of meat, and even leftover scraps from the dinner table.Unlike ruminant animals (cattle and goats), pigs have a single stomach. For healthy and fast growth, pigs require a high-energy diet composed of grain (corn, oats, wheat, barley), plus protein and vitamin supplements. Most commercially available feed for pigs combine various farm grains and the necessary supplements to ensure rapid and efficient development. Pigs are best allowed to self-feed or eat as much as they want during the day to enable them to grow as fast as they normally can. Feeding should always include a good supply of clean, fresh drinking water.
Housing: Pigs are active, curious animals that require room to explore, exercise, and just be their natural energetic selves. Sufficient space, relative to their size and weight, is a primary consideration because pigs that are crowded or confined to small spaces become stressed, and healthy growth and development is hindered.Although constantly roaming and appreciative of open yards and fresh air, pigs also require a shed or housing that will let them sleep on a dry and clean area at night. Ideal ambient temperatures are 60-70F. Warm shelters with wood chip bedding are a must during cold months; water misters are recommended for the hottest months. Pig housing should also include a feeder and a drinking water dispenser (usually a water barrel). Access to a water source makes it convenient to clean or hose out the pig shelters (and the pigs) as needed. Chain link fencing, shade trees, and a pond are recommended for backyard habitats. Pig owners are advised to check with local authorities for legislation regarding the ownership and keeping of pigs in their homes and backyards.
Health issues: Despite their energy and gregarious nature, Pigs are sensitive animals. They are easily stressed by travel, vaccinations, extreme temperatures, and new surroundings. Stress makes them susceptible to ailments like pneumonia and bronchitis (due also to their small lungs relative to their size). They are also susceptible to animal viruses like influenza. Pigs commonly suffer from mad itch (or pseudo rabies), dysentery, and parasites (lice, ticks, and ascarid worms).Healthy pigs have shiny hair, bright eyes, strong appetites, and high energy. Their normal temperature is 102.5F. Deviations from the normal temperature and other signs of poor health including diarrhea and coughing should promptly be brought to the attention of a veterinarian.
Behavior / Temperament / Activity level: As omnivores that love to eat, Pigs can be fun to watch while they explore their surroundings in search for something to munch on. They use their snouts to smell and unearth a potential meal. They are intelligent and social animals that quickly get used to the presence and affection of humans.Some Pigs are intelligent enough to learn tricks, obey commands, and use a litter box. Because they have no sweat glands, they tend to cool themselves by rolling in water or mud. The mud that dries on their skin serves as a sunscreen and protection from parasites like ticks, lice, and flies.