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 1700s. 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.