Wild Boar

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Boar Running
This guy is a little over one year old and shows the markings of his breed.
Babies feeding1Babies feeding4
These two links show the markings of the young.
Babies Feeding

Origin:

The wild boar, Sus scrofa, is native to Europe, Asia, Northern Africa, Japan, and the Malayan Islands and is the principle ancestor to the domestic pig. They have been introduced into many other areas of the world either by intention or accident. Many have interbred with escaped domestic pigs and have formed hybrid groups. These groups can be found all over the southern U.S. and South America. Most of the Boar have now been removed from Australia where they caused extensive damage to the very sensitive and rare wetlands.

Wild Boar hunting was formerly a popular sport throughout Europe, but is now confined chiefly to central and eastern Europe, the only part of the continent where the animal is still abundant.

Hunting Wild Boar has always been noted as an exciting and dangerous sport, in medieval times this was reserved exclusively for royalty, especially in honor of visiting lords and princes. a special delicacy was a Wild Boar's head soaked in wine and roasted. Today Wild Boar is still considered a prize trophy.

Physical Characteristics:

The maximum weight for a wild hog is about 400 pounds, most male hogs in the wild weigh about 150 pounds. Females weigh slightly less. Hogs are 3 1/2 - 5 feet long and stand 2 - 3 feet at the shoulder. The tail is straight & about 30cm (1 ft.) long, with a tuft at the end. The ears are short and stiff & it has a long pointed snout & curved ivory tusks. The tusks are used for foraging & fighting. Both sexes have 44 teeth including a well developed set of canine teeth. The upper tusks act as whetstones to keep sharp edges on the lower ones. Coat color varies from gray to black, and most piglets have longitudinal stripes until they are about four months old. Hogs have poor eyesight, but a keen sense of smell and hearing.

Wild boar have long snouts and the males have tusks which are used for digging up food such as roots, tubers and insects. The wild boar is an opportunistic and omnivorous feeder in the wild. The length of snout is used by some as a measure of breed purity. The snout should measure 9 inches from the tip of the nose to the inside of the eye.

Wild boar have erect prick ears.

The sows have 8 to 14 teats, averaging twelve.

Maximum life span is about 25 years.

The following are the wild boar characteristics adopted by the Wild Boar Federation of Canada:

General Characteristics: shoulder height at least 60 cm (24 inches) at 2 years; nose length a minimum of 22 cm (9 inches) eye to snout at two years; no pink nose.

Conformation: wedge shaped head; wedge shaped body.

Colour: black, grey and brown in colour, no white or pink spots.

Ears: small, standing upright

Tail: straight, not curled.

Hair: body hair long, minimum 1 - 2 inches; noticeable mane, minimum 3 inches; woolly undercoat.

Progeny: striped.

Life History:

Wild hog piglets weigh about two pounds at birth. After three or four months, the piglets are weaned and independent of the sow. Family groups usually break up once the young reach sexual maturity, which is usually within a year of birth for both males and females. Gestation is approximately 100 - 125 days, and most litters have 3 - 8 piglets. The average hog has a life expectancy of about eight years. Male hogs are mostly solitary, except during the breeding season, while females and piglets gather in groups of two to three animals.

Behavior:

Wild hogs are usually nocturnal, but they will have some daytime activity. Like their domestic relatives, wild hogs will eat almost anything: flowering plants, mushrooms, snails, snakes, small mammals, bird eggs, salamanders, and carrion. But the mast crop is the mainstay of the wild hog diet. Because they have no sweat glands, hogs wallow in wet, muddy areas to keep cool and rid themselves of parasites. Wallowing is detrimental to the soil and plant life in the vicinity.

The hog behavior of rooting while searching for food causes the most damage to the area they inhabit. Many plant species, including ones that are rare or that take several years to flower, are eaten, trampled, or uprooted by the rototiller action of a foraging hog. Native animals are also victim to the wild hog through direct consumption, destruction of habitat, and competition.

Both wallowing and rooting contaminate streams, causing potential problems for the native fish. Hog occupied drainages have been found to have a higher concentration of coliform bacteria than unoccupied drainages. These bacteria contaminate water sources, which is a health consideration in heavily used recreational areas.

These animals can be dangerous if disturbed, especially if they have young around. They are an extremely keen animal that are aggressive & can move very fast.

Management

The Wild Boars on many farms are kept in wooded areas and are raised free-range year round. This way they have access to roots, nuts, insects, forages and natural minerals. They are also fed alfalfa and grain screenings. Straw is provided for bedding. With this high fibre diet the Wild Boar takes twice as long to reach market weight as a domestic pig, but produces an excellent quality carcass of lean red meat. They have no need for medicated feeds, chemicals or growth hormones.

Wild Boar feed naturally on acorns, berries, roots, forage & can be raised outdoors on dry marginal land as long as shelter from wind & rain is provided & a pond is available in summer for a mud bath. In the wild they roam with their litters in groups of females from the same family tree. A hierarchy develops with the oldest sow usually dominate. During the mating season the breeding boar lives with the group & takes over leadership. Sows separate from the group prior to birthing to build a nest from dry grass, tree branches, leaves or straw. They remain with their litter 11 to 14 days aggressively defending their nest & litter.

Nomenclature

Hog - large domestic pig, usually over 120 pounds
Boar - Wild pig - breeders use the term as a sexually mature male
Barrow - a castrated male intended for market
Sow - older female having already given birth
Weaners or Shoats - weaned farm pigs 25 to 40 pounds
Piglets - baby pigs sometimes called boarlets
Gilts - unbred females
Farrow - to give birth
Feral Hogs - wild domestic pigs crossed with Wild Boar
Drift or Sounder - group or family unit (herd)
Honers or Witters - upper canines
Rippers or Tusks - lower canines


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