MINIATURE HEREFORD FAQ
Miniature Hereford Cattle For Sale
Miniature Hereford Breeders
Miniature Herefords and More!
At M2G2 Farm and Cattle Company, LLC, we are a leading miniature Hereford breeder offering miniature Hereford cattle for a multitude of needs. Our miniature Herefords are bred particularly for small spaces, with their compact size and docile temperaments, they make perfect miniature livestock companions.
Miniature Hereford cattle are becoming increasingly popular for their numerous benefits. From show cattle to breeding stock, these small size bovines offer a plethora of advantages for farmers and families alike:
They make great show cattle-
For those who are looking for show cattle to put on exhibition at livestock shows and fairs, miniature Herefords are the ideal choice. They are compact, yet powerful animals that can make quite the impression in a show ring. Because of their relatively lower upkeep cost and small size, miniature Herefords require less investment than other breeds of cattle.
Perfect for stock breeding-
For those looking to breed their own stock or add to an existing herd, miniature Herefords offer outstanding qualities as breeding stock. Not only are they genetically diverse and healthy animals, but their strong maternal instincts make them perfect candidates for raising calves that can be sold after weaning.
Excellent source of premier quality beef-
For those searching for a quality source of beef, miniature Herefords offer a healthier alternative to store-bought cuts. Raising mini Herefords on your own property gives you control over the animals’ diets, ensuring that you are providing healthy, grass-fed beef for your family. Not only is this better for overall health and nutrition, but it also ensures that no antibiotics or hormones have been used on the cattle.
No matter what your reason may be for wanting miniature Hereford cattle, there is no doubt they are a great option. From show cattle to breeding stock and healthy beef for the freezer, these miniature bovines offer a wide range of benefits. If you are looking for an easy-to-manage breed with plenty of advantages, miniature Herefords are certainly worth considering.
Our miniature Herefords have the same genetics as their regular-size counterparts, giving them a superior quality not found anywhere else.
Visit M2G2 Farm and Cattle Company today and find out why miniature Herefords are becoming increasingly sought after!
What is a Miniature Hereford?
A Miniature Hereford is a traditional full blood Hereford; they are simply not as tall or heavy as the full sized contemporary Herefords you see today. Purebred Miniature Herefords are free of the dwarf gene and are registered with the American Hereford Association (AHA), just like their larger counterparts; and their pedigrees within the AHA trace all the way back to when Hereford cattle first set foot on American soil. Miniature Herefords are actually the size of traditional Hereford cattle of the 1950s before they were “bred to be bigger”.
Herefords have come a long way since they first arrived in the United States, and they have repeatedly proven their hardiness, adaptability to any environment in which they are placed, and their ease of gaining weight to produce high quality beef. Because of these special traits, Herefords are primarily a beef animal, and the Miniatures are no different.
Miniature Herefords, because of their smaller size, are much easier to handle compared to large cattle, require less space for comfortable living quarters and they eat far less food. Because of this, they make great backyard pets and can even help you to obtain agricultural tax exempt status.
Extremely docile in nature, Miniature Herefords are excellent for children or even the young at heart. A superb
4-H or FFA show animal, they can help instill responsibility and a sense of accomplishment in a youngster.
Why would you want to own a Miniature Hereford?
There are many reasons to own a Miniature Hereford, here are just a few:
They are a small, compact, efficient breed of cattle.
They eat 30-40% less than their full size counterparts
They possess a gentle disposition making them easy to handle.
They mature more quickly than the standard breeds.
They require less acreage and cost less to house making them perfect for small farms.
They have superior feed conversion.
They adapt to a variety of environments with varying conditions and temperatures.
They have more ribeye per hundred weight than larger cattle.
Calves weigh on the average 30 to 50 lbs.
They are beef cattle.
They make great 4-H or FFA projects.
Where are the best resources for learning about caring for Miniature Herefords?
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. Oklahoma State University has Agricultural Extension offices in each county as do most states. They provide publications relevant to Herefords and are a crucial resource.
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.
1. Join the Miniature Hereford Breeders Association
Find other members near you. Visit their website if they have one or give them a phone call. Ask if you can come for a visit. Tell them you are new and trying to learn more about the whole thing. Since they likely sell some of their stock from time-to-time, they will be more than happy to have you visit. Repeat as many times as you can.
