Wild boar are bred in farms worldwide for their meat, which is marketed as a lean, nutritious and tasty product. Financial returns come from the sale of the meat or breeding stock.
The terms ‘pure-bred’ and ‘hybrid’ are used to describe the purity of wild boar used in wild boar farming. Pure-bred wild boars are considered to be wild boar with no domestic pig genes in their bloodline. Pure-breds are the more desirable animal having superior flavoured meat. Hybrid animals result from a wild boar x domestic pig cross. The appearance of hybrid animals varies considerably according to how much domestic pig blood is in the hybrid. Hybrid meat has a less gamey flavour and is a paler colour, resembling pork rather than the venison-red colour of pure wild boar meat. The greater the amount of wild boar blood in a hybrid animal, the more the appearance and breeding behaviour resembles a wild boar. A hybrid animal containing only a small percentage of domestic blood can be indistinguishable from a pure wild boar. Hybrid piglets may or may not have the characteristic brown and yellow longitudinal stripes.
*For information on determining if farmed animals are from pure-bred stock visit are the boar pure?
To make a wild boar farming enterprise profitable, the following marketing considerations must be considered.
• Who are your customers?
• What product(s) will you sell?
• Where will you sell your product(s)?
• When will you sell your product(s)?
• How much will be sold each year?
• What pricing strategy you will use?
• What promotion techniques will be used?
• What are the costs of marketing, processing and packaging your products?
Wild Boar Behaviour in Captivity
In free-ranged farming environments wild boar behaviour mirrors the behaviour in the wild. Wild boar form matriarchal groups known as 'sounders'. Breeding groups comprise between 5 and 20 sows and one mature male. Adding new sows to a breeding group is not good practice as they may fight. A new group should be established where possible.
Wild boar tend to breed in the spring. Sows have their first litter when one year old. The gestation period is three months, three weeks and three days (110-115 days). Weaning occurs at eight to 12 weeks (56- 84 days). Litter size averages three to four piglets for their first litter increasing to up to 10 in older sows.
There are two main farming methods currently used to raise wild boar; Extensive (free-ranged) production systems and Intensive (‘known as ‘brown-dirt’ farming’) production systems.
Extensive (free-ranged) production systems are preferred because the wild boar are kept under conditions which simulate their natural environment (abundant trees and good ground cover). This is better for animal welfare reasons and also foroptimum tasting meat.
The resources required for a wild boar enterprise include capital assets such as land, fencing, handling facilities, equipment and breeding stock.
Wild boar can be raised on marginal land as long as there is a source of good water and adequate feed. However, they can be destructive to ground cover. Good fencing is very important to prevent the adult boar from digging under the fences and to confine small piglets, so a small mesh fence or solid fence is needed for these animals. The fences will also protect the wild boar, especially young piglets, from predators such as foxes.
Cash costs include feed and water, wages and benefits, salt and minerals, bedding, veterinary fees and supplies, equipment repair and maintenance, gas, fuel and oil, utilities, insurance, marketing and transportation, slaughtering/processing and interest on operating expenses.
Sow and piglet (© Britishwildboar.org.uk 2000)
Don't forget - Grants to plant new woodlands and to maintain existing woodlands are available. It is definately worth looking at The Rural Enterprise Scheme and also check out A guide to Woodland Grant Scheme.
** Wild boar are covered by the 'Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) Order 1984' and a license is required to keep the animals. This also applies to domestic pig x wild boar hybrids providing one of the parents is a wild boar. Licensing laws may change in the future, a DEFRA commissioned report on the effectiveness of the Act recommended farmed wild boar to be removed from the Act. The report can be viewed as a .pdf file Page 89 shows the recommendations.
** Recipes **
Looking for inspiration in the kitchen? Try a wild boar curry or roast boar with juniper berries, or choose another mouth-watering dish from these recipe links
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