Mulefoot Hogs

American Mulefoot Hogs

The American Mulefoot Hog is classified as “Critical” by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy on its Conservation Priority List and is the rarest American pig breed. In 2006, there were fewer than 200 purebred hogs documented. Most of these originated from the R.M. Holliday herd of Missouri, which is believed to be the last purebred herd in existence. Today, due to conservation efforts, this number has risen to over 600, all with pedigrees tracing back to the Holliday herd. Deerfield Ranch is among a select group of breeders working to preserve this rare and special breed. We pride ourselves on being one of the few integrated breeders of American Mulefoot hogs. Currently, Deerfield Ranch manages three separate herds of Mulefoot, providing breeders and feeders to those interested in the preservation of this rare breed.

All of our pigs are registered with:
The American Mulefoot Hog Association & National Registry
http://mulefootpigs.tripod.com/

 
Mulefoot Description:

The American Mulefoot Hog, sometimes referred to as an “Ozark Pig”, is solid black with occasional white points on its nose and feet. Its most distinctive feature, however, is its solid hoof, which resembles that of a mule or horse. This physical characteristic, called syndactylism, separates Mulefoot Hogs from most other pigs as the Mulefoot is the only syndactyl porcine breed with a documented history and breed standards. Other physical characteristics of the American Mulefoot include pricked forward flop ears and soft hair coats.

 

As for temperament, Mulefoot are docile and friendly – always loving a good belly rub or game of ball! They are also very intelligent. The breed thrives under extensive husbandry, exhibiting a high level of parasite resistance. Sows make excellent, calm mothers. Generally, they have litters of 5-6 piglets but can have as many as 12. Farrowing seems almost effortless to Mulefoot mothers and the piglets are very hardy, beginning to nurse within minutes of birth with no assistance. Piglets begin venturing out of the nest and exploring their pen within a couple of days of birth and quickly develop individual personalities. Mulefoot are efficient foragers, requiring little grain supplementation, and can reach 400-600 pounds by the age of two.

 

Overall, the American Mulefoot Hog is very easy to raise and manage. When you combine this with its paramount meat quality (see Mulefoot Meat), it is a great choice for anyone looking to raise swine.


A Brief History of the American Mulefoot Hog:

Although the origin of the American Mulefoot breed is not well documented, it is thought to have descended from hogs brought to Florida and the Gulf Coast in the 1500’s by the Spanish. F.D. Coburn, in his classic 1916 book Swine in America, noted that the Mulefoot hog was found in Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, across the southwest, and in some parts of Mexico. Coburn’s early 1900 description of the Mulefoot is consistent with the current traits and characteristics of today’s Mulefoot, demonstrating the care that has been taken in maintaining the authenticity of this Heritage Breed.

The Mulefoot flourished through the first half of the 20th Century as a premium ham hog; however, with the rise of commercial hog production aimed at producing leaner pork, the Mulefoot populations dwindled. Thanks to R.M. Holiday, the demise in population did not mark the end to this species. As a boy, he had helped his family raise Mulefoot hogs by putting them on islands in the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers to forage during the summer and then, rounding them up for slaughter in the fall. In 1964, with Mulefoot populations nearing extinction, Mr. Holiday gathered together stock from all the known breeders and established his own herd of the Mulefoot hogs that he fondly remembered from boyhood. He worked diligently to preserve the integrity of the breed through strong and consistent production selection practices. All Mulefoot hogs registered today are descendants of the stock that Mr. Holiday gathered and maintained.

Although there were three national Mulefoot Hog Registries set up in the early 1900s, herd records were lost. The only registry information for the Mulefoot that exists comes from the current America Mulefoot Hog Association (AMHA). http://mulefootpigs.tripod.com/