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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Red Wattle Hogs

Red Wattle Hog

The Red Wattle is a large, red hog with a fleshy wattle attached to each side of the neck. The wattles have no known function. They are a single gene characteristic and usually pass to crossbred offspring. The Red Wattle comes in a variety of shades of red, some with black specks or patches, and red and black hair. Some individuals are nearly black. The head and jowl are clean and lean, the nose is slim, and ears are upright with drooping tips. The body is short coupled and the back slightly arched. Mature animals weigh 600-800 pounds, but may weigh as much as 1200 pounds and measure up to four feet high and eight feet long.

Red Wattle hogs are known for hardiness, foraging activity, and rapid growth rate. They produce a lean meat that has been described as flavorful and tender. The sows are excellent mothers, farrow litters of 10 – 15 piglets, and provide good quantities of milk for their large litters. They have a mild temperament.

Red Wattles adapt to a wide range of climates. Their active foraging make them a good choice for consideration in outdoor or pasture-based swine production. Their gentle nature recommends them to the small-scale, independent producer.

From The American Livestock Breed Conservancy. The Red Wattle Hog is listed as Critical on the endangered list.


The Red Wattle hog is a large, red hog with a fleshy, decorative, wattle attached to each side of its neck that has no known function. The origin and history of the Red Wattle breed is considered scientifically obscure, though many different ancestral stories are known. One theory is that the French colonists brought the Red Wattle Hogs to the United States from New Caledonia Island off the coast of Australia in the late 1700’s. As they adapted well to the land, the Red Wattle quickly became a popular breed in the US.

Unfortunately, as settlers moved west, the breed began to fall out of favor because settlers came into contact with breeds that boasted a higher fat content, which was important for lard and soap. Red Wattles were left to roam the hills of eastern Texas, where they were hunted to near extinction, until Mr. H.C. Wengler came across a herd in the dense forest and began breeding them into what they are today. Five year later, in a similar incident, Robert Prentice located another herd of Red Wattle hogs, which became known as the Timberline herd, after its wooded origins in eastern Texas.

Red Wattle hogs are known for their hardiness, foraging activity, and rapid growth rate. The sows are excellent mothers, who labor litters of 9-10 piglets, and provide good quantities of milk for their large litters. They adapt well to a wide range of climates, making them a good choice for consideration in outdoor or pasture-based swine production.

Red Wattle pork is exceptionally lean and juicy with a rich beef-like taste and texture.

The Red Wattle hog is listed on the ALBC Conservation Priority List as being critically endangered meaning there are fewer than 200 annual registrations in the U.S. and estimated to have fewer than 2,000 individuals of this breed globally.

From Slow Foods USA Ark of Taste

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