Hereford cattle & Gideon

2019 Gideon when he was just hours old

Or as he is known by his formal name HR 2B GIDEON 918-P44054541. Gideon is not quite 3 years old and not fully mature just yet. He was born on July 1, 2019. He has a nice deep red color and has pigment on both eyes. His dam, Sara Jane, is one of the original 5 cattle that started our herd 7 years ago. She is still going strong for a 16 year old cow. And they are both Herefords. Herefords are an amazing breed of cattle – yes, we’re biased – but they ARE an incredibly efficient breed of cattle that requires little maintenance and no special diet.

We like the look of Herefords with their white faces, deep red colored bodies, and white markings on their neck, legs and bellies. And there is nothing cuter in the cattle world than Hereford calves zooming across the fields with their little white-tipped tails held high in the air like a flag.

Hereford cattle are the breed that built the West. They are hardy animals that can tolerate our cold temperatures, poor feed quality, have structural soundness that is capable of handling the rough terrain, great mothers, excellent breeders and have a very calm disposition. The latest fad is to cross breed them with Angus cattle for ‘hybrid vigor” with the idea that it will increase your profit margin. Why, when you already have the ‘vigor’ of the Hereford? Is it because feedlots don’t like Herefords because they don’t require special maintenance or diets to gain weight and outperform other breeds? Is it possible that feedlots don’t like them because they can’t pump tons and tons of grain into them for extended amounts of time before they are ready for processing? Herefords are quite efficient feed converters – meaning if you own your own feedlot, it won’t take a long time to fatten up those Herefords as compared to other breeds. Feedlots would loose money and most feedlots are own by corporations who grow and/or own grain facilities. The longer they feed, the more money they make off the producers who put their cattle into those lots to fatten them up.

June 2020 – Enterprise, Gideon, Gilmore and Edison (Gideon’s full brother)

The Hereford breed was said to have been developed in Herefordshire, England with the desire to create a breed of beef cattle that would thrive on poor feed and harsh conditions. The book the History of Hereford Cattle details the history of the breed and best sums it up under “Recapitulations and conclusions – the Hereford breed formed by judicious amalgamation of various good sorts.” The breed was introduced into America in 1817, eventually challenged by cross-breeding that nearly lost all the wonderful Hereford characteristics that the breed was originally designed to do. But cattlemen who recognized the Hereford traits and characteristics brought the breed back by the importation, again, of more Hereford bloodlines from Herefordshire, England. The original Hereford breed was cattle with horns. Now Hereford cattle come either in the horned or polled (hornless) variety. We prefer polled.

Edison, Henry and Gideon several days ago

We’ve finally started to see signs that the Month of Mud is about commence (though there is rumor of single digit temps sometime next week). Beautiful blue skies, minimal clouds and easier walking about as the ice softens, it is time to get some bull pictures. It is the time of year that producers start to look for bulls. And whenever I attempt to take pictures of animals they don’t always want to cooperate. And since it was such a beautiful day and the bulls were starting to lounge about in the sunshine (obviously their bellies were full) that it was the perfect time to venture out and take pictures of them. Maybe I won’t slip on the ice this time, scaring the little bulls in the process. I think they thought I was attacking them or they didn’t want to associate with a clumsy oaf.

So out in search of the perfect subject… scanning around I spied Gideon by himself. He’s usually sportish enough to stand still for a while and pose…. without picking his nose or sticking his tongue out. He’s not generally ‘rude’, nor does he give the squinty stink-eye like his sire did whenever the camera came out. Except this day – he was absolutely sure I went out there specifically to annoy him while he was snorfling through the last little remnants of his breakfast.

Then Gideon’s groupie buddy Captain Holiday felt that his presence was needed and that there should be some good old fashioned rough-housing to show off for the camera. Action shots… just what was not needed, nor the occasional ‘rude moo’ as the bulls are all starting to feel the effects of spring and the desire to sow their wild oats. Sorry boys, you will be banned for indecency…. yes, we know you are capable but seriously… not everyone is a cattlemen who reads this blog and would understand your antics.

Gideon, Captain Holiday and Hugo

Hugo, another yearling bull came to participate in the fun and festivities. So much for any serious photos being taken at this point in time and now backup of my own is needed to salvage any opportunities. As my reinforcements arrived Captain Holiday retreated with his sidekick in tow to another pile of hay leaving Gideon alone. As a reward for not running away with the other two troublemakers, or quitting the photo shoot, Gideon got his back scratched and his personal pile of hay back to snorfle up the leafy bits as he pleases without it being trampled into the snow.

Keegan & Gideon

As Gideon matures he is fleshing out nicely, his shoulders and neck are getting thicker and his deep red color pops nicely in the bright sunshine. The whorls on his face are really pronounced, which per the old-timer Hereford breeders whorls on the face meant they are docile and good tempered. Some bulls may only have them above their eyes, he has them down to his nose. He is definitely docile and has an excellent temperament.

Like most seedstock cattle producers, you can’t keep all your bulls and, of course, not all will make the grade. But we do have the desire to continue the select genetics and traits that are sought after from the Hereford cattle breed and Gideon has been revealing that he has those qualities. Now he just needs his own herd (at the very least, a better marketing manager).

Until next time…

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