2. Go to Miniature Herefords Shows
The people you meet and the things you will learn will be very important to you. Plus you will meet some of the nicest people in the world.
Will Miniature Herefords qualify my land for an agricultural tax exemption?
Yes. Mini Herefords are just smaller versions of the larger framed Herefords. Counties, especially rural counties, don't like to give up their tax base but they do want to encourage a viable ag economy. Some counties have minimum standards for qualifying your property for an agricultural tax exemption. It can vary widely from county to county. They will typically have a minimum number of acres or the minimum number of livestock.
Do I have to breed my Miniature Herefords?
Not at all. We can park a couple animals on a few acres and avoid a lot of issues associated with breeding by not breeding them. Buying steers is cheaper than buying cows and heifers and can be a good way to learn about cattle care before stepping up to a breeding herd.
If I do breed my Miniature Herefords, what do I do with excess animals?
This is an important question and something we should be prepared for. Much of our management planning will revolve around balancing cattle numbers, grazable forage, hay stockpile, and feed costs. The basic answer is "sell'em or eat'em".
When we get close to our cattle emotionally, slaughter is a grim decision we would like to avoid. Selling them is preferable of course and requires active marketing and having good sale animals. Unless we decide to allow your cattle to live out their life on your pasture (which is done), the meat processor is the inevitable end for all cattle. At some point it becomes a fact of reality that we have to accept. It's the same as for our pet dog or cat. We know what will happen; we just give our pets the best life we can and be thankful for the love we receive in return.
It's better to sell them since you can get some cash flow and hopefully break even. Selling means marketing and that takes time and effort so be prepared. You will have bull calves and you will have heifer calves. Everyone wants a heifer; few need more than one bull. Therefore, bulls can be castrated and turned into steers for meat.
How much land is needed for Miniature Herefords?
Another very important question. There is a balance to be achieved regardless how big or small your property. It involves the number of animals, the amount of grazable forage, the hay reserves on hand, and feed costs. A smaller number of animals is easier to manage during a drought when forage disappears. Since we can replace grass with hay and feed when necessary, it comes down to dollars in the end. But it also impacts our personal energy levels since it is a lot easier to put out hay for five animals than for twenty. And the hay goes pretty fast with the twenty. This is an issue that affects all cattle owners, not just us hobby-farmers. Farmers and cattle raisers have for centuries have been at the mercy of the markets and weather. It is no different for us.
The term "desirable grazable forage" is a grass community that has both the quantity, nutrition, and the seasonal presence for as long as the typical season in our area to keep our animals healthy. Variables such as soil, fertility, rainfall, weeds, and over-use all impact grazable forage levels. It's really a site-based issue and each piece of land is different. If there is no fairly recent history of grazing on the property, you may seek professional assistance from your county Agriculture Extension Service or the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the US Department of Agriculture. They can help with identifying the grasses already present, weed problems, soils characteristics, drainage, and many other issues.
If your property has recently or traditionally been used for grazing, you can get a fairly good idea of its potential by talking to people in the area who are actively grazing. They will also be familiar with the typical grasses in your area. However you do it, you need to become familiar with the typical forage grasses and weeds in the area. Do collect soil samples to determine fertility needs for your land. Your local county extension office is a great resource of local information about soils, weed control, fertilization, and “grazability”. They will also assist you in getting a soil sample to be tested.
So, how many animals? In general, one miniature Hereford per acre to 1-½ acre.
How many Miniature Herefords should I start with?
If you have little to no experience with cattle, go small! Start with two or three, no more than five.* Don't start with just one! Cattle are social herd animals and don't like being alone. It is more stressful on the animal and stress reduction is a management goal since stress-free animals will be healthier animals. Two is a pair, three is a herd, five will keep you busy.
How much do Miniature Herefords cost?
There is a wide range to this issue. When we started, we had no intention of showing minis. We purchased 2 yearling heifers with plans to add a bull shortly thereafter. Mary went to pick up our bull, Samson, in Houston and came home with another heifer as well. It’s called chicken math and it applies to all livestock. All of our Miniature Herefords are AHA registered, show quality with strong champion bloodline genetics. Samson is homozygous polled, meaning he does not have horns and any of his offspring will not have horns.
