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. 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.
Meat quality was top on our list for what we wanted in a hog. The Red Wattle is fast gaining a reputation with top chefs and food critics for its tasty, top quality meat. Red Wattle hogs have great marbling and outstanding flavor. Red Wattle hogs are listed with Slow Foods USA on their "Ark of Taste" list, which details both plants and animals that have exceptional eating qualities not found in much/most of today's commercially available foods. We've personally taste tested Red Wattle pork against a more typical commercial crossbred hog that we raised here on the farm for meat. The two animals were raised side by side, eating the same things, living the same healthy lifestyle. They were even butchered and processed the exact same way. Without a doubt the crossbred hog was much better then store bought pork. But even better then the home raised crossbred was the home raised Red Wattle. Cooked the same way while I was out of the house (feeding animals), I can pick out the Red Wattle each and every time. It is that good!!
In addition to exceptional eating qualities, we wanted a hog that fit into our lifestyle and was easy to work around. The Red Wattles have proven to be a gentle breed of hog that is people friendly and easy to handle. We pasture raise all of our animals and they are rarely confined, and so our hogs had to be good foragers with hardy constitutions. Red Wattles fit the bill! Additionally our hogs had to be good mothers, able to birth and care of their young without a bunch of coddling and worry. Our sows have proven to be careful, attentive mothers that rarely need interventions when birthing or caring for their young.