Close Bred Hereford 'Pedigree' Bull.

Hillsidefarmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Hi all, first time poster. We have a realitvely small beef cattle holding. We have a largely limosin herd, but made the decision to move over to Hereford a few years ago to produce a smaller and easier finished animal. We bought a hereford pedigree bull which turned out to be a very unfortunate event. We approached a local hereford breeder who had 4 young bulls. We went to his farm and looked at the 4 bulls. We picked one out and decided to make the purchase. At this time, the farmer told us the pedigree cert was not available as this bull was registered in a show in a few weeks. He said he would post the cert on. We were fine with this as all our cows are limosin or lim/sim cross, so we had no concerns about close blood lines as we were introducing hereford for the first time. We brought the bull home and ran him with the cows. After a number of weeks the cert arrived in the post. We actually filed it away and didnt give it close attention. After approx 2 more months the intention was to purchase one or two pedigree hereford heifers to introduce to the herd. This is when we examined the cert for the first time closely, and found to our dismay, the breeder has produced this bull by breeding his own bull with its full daughter. This was extremely off putting and immediately, we contacted the breeder to raise our concerns. The breeder tried to brush if off as nothing and refused to take the bull back and give us a refund. But I find it to be appalling practice. Whats more, the hereford society confirmed there is no rule against this even though in their words 'it is not desirable practice and can effective fertility'. Long story short, it ended up in a court room, but was dismissed as there is no rule in law against the close breeding. We sold the bull in the beef ring at a loss of £1400 to put and end to the sorry story. There was of course a degree of naivity on our part to not scrutnise the breeding at the time of sale. But it has never ever been our experience that a bull you purchase would be a result of father and daughter breeding. Wonder what y'all think of this, and have you any advice? I really think the hereford society needs to amed their policy!!! I should say before we got rid of the bull, he did prove fruitful and we had a number of calves that are perfeclty good calves. We were of course not ever going to let this close bred line into our herd in terms of keeping on some of these heifers for cows. All his calves were/are to be sold for beef.
 
It's all about homework.
I'd never take a bull home without knowing everything I could possibly know, particularly if you going to breed breeding stock from him
It's also worth having a long term plan, if there was a plan to be keeping Hereford cows in the future, his breeding could have been very important.

Breed society database makes the homework a lot easier these days.
 

Whitepeak

Member
Livestock Farmer
Line breeding when it works, inbreeding when it doesn't!
Shouldn't be any problem using him on unrelated females, and like you have said he has sired some "perfectly good calves". The only issues that could arise are if that bloodline carries a genetic defect.
I'm sure he wasn't bred deliberately either, we all have the odd accident. I've just weaned a heifer calf who is the result of an accidental mother to son mating. Did try to estrumate the cow but she held. Calf is perfectly fine.
The bit I would be unhappy with is the breeder not disclosing his breeding at point of sale when asked. And also his lack of understanding when you eventually complained. I would always fully disclose any pedigree information to a prospective buyer, and if we get a complaint I would always do my best to rectify the situation and keep the customer happy.
There is nothing in the NBA or breed society warranties about close breeding, hence why your case was thrown out of court. Its up to individuals to decide how close is too close to breed.
 

Hillsidefarmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Thanks MJG. I cant argue with any of that, and of course hingsight is 2020. We should have waited for cert etc. But - surely the hereford society or any society should not allow a certifcate to be produced from a father/daughter union. I understand line breeding has its benefits, but surely father/daughter breeding is inbreeding and as unnatural and offputting as it gets.
 
Thanks MJG. I cant argue with any of that, and of course hingsight is 2020. We should have waited for cert etc. But - surely the hereford society or any society should not allow a certifcate to be produced from a father/daughter union. I understand line breeding has its benefits, but surely father/daughter breeding is inbreeding and as unnatural and offputting as it gets.
I'm guessing it happens in nature a lot.
I saw a bull sold in a breed society sale that was a result of a father daughter mating and he was bought by a bull stud.

Some people obviously aren't concerned.

Any breed societies I've been involved with just want to massage egos, collect money and for statistics to suit them, they aren't too bothered about much else.