Good quality polled heifers, on average, are $3,500 to over $4,000. Start with animals from experienced breeders of quality animals. We purchased our starter herd from two reputable breeders who we were able to contact with questions or problems. Their mentorship, and later friendship, has been invaluable.
How do I recognize a "quality animal" when buying a Miniature Hereford?
No matter what our purpose is for our animals; pets, meat sales, or breeding stock, we want animals that are structurally sound and in good health. Learning to identify such animals is a valuable skill. The purpose of livestock shows is to exhibit what the industry and an owner believes or hopes is a superior animal. A superior cattle specimen is one which grows easily on pasture forage, is hardy to weather extremes according to its breed, is fertile (bulls and cows), will reliably service any cow he encounters (bull), will conceive and deliver a calf every year (cow), and wean a calf that weighs high for its breed (current traditional industry goal, not for minis).
These traits are estimated two ways; (1) actual past performance of the sire and dam and (2) structural conformation. Structural conformation entails the evaluation of bone structure as an indicator of the animal being able to efficiently and reliably withstand the rigors of mating and raising healthy calves with the same traits. Some of the best basic information for how to evaluate cattle can be found in cattle judging manuals. These are available at State Ag Extension Departments and in 4H and FFA publications.
Although it may appear livestock shows have evolved into a beauty contest in some ways, livestock shows are still a good place to look for quality breeders and animals. It is up to us, as owners, to develop the skill to know a good animal (or bad one) when we see one.
What type of facilities do you need to have Miniature Herefords?
I added the "Miniature Herefords" in the title because some of what I say will apply to these specifically. If you have large cattle everything gets sized up and in many instances, they won't be as docile as miniature Herefords..
The most important infrastructure you must have BEFORE you get cattle is GOOD FENCING! Containing your herd is essential. Cattle that have grass to graze, water, some shade, and a companion, will not likely try to escape your property. Cattle are inquisitive and will take advantage of the seemingly smallest opening to go exploring.
The next most important component of your facilities is WATER. Using a pond for your cattle should be considered carefully. Cattle love to stand in water on a hot day. They also urinate and defecate in the water..the water they will drink. They will create a margin of deep hoof prints in the mud and keep the pond water the color of chocolate milk. If you have a pond, you may consider fencing it off from cattle but still allow wildlife access.
Next: GRASS. The amount of grass you have ultimately determines how many animals your property can support without relying on bagged feed and hay. Feeding from bags is not a bad thing... just an expensive one. If cattle have been grazed on your property before, there may be suitable forage in place already. If not, your forage community may need to be renovated by removing weeds or brush, scarifying the soil to improve water infiltration, fertilizing, and/or seeding. You can have your animals while accomplishing these tasks.
You will need one or more HOLDING PENS. These are not crucial immediately but you will want to have something to contain your herd for vet visits or to separate for treatment. This pen need not be really big but large enough for a few head to be kept comfortably for a couple days. The pen should contain a water trough and some access to shade (if possible). Eventually, you may have two or three holding pens depending on the type of animals you have; cows, bulls, heifers, steers. There will be an occasion when you need to separate some animals from others. We have a small pasture we use for pregnant cows who are close to delivering so we can keep a close eye on them. We use the same pasture to wean calves.
You will need a HEADGATE and CHUTE. At our age, we don't play "rodeo" with our animals. Also, a veterinarian will not want to handle your cattle without suitable restraining equipment. It's unsafe for all concerned. Even though your cattle may be very gentle and like to get your hugs and scratches, they won't be crazy about getting palpated or get a shot, or have a thorn pulled from their hoof. You can also use your chute to load into a trailer.
Although an animal BARN is not necessary, you will want to get a SHELTER for your animals. This may be a simple three-wall shelter facing south or a four-sided, fully enclosed barn. Budget is always a factor of course and you can DIY the thing if you have the urge. Small three-sided metal shelters are pretty affordable. Enclosed barns are more expensive. The type of structure you need will depend on how you want to raise your animals. We have a 3 sided loafing shed on the pasture side of our barn. It gives them protection from all our crazy Oklahoma weather. It can also be partitioned into corrals to contain a cow & calf after birth or to keep new calves warm in the winter.