Introduced in the 19th century, Hereford cattle have gone on to become one of the most popular meat breeds raised in the US. Originating from Hereford, England, this docile breed produces great meat, and they have excellent mothering abilities. However, despite their popularity, Hereford cattle aren’t without their disadvantages.
If you are considering adding Hereford cattle to your farm or homestead, you need to be aware of both the pros and the cons. To help you make the right decision, here you’ll discover some of the disadvantages of Hereford cattle to keep in mind.
Disadvantages of Hereford Cattle
Hereford cattle don’t do well in extreme environments
Hereford cattle do not do well in extreme environments. That is, they won’t suit homesteads in tropical, hot climates. For this reason, they are typically kept in southern states like Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma.
Due to their limited adaptivity, areas that fluctuate greatly in temperature throughout the year wouldn’t be suitable for this breed of cattle. Additionally, they can get sunburned easily, so keeping them in milder climates is recommended.
They are prone to vaginal prolapse
Vaginal prolapse is a potentially serious condition that occurs in many different breeds. However, it is especially common in Hereford cattle.
They can suffer vaginal prolapse both before or during birthing, and it presents as a pink-colored mass of tissue. It will usually be around the size of a grapefruit, and if not corrected, it can have potentially severe consequences.
It is typically the weight and pressure of the uterus that causes a vaginal prolapse. It may occur when the cow strains to pass manure, or when they are pushing calves out of the uterus. While a mild prolapse will go back in once the cow stands up, more severe cases will require assistance from a veterinarian.
If you plan on raising Hereford cattle, you would do well to learn more about vaginal prolapse, alongside other common genetic health problems the breed is prone to.
They don’t mature as fast as other breeds
Compared to many other breeds, Hereford cattle takes a little longer to mature. This means you will spend more time raising them before they begin to generate profit. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food claims Hereford cattle take around 326 days to mature, whereas breeds like the Brown Swiss Bull take around 264 days to reach maturity.
While they may take longer to mature, it isn’t uncommon for females to produce calves until they are 15 years old. That is of course if they make it that long.
Hereford cattle have a shorter lifespan
While Hereford cattle can live to the ripe old age of 15-20, most have an average lifespan of 13-18 years. This is still great, but it isn’t as long as some other breeds. As they are also prone to various health problems, this shortens their lifespan further, making it imperative to purchase cattle from a well-respected breeder.
As you can see, there are some quite significant disadvantages to owning Hereford cattle that need to be taken into account. While they do have excellent mothering abilities, and they produce great meat, they can be trickier to keep than some of the other beef breeds available.