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Hereford Pig Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kristin Pia Hayman

Kristin taught for over 10 years in the elementary classroom. She holds a B.A. in Journalism as well as a Master's Degree in Elementary Education.

The Hereford pig is a special breed of domestic pig that was developed in the United States. These pigs have several unique characteristics that make them very desirable to farmers.

An American-Born Pig

How would you describe a pig? Would it be chubby? Messy? Delicious? Let's explore one specific type of pig, shall we?

The Hereford pig is an all-American guy! This medium-sized breed was developed in the early 1900s in the mid-west region of the United States. Hereford pigs have very calm and quiet personalities, but, boy are they big! By six months of age, these guys weigh as much as an average-sized adult human. By the time Herefords are fully grown, they can weigh up to 800 pounds!

Have you ever heard of a hog? The words 'hog' and 'pig' pretty much mean the same thing, but people usually use hog to describe fully-grown pigs that weigh more than 120 pounds. Hereford pigs are sometimes called Hereford hogs as well because they are more than 120 lbs before they're a year old!

Believe it or not, these pigs were actually named after cows. Their unique reddish-and-white color pattern is similar to that of a Hereford cow, so the name just carried over. In order for a pig to be considered a true Hereford, it must be primarily dark red with a white face and at least two white feet. Pretty specific, huh? Herefords also have droopy ears and longer necks than many other breeds of pig.

Drawing of a Hereford pig
pig

Breeding Herefords

It's thought that three different types of pigs were used to create what is now known as the Hereford pig. This was done through a process called breeding. Animal breeding is when farmers (known as breeders) choose a mother and father pig with strong characteristics and encourage them to have a little piglet. The piglet then has characteristics from both the mother and the father pigs. This is done over and over until breeders finally get a piglet with all of the characteristics that they want.

Hereford pigs were bred for many characteristics, such as their gentle personalities, ability to live in both hot and cold temperatures, and their ability to get very fat very quickly.

Why Farmers Like Herefords

Female Hereford pigs take good care of their young, which actually make for really great pets. Imagine having one of these big guys in your house! Many people that keep pigs as pets live on a farm and the pigs live outdoors.

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