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 of which ours are predominantly the largest subspecies ‘attila’ found in Romania and Hungary, Northern Iran, the Ukraine and the Balkans.
Our boar are very social animals, living in a ‘sounder’ (family group) with a strong matriarchal structure. They are not naturally aggressive 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.
The New England Boar Company is licensed under The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 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.
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 8 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 salami and it’s always a real wrench to part with something you have built a relationship with over the previous 18 months. Due to the unpredictable, nervous and potentially dangerous characteristics of the wild boar, most conventional abattoirs do not accept wild boar alive. For this reason, The New England Boar Company is approved by the Food Standards Agency for the on-farm slaughter of the wild boar. Whilst it is not the most pleasant of tasks for us, we are in fact pleased that our boar don’t have to endure the transportation and the slaughterhouse- a process which would stress them greatly because of their nervous nature. So in fact, it works much better for them and that is tremendously important to us as farmers. Full-circle is completed and it starts and ends with us, just as it should, guaranteeing the highest quality, stress-free meat. However, in accordance with the law, the carcasses are transported to a slaughterhouse where they are put through the various standard processes to ensure they are safe to enter the human food chain.