The Red Wattle is a large, red pig with a fleshy wattle attached to each side of its neck. The characteristic wattles have no known function.
Their coat can come in many shades of red, with some individuals almost black in colour. They have a slim nose, a slightly arched back and upright ears with drooping tips.
Red Wattle pigs are known for their hardiness, rapid growth rate and inquisitive foraging activity. Mature pigs weigh between 270kg and 360kg but can reach as much as 500kg.
The breed can adapt to a wide range of environments; however, they are most suited outdoors in an extensive management system. Their gentle nature makes them ideal for the small-scale, back-garden producer.
Red Wattle sows are excellent mothers, with a litter size of 10-15 piglets. They produce plenty of milk for their large litters to thrive.
According to the Livestock Conservancy, the Red Wattle was derived from the large, red, wattled pigs found in the wooded regions of eastern Texas in the early 1970s.
Found by H.C. Wengler, he reported breeding two of these red wattled sows with a Duroc boar. He then bred the wattled offspring back to the original sow, developing what became known as the ‘Wengler Red Waddle Hog’.
Another herd of red wattled pigs was located in the 1980s. This line was combined with the Wengler Red Waddles, creating the Endow Farm Wattle Hogs.
Sadly, the Red Wattle pig is now very rare, with only a few hundred estimated to be left in the population. The Livestock Conservancy has categorised the breed as ‘threatened’.
However, efforts are ongoing to locate other breeders who may have Red Wattle pigs so that all eligible animals can participate in the breed’s recovery.
• Average adult weight: Male: 340kg and female: 250kg;
• Colour: Red to almost black;
• Use: Lean meat;
• Temperament: Docile;
• Country of origin: USA;
• Conservation status: Threatened.
More information about the breed can be found on The Livestock Conservancy website.