Learn about The Red Wattle Hog.
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.
The origin and history of the Red Wattle breed is obscure and many hypotheses have been put forward. What is certain is that the breed, as it is known today, was derived from the large, red, wattled hogs found in a wooded area of eastern Texas in the early 1970s by Mr. H.C. Wengler. He reported breeding two red wattled sows with a Duroc boar, then breeding the wattled offspring back to the original sow. Over several generations he developed what became known as the “Wengler Red Waddle Hog.”
In the early 1980s Robert Prentice located another herd of red wattled hogs. This line became known as the Timberline, named after its wooded origins of east Texas. He combined these with the Wengler Red Waddles to create the Endow Farm Wattle Hogs.
During the early 1980s, a boom time in the hog market, both breeding and market hogs brought a premium. Crosses with the Red Wattle inherited a leaner carcass and showed good hybrid vigor. Three organizations served as registries for Red Wattle hogs and over 100 people were involved with Red Wattles. The breed, however, has never been supported by an active breed association. In the mid-1980s the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy facilitated a meeting of the breeders, encouraging them to unify their efforts to benefit the breed. The breeders preferred to continue with the three registry system. ALBC’s 1990 census reported 272 purebred registered offspring. In late 1999 Jerry Russell began to search for Red Wattle hogs and found only 42 breeding animals belonging to six breeders. None of the three registries had registered stock in years. At the breeders request, ALBC is maintaining a pedigree registry for the breed and providing technical support. Connected breeders are searching for others who may have Red Wattle hogs so that all eligible animals can participate in the breed’s recovery.
The story of the Red Wattle breed illustrates the problems associated with conservation of regional and local populations. Often poorly documented, even when common, these breeds can be rapidly lost when no formal network exists to conserve and promote them.
Red Wattle Hog Association Selection Guide
Does not have 2 wattles, small cramped chest, crease back over shoulders and over back (depression over the spine that is easily noticeable), badly deformed legs or broken down feet, large black or white spots in the coat, coat that is not some shade of red from almost yellow to almost black. Very small. A score less than fifty points.
Detailed description Head and Face: Head proportionate to body- not too large or too small. Medium length snout. Eyes set wide apart and symmetrical. Face dished to almost straight. Nose pliable with nostrils symmetrical and large.
Objections: Head out of proportion to body. Narrow between eyes or eyes set at different levels. Crooked nose. Face extremely dished.
Eyes: Large, bright, intelligent and kind Objections: Dull, small, weak Wattles: 2 wattles well attached, in the same location on the corner of the jowl on each side, firm and of a kidney shape
Objection: less than two wattles, poorly attached, located at any point other than the corner of the jowl
Ears: Set wide apart, symmetrical in form and attachment, upright, tipped or lopped. Pointed and with a moderate thickness. Under control of the hog. Objections: Nearly round, thick, not the same size, set and shape. Swinging/flabby and not un der the control of the animal. (The hog should be able to perk up its ears.) Neck: Thick, deep and slightly arched Objections: Short, straight, thin, shallow Jowl: Broad, full, neat and smooth
Objections: Large, loose, flabby or small, thin and wedge like Shoulders: Broad, very deep and full. Muscle should extend well down. Shoulder should not protrude above the line of the back.
Objections: Small, thin and shallow. Protruding above the line of the back. Chest: Large, full, deep and broad. Objections: Flat, shallow or narrow
Back and Loin: Good width. Slightly arching, having an even width from shoulder to ham. Firm not pliable. Surface even and smooth.
Objections: Narrow, crease over spine easily noticeable behind shoulders; swayed or very humped back. Weak or mushy.
Sides and Ribs: Sides should be deep and full with long strong ribs sprung in proportion to the width of the shoulders and hams.
Objections: Shallow, narrow, flabby Belly and Flank: Smooth and full and carried out in line with the sides. Objections: Narrow, drawn in or pulled up, sagging or flabby
Hams and Rump: Full, firm, well muscled with good width and coming well down to the hock. Full in crotch. Rump should have a rounded slope from loin to the base of the tail. Filled out well around tail.
Objections: Long narrow hams or short thin hams not extending well down to hock. High crotch. Rump narrow, flat or too steep Tail: Well attached with thick root, good brush, Objections: To thick or too thin. Very long or very short
Legs & Feet: Strong with good bone, straight, nicely tapered. Legs set wide apart and well under the hog. Pas- terns strong. Feet firm and tough. Toes balanced, of equal size and straight. Hooves- Black preferred with striped or dark brown acceptable. Hog should not appear to be standing on tiptoes nor be rocked back onto pasterns. Objections: Legs extremely long or very short. Thin legs. Crooked-knocked kneed or pigeon toed. Legs as large below the knee/hock as above. Legs set too close together. Hocks in or out of a straight line. Hooves that are long, slim and weak. Splayed or crooked toes. Toes of une- qual size. Coat: Moderately thick, smooth or curly, covering the body well. Objections: Hair coarse, harsh, rough and not covering the body evenly Color: A shade of red from almost yellow to almost black. NOTE: Dorsal stripe of a darker red and shading to a darker shade of red on legs is acceptable. Solid color preferred with a limited number of black “freckles” accepted. Objections: Any color other than red. Any large spots or stripes of a different color Size: Large for age and condition. Boars 3 years and over >/= 600lbs. Sows 3 years and over >/= 500 lbs. Pig- lets six months >/= 200 pounds. These figures are based on animals in fair condition. Objections: Too small. Not thrifty. Action & Style: Animated and vigorous with free easy movement Objections: Dull/stupid. Wobbling, stiff or awkward. Condition: Healthy. No signs of mange, scurf, lice, sores, scale. Well fleshed with good muscle tone. Tissue free from lumps and bumps. Objections: Unhealthy, thin. Showing signs of disease or parasites. Hair dull, harsh. Testicles: Easily seen and of each the same size and carriage, neither too large nor too small. Scrotum well attached. Objections: Only one testicle showing. Uneven carriage. Poorly attached "flabby" scrotum. Teats: Minimum of 12 teats for sow and 14 for boar. Evenly spaced front to back and evenly paired down the line. No blind teats on sows. No inverted teats on sows or boars. Objections: Blind teats on sows. Less than optimal number of teats. Inverted teats. Missing teats or an odd number of teats. Disposition: Calm, quiet and gentle, easily handled and driven Objections: Wild, vicious or stubborn Other notes: Boars should be active breeders. Sows should successfully raise litters that average piglets.