Other common names: Mulefoot Hog; American Mulefoot
According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC), "The Mulefoot is an American hog breed that is named for its most distinctive feature, the solid, non-cloven hoof which looks like the hoof of a mule. This characteristic will occasionally occur as a single gene mutation, producing occasional “mulefooted” pigs within a variety of other breeds. In contrast, the Mulefoot breed is consistent in appearance and behavior, with qualities that have made it valuable in American history and a conservation priority today."
"The origin of the Mulefoot is unclear, and many theories have arisen about its links with mulefooted stocks in Asia and Europe. The breed is more likely to have descended from the Spanish hogs brought to the Americas beginning in the 1500s. It shares some attributes with the Choctaw hog, and the two breeds likely come from the same ancestral stock, which was loosely selected and managed until the late 1800s."
"The Mulefoot breed is critically rare. As of 2006 there are fewer than 200 purebred hogs documented. Most of these originated in the Holliday herd of Missouri, which is believed to be the last purebred herd in existence."
Appearance / health:
Mulefoot hogs are compact in appearance and weigh 400–600 pounds. They are solid black with white points occurring rarely. The ears are pricked forward. Some pigs have wattles on either side of the neck, though this is not common. The breed forages well and thrives under extensive husbandry. They have litters of 5-6 piglets but may have as many as 12. The sows make excellent and calm mothers.
Despite their energy and gregarious nature, pigs are sensitive animals. They are easily stressed by travel, vaccinations, extreme temperatures, and new surroundings. Stress makes them susceptible to ailments like pneumonia and bronchitis (due also to their small lungs relative to their size). They are also susceptible to animal viruses like influenza. Pigs commonly suffer from mad itch (or pseudo rabies), dysentery, and parasites (lice, ticks, and ascarid worms).
Healthy pigs have shiny hair, bright eyes, strong appetites, and high energy. Their normal temperature is 102.5F. Deviations from the normal temperature and other signs of poor health including diarrhea and coughing should promptly be brought to the attention of a veterinarian.
Behavior / temperament:
As omnivores that love to eat, pigs can be fun to watch while they explore their surroundings in search for something to munch on. They use their snouts to smell and unearth a potential meal. They are intelligent and social animals that quickly get used to the presence and affection of humans.
Some pigs are intelligent enough to learn tricks, obey commands, and use a litter box. Because they have no sweat glands, they tend to cool themselves by rolling in water or mud. The mud that dries on their skin serves as a sunscreen and protection from parasites like ticks, lice, and flies.
Housing / diet:
Pigs are active, curious animals that require room to explore, exercise, and just be their natural energetic selves. Sufficient space, relative to their size and weight, is a primary consideration because pigs that are crowded or confined to small spaces become stressed, and healthy growth and development is hindered.
Although constantly roaming and appreciative of open yards and fresh air, pigs also require a shed or housing that will let them sleep on a dry and clean area at night. Ideal ambient temperatures are 60-70F. Warm shelters with wood chip bedding are a must during cold months; water misters are recommended for the hottest months.
Pig housing should also include a feeder and a drinking water dispenser (usually a water barrel). Access to a water source makes it convenient to clean or hose out the pig shelters (and the pigs) as needed. Chain link fencing, shade trees, and a pond are recommended for backyard habitats.
Pig owners are advised to check with local authorities for legislation regarding the ownership and keeping of pigs in their homes and backyards.
As omnivores that eat plants and animals, pigs will consume almost anything that is edible like fruits, roots, flowers, grass, insects, worms, all types of meat, and even leftover scraps from the dinner table.
Unlike ruminant animals (cattle and goats), pigs have a single stomach. For healthy and fast growth, pigs require a high-energy diet composed of grain (corn, oats, wheat, barley), plus protein and vitamin supplements. Most commercially available feed for pigs combine various farm grains and the necessary supplements to ensure rapid and efficient development.
Pigs are best allowed to self-feed or eat as much as they want during the day to enable them to grow as fast as they normally can. Feeding should always include a good supply of clean, fresh drinking water.
deep red color, meat, white meat, pasture, hardy heritage breed, porkchop taste
slow grower, highefficiency production models
huge fat layer, Mulefoot lard, great forages, high burning point
One of a kind
Henry the pig.... I loved that pig. He used to follow us around just like one of our dogs. We lived in the country on an acreage so there was sufficient room to roam.
Also learned one of those difficult lessons as a child. While my siblings and I thought of Henry as our pet, in reality he was always meant to be a part of our food supply. I'll never forget the day that he suddenly disappeared.
Again, pigs have their place, but they are not something I would recommend having as a pet. When they are little, they can be cute, but they grow and grow quickly...and the name pig is quite suitable to their nature in the end..
From Fourseasons2 Sep 7 2014 5:34PM
Mulefoot Hogs are easy, fun and delicious
We started raising Mulefoot pigs to add one more dimension to our farm. We were traditionally fairly intensive grass farmers (cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys) and decided to take on a pig project to help with tillage, understory clearing, pasture management, compost making, fertilizer production and shortening/meat production. These pigs are pretty self sufficient on pasture, in the woods and thrive on dirt -- you need to offer additional feed in the form of grains, non-pork kitchen scraps, fruits in season (they love pomace left over from cider making) and fresh clover or alfalfa. We don't clip teeth, assist with births or shoot iron into newborns. The breed is docile, fun loving, hilarious to be around. The meat is out of this world -- not the "Other White Meat" -- rich, healthful and positively succulent. Lard rendered from the kidney fat is pure white, low melting point, high burning point and delicious -- try frying potatoes in Mulefoot lard or creating pastries with Mulefoot lard and you will never go back. Downside to the breed is that it doesn't do well at all in high-density, high-efficiency production models. Our sows also never managed to pull off a litter with more than 7 babies. Most of our sows are able to keep sufficient track of the little ones to avoid crushing any during the early days after parturition but we loose a few that way. The newborn pigs aren't terribly cold hardy so plan your farrowing accordingly. Without careful management, these hogs will till up your pasture -- they work wonders in late season gardens and if you need to break sod, pen a few Mulefoots in the area and they will leave it grass free and mellow in a few weeks. To make the numbers work, take into account all the ways you use the pigs -- they will convert a 1500 pound bale of old hay into mellow mulch in about a month -- and sell them as meat and/or lard through venues where their gift will be appreciated both monetarily and culinarily.
From Hank Will Nov 10 2010 12:06PM