Mulefoot Hogs In Osage County

| 10/27/2008 1:10:00 PM

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Well, it’s official. It looks like we’re about to become pig ranchers. Kate and I just returned from a fun trip to Southeastern South Dakota to visit friends and pick up some weanling Mulefoot hogs.

Hank Holding a Mulefoot Pig

As a dedicated cattle person, I can’t really explain how it happened, but I think I can blame it on Carol Ekarius and her Illustrated Guide to Sheep, Goats, Cattle and Pigs, which is the book that first introduced me to Mulefoot hogs. How could I resist when the history of these interesting and tasty animals is rooted smack in the center of this country? How could Kate and I resist, when we learned that much of the breed’s history centers on Louisiana, Missouri and includes a North Dakota connection as well. Kate’s ancestors came to Missouri four or five generations ago, and settled in Louisiana, Missouri. My ancestors settled in the northern half of Dakota Territory. It seems like Mulefoot hogs were meant for us.

Four Mulefoot Pigs

The Mulefoot breed is on the ALBC’s critical list, which means that only a very few are registered each year. Thanks to some very dedicated folks, this medium-sized pig no longer stares in the eye of extinction, but it isn’t out of the woods yet. The Mulefoot is one of only a few recognized breeds that has a syndactyl hoof … that’s right, these pigs have fused toes and a hoof reminiscent of a mule’s foot. There’s quite a bit of lore and legend about how they came to be; all accounts point to their hardy adaptability, relative good nature and performance on pasture … or dirt anyway.

We obtained our pigs from Maveric Heritage Ranch near Trent, South Dakota. These folks are responsible for much of the preservation work that has gone into the Mulefoot breed. They are also incredibly forward thinking, gracious and just plain delightful to visit with. As hog people to the end they have put into motion big plans to save the American Guinea, Wessex Saddleback and other historically and genetically important swine. Maveric is also committed to introducing consumers to real pork, produced by real pigs that get to root around on pasture and live full porcine lives. And no folks this pork is most definitely not the “other white meat.”

mariann jones_1
3/13/2009 7:53:58 PM

I look at it like this...would you trade places with your animal,be it a pet or raised for food?I know I would,well fed,well loved a great day every day with the end being a minute of pain if that!hell..sign me up!!I know at my age theyre getting the better deal.I like quality instead of quantity ill take a year of bliss over a lifetime of misery any time.

Sharon Snyder_1
12/25/2008 6:44:34 AM

To vegetarians, How can you attack green farmers who at least take proper care of the animals? Have you ever been to a chicken, hog or cattle factory? to a slaughter yard? Try it sometime and see if it makes you as sick as I. It's like the people who threw blood on a fur coat. But, did they ever throw blood on a biker's coat? No and why not? Because they would be attacked and beat to smithereens. Why don't you attack where you could help, like the animal factory's that poison the animals and us? Afraid? I'm not a farmer just a humanitarian who believes in kindness.

12/24/2008 8:24:58 PM

pigwhisperer Maybe you don't understand the simple fact that everything that is alive has a spirit (a life force) be it animal or vegetable, they are all alive, they all have thoughts, feelings and can die (yes even your beloved veggies). Why do you think plants do so well when you talk to them? Yet you eat them anyway? Why because they do not make a sound that you can hear or understand, so that makes it okay to eat them? Now that is "backward" in my book. What is horrid is not the fact that people eat animals it is the way these animals are treated while they are alive (slaughter houses for one). Instead of bashing meat eaters why don't you go where it will do the animals the most good and bash the people who process these animals for mass market? That is where the misery is. I applaud anyone who truly cares for life (animal and vegetable) and shows love and respect for the all of the life in their care, whether it is for raising a pet or for sustenance. Everything we eat has to have a certain "life force" attached to it or else it isn't going to do any good for our bodies when we do eat it (part of the reason we do not eat rocks). After we eat it, it continues to live on in our cells, no matter what it was when it was "alive". Besides if you truly understood "life" you would well know that nothing ever really dies and you wouldn't insult yourself by trying to press your limited belief structures to everyone you come in contact with... :)

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