Just look at the state if the Lim and AA societies for examples.
 

Moors Lad

Member
Location
N Yorks
Putting that bull on your lim cows would be very unlikely to cause any problems in the calves, but I like you would be very annoyed with what happened - there are some practices in pedigree breeding that don`t sit well with some of us !
Pity you`ve had the expense of a court case - I do think it was unwise without doing more homework as to what is considered "acceptable" within the pedigree world - I`m certain you`re right in your views about close family breeding though!!
We had a very disappointing episode with a high profile ram breeder/seller who offers all sorts of "guarantees" recently and it does leave a VERY bad taste in your mouth!!
 

Moors Lad

Member
Location
N Yorks
The issue here is the breeder trying to pull the wool over your eyes, not the bull itself. You liked the bull, he was healthy and fertile and over cows of a different breed it's likely that his calves would derive extra benefit from hybrid vigour. I think you jumped the gun culling him but agreed you would need to be more careful for the pedigree job.
Spot on! That would have been my take on it too.
 

Exfarmer

Member
Location
Bury St Edmunds
Sadly. I think you were very unwise in your court case and should have been advised against it.
The practice of line breeding is how breeds came about to produce a common type.
Before anyone says it is not natural, yes it is, the predominant bull in a wild herd will breed with all his female harem , irrespective of some being his daughters. This is true of all herding animal, in fact it is only the human animal which has ever come up with the concept of incest.
 

Cowgirl

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Ayrshire
In-breeding / line breeding is widely carried out in large scale commercial breeding, especially in strains of pigs and poultry, because it is the fastest way to produce a strain of animal that contains the most advantageous genetics and to rapidly identify which animals carry deleterious genes so that they can be eliminated.
Cattle breeding though is not an experimental animal breeding system as they only have one or at most two offspring and the dangers of producing a calf with lethal genes could outweigh the benefits. In the OP’s case this was highly likely to have been an accident rather than deliberate but, as has been said, the problem was more the attitude of the breeder not disclosing the fact. However there is another issue that needs to be borne in mind, particularly with Herefords. I shall assume that this was a modern Hereford, not a Traditional Hereford.
There are at least 5 inherited diseases in the modern (ie North American Derived) Herefords. Two are deemed non - lethal. Diluter (autosomal dominant), most likely from introgression of the breed with Simmental or other continental, only affects calf colour. Hypotrichosis is an autosomal recessive (though there may be another variant linked with diluter), which causes a thin coated, poor doing calf but is only lethal in extreme climates, not in UK. This is the only genetic test now required by the Hereford Cattle Society. It does occur in Traditional Herefords also as it is a very old gene, dating back probably to the 1920s. The other three diseases however are recessive, lethal and currently not tested for, as the HCS appears to believe they are not in UK. However they may well be as they may not be identified in a dead calf. These are epilepsy, maple syrup urine disease and mandibulofacial dysostosis. Epilepsy appears to be a mutation from the 80s in America and is unlikely to be an issue here, although the original affected animals are not identified as carriers on the UK database. The latter two recessives have been recognised as a problem in Herefords relatively recently and new carriers are being identified all the time (although MSUD was recognised in Australia in polled shorthorns a long time ago.) MD in North America now has over 2000 carriers identified only in the last couple of years and involves very popular mainly polled bloodlines. Therefore in my opinion the risk of inbreeding in modern polled Herefords is possibly quite high right now and is why I wouldn’t recommend it. Of course it wouldn’t affect a crossbred calf, but if an unsuspecting owner kept offspring and mated them, it may turn up in subsequent generation. These are not present in Traditional Herefords.
 
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Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
We approached a local hereford breeder who had 4 young bulls. We went to his farm and looked at the 4 bulls. We picked one out and decided to make the purchase. At this time, the farmer told us the pedigree cert was not available as this bull was registered in a show in a few weeks. He said he would post the cert on.
So did you buy the bull and take him home there and then or did the breeder keep him for a few weeks and show him before you got him ?

I have not known a show want a pedigree certificate for an entry, as above it can all be done from the ear tag number
 

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