Beef supplies a lot of the demand for protein in the United States. But not all herds of cattle are headed to the feedlots.
Going past the home of Craig and Terri Warren in Altoona, it would be easy to overlook these Herefords; they're Miniature Herefords, and they're about half the size of their larger counterparts.
If you were to go back about 60 years, however, these cattle would be average size.
“Back actually in the 1800s they brought them in, then they cross bred them with the cattle in the west." says Craig Warren, owner of CT Miniature Hereford Cattle. "They had the hardiness of the Longhorn, and they had the muscle and the ability to fatten up on grass, and it worked real well for them.”
Miniature Herefords eat half the food and provide half the beef compared to larger Herefords. But they're also docile animals, which makes them good pets and good animals for older famers. Their gentler nature also makes these cattle perfect show animals.
“They work real well for 4H kids," says Warren. "[They] can show cattle at a younger age, and [owners] will put their child on one for a few years, they’ll get their self-confidence up, they’ll learn more about their showmanship. And then they’ll turn them loose to a bigger cow.”
A growing percentage of show cattle are miniature Herefords; Warren estimates children can show one animal as many as 61 times in a single year. He says miniature Herefords allows the younger generation to ease into the events.