We are THE NEW ENGLAND BOAR COMPANY.
And we are very proud of what we do.
The story of The New England Boar Company began in November 2015 with Jim Bolton, Vicky Gamble and some hairy, slightly nosey little characters called wild boar. At this point we will explain for those who are not- so- local that New England is in fact a small village on the Essex/Suffolk borders. Jim grew up in the wood which was planted by his grandfather after the Second World War and in 2013 the wood came into Jim’s ownership. Driven by a passion for ethically produced local food, we decided to do something entirely different and after years of planning, research and fencing and two years of discussions with the local authorities, The New England Boar Company was at last up and running.
It certainly hasn’t been without its’ challenges but steeled by a burning desire to bring these amazing creatures and their unique products further into the public realm, we refused to give up. Our aim is to bring our wild boar products to your table in every way we can, with something to suit all tastes. It’s said of all things porcine that you can use “everything but the squeal” and that is exactly what our goal is.
One of the things we are most proud of, aside from our exceptional husbandry and respectful relationship with our beasts, is the traceability of our product and the privilege of being able to cherry-pick the highest quality animals at exactly the right time, therefore delivering fine quality every single time. Please feel free to ask us any questions about the traceability and quality of our products – we are happy to help!
In early 2016, we formed a strong working alliance with Marsh Pig, an award- winning British charcuterie company based in Norfolk. Our boar deserve the best so we found them the best British charcuterie producer.
September 2018 has seen us add the first in a long line of planned new products – wild boar sausage rolls – handmade by us and now available cooked or frozen-ready-to-cook at events and markets throughout East Anglia. Keep your eyes peeled as there’s much more coming your way!
(Photo on left courtesy of firstname.lastname@example.org)
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The Wild Boar (Sus scrofa).
Our boar originate from both Central and Eastern Europe. They are 100% pure-bred and display all the typical signs of pure bloodlines such as long, straight noses, high shoulders sloping to angular hindquarters and straight tails with a tassle on the end, unlike specimens cross-bred with domestic pigs (to improve temperament and meat yield) which may show a curly tail, dished snout and coat blemishes. There are many different subspecies of wild boar, with the majority of our sounder being of the subspecies “Attila” – the largest of all wild boar. Sus scrofa Attila are naturally found in the Carpathian Mountains, Romania, Hungary, the Ukraine and the Balkans.
There are indeed ‘wild’ wild boar present in the UK in small pockets around the country but these should not be confused with the feral pig which is also prolific in some areas of the UK and cannot be lawfully presented as wild boar. A ‘feral pig’ is a pig which lives in the wild, closely resembles a wild boar but is descended from domesticated stock -either Old World or New World species.
Our boar are very social animals, living in a ‘sounder’ (family group) with a strong matriarchal structure. They are not naturally aggressive towards humans and tend to display their less desirable behaviours only when they or their young are threatened and because their behaviour is seldom understood, wild boar often fall victim to negative human interactions and bad press. Their fearsome reputation has earned them a place on the Dangerous Wild Animals list, requiring keepers to hold a license which we have gone to great lengths to obtain.
The New England Boar Company endeavours to recreate the most natural environment possible and our wild boar are always free to forage and act out their natural behaviours among the seasonally bountiful woodland comprising of beech, pine, oak, sycamore, sweet chestnut and apple trees. In the wild, they are found on the woodland margins, enjoying all that the open spaces have to offer such as grasslands but within easy reach of the shelter of the woodland where they retire for safety and rest.
The New England Boar Company is licensed under The Dangerous Wild Animals 1976 to farm wild boar. The licensing procedure involves adhering to a rigorous set of rules regarding the safekeeping of a Dangerous Wild Animal. Potential licensed premises should be fenced with a large perimeter fence of specified height and construction, along with a robust internal electrical fencing system. The farm and it’s structure are then inspected by the local council and an appointed veterinary surgeon for safety and suitability. The license is granted based on the criteria in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 being fully satisfied. The process can be somewhat challenging and anyone wishing to seek advice on such matters should feel free to call us using the contact details on this website.
Wild boar are very slow to mature to slaughter-weight compared to their domesticated relatives. The average domestic pig will be ready to be kill between 4 and 6 months. Wild boar usually take around 18 months to reach slaughter-weight, which of course means there are considerable additional costs to keeping the wild boar. The boar cannot simply be fed more to boost their size or speed of production because they have a very different metabolism to domestic pigs who have been specifically bred for their high-speed finishing times.
Wild boar generally have smaller litters of “squeakers” than the domestic pig, especially younger sows. An average wild boar litter may only consist of 4 or 5 squeakers as opposed to a domestic pig which may have 10 or more piglets. This means that producing wild boar in larger quantities presents its’ challenges, especially for small-scale farmers such as ourselves.
We always allow our wild boar to roam freely in large woodland paddocks within a large perimeter fence. The paddocks are rotated and rested to allow for regeneration of the vegetation and the soil. The wild boar never enter a building unless they choose to use their purpose-built arks to shelter from the worst of the elements and we maintain low stocking densities to promote natural behaviours and contentment. We interact with the wild boar daily to inspect them for health and wellbeing as well as to satiate their appetite for a good fuss!
Sadly, there comes a time when our little darlings must become products and it’s always a real wrench to part with something you have built a relationship with over the previous 18 months but we are happy in the knowledge that we have given our boar an enriched, safe and healthy life in the time they have been with us and that the quality of their lives will shine through in our products.