The Hereford pig is a larger breed option, well known for its colorful coat and hearty weight production.
Homegrown Pork (Storey, 2013) by Sue Weaver offers an outline on successfully raising pigs for modern backyard meat using humane and healthy techniques. Along the way we learn the secret to developing succulent pork which begins with breed choices and ends with an affordable amount of rooting space.
Purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Homegrown Pork.
Type: Modern meat
Origin: Iowa and Nebraska, United States
Color: Red with white face, belly, legs, and tail markings (exactly like those of Hereford cattle)
Conservation Status: Watch
Description: The Hereford is a flashily colored pig with a long neck; wide, dished face; medium-size, drooping ears; and a curly tail.
R. U. Webber of La Plata, Missouri, developed the first Hereford pigs by crossing Durocs, Chester Whites, and Ohio Improved Chester genetics; however, the Webber bloodlines died out. Later, between 1920 and 1925, a group of breeders in Iowa and Nebraska, led by John Schulte of Norway, Iowa, created Hereford swine by crossing Duroc and Poland China bloodlines to develop a productive, early-maturing hog that could do well in confinement or pasture, with the added bling of colorful Hereford markings.
In 1934, fanciers selected about one hundred pigs, including animals from the Schulte herd, as foundation stock for the National Hereford Hog Record Association. The organization is still active today.
Hereford grower pigs reach slaughter weight of 250 pounds in 5 to 6 months, on less feed than most other breeds. They are decent grazers, strong rooters, and easygoing pigs that fatten easily and adapt well to most climates. Hereford pork is lean but nicely marbled and delicious.
Excerpted from Homegrown Pork © by Sue Weaver, photography © by Mars Vilaubi and illustration © by Elayne Sears used with permission from Storey Publishing. Buy this book from our store: Homegrown Pork.