Dangerous wild animals: species guidance

Individual species guidance on the keeping of dangerous wild animals.

Wild boar

Species name

Family suidae - wild boar

Additional information

If a pig is not a domestic pig, or it is a hybrid between a wild pig and a domestic pig, then it requires a licence.

Wild boar are also subject to pig identification and registration requirements.

Housing overview

Wild boar do not need inside housing, however a covered area for resting, giving birth and rearing young should be provided.

Keeping experience

In order to protect the welfare of these animals, keepers, particularly those wishing to farm wild boar, must be able to demonstrate a good knowledge of these animals. Catching and handling the pigs in particular requires skill and experience, and should not be attempted by persons unfamiliar with the procedure.

There should be a second named person on the licence who is competent to care for the animals should the owner be absent or incapacitated.

Housing recommendations


Wild boar are large, solidly muscled animals which can dig and jump. Outdoor enclosures must be strong enough to resist pigs running at the fence, but elastic enough not to injure them if they collide. 


For outdoor enclosures, walls, solid fencing or fencing with either weld mesh or high tensile wild boar netting is suitable. Fences should be at least 1.8m high, and should be buried 0.5m below ground.

It is recommended that fencing is supplemented by a minimum of one strand of outrigger electrified wire (a suspended strand of electric wire inside the un-electrified fencing), approximately 0.5m above ground level.

Fences should be checked regularly to ensure that they are kept secure and in good repair. The use of barbed wire is not appropriate except as a single strand at ground level where wild boar digging under fences are a problem.


Recommended stocking density (adult wild boar):

The outdoor stocking rate should not exceed 10 sows (with their litters), and one boar per hectare (total 4.5 animals per acre).

During extreme weather the pigs should be housed, but only as a temporary measure. 

Temperature and shelter

Normal outdoor temperatures should be tolerable for wild boar, however adequate shade and protection should be provided.  

Shelters are useful as a means for temporarily holding the wild boar. For adult animals, space for temporary housing should be 1.5m² per animal, with enough space for the animals to move around freely. Any concrete or synthetic floor surfaces should be non-slip. Bedding such as straw must be provided for warmth, security and to protect the animals’ feet. If the animals are to be housed for longer periods, more space must be provided.


Wild boar require natural daytime lighting. If animals are to be kept indoors, suitable artificial lighting must be provided for at least eight hours, and it must be adequate for the keeper to clean and work in the accommodation.


If the animals are to be kept indoors, fresh air ventilation must be provided to prevent the build-up of noxious gases and to ensure an even temperature throughout.


The drainage of the enclosure must be capable of rapidly removing all excess water. Drains should be designed to avoid injury to the animals, and sited so as not to impede their movement. Any open drains, other than those carrying surface water, should be outside the enclosure.


Outdoor enclosures should be maintained in a clean state, with faeces, food debris and litter being removed regularly. Any faecal material must be disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.  

Indoor enclosures should ideally be built with materials that can be easily cleaned and disinfected.

The enclosure should be checked for foreign bodies on a daily basis and anything which could cause harm should be removed.

Social dynamics and behavioural considerations

Wild boar occur in small social groups in the wild. In captivity, they should be kept in stable social groups, with little or no mixing with other groups of pigs. 

An enclosure with trees and undergrowth will allow the pigs to root for food, express natural behaviour and provide sheltered areas for them to hide.

Protection of young

Fencing should be secure enough that piglets are not able to leave the enclosure and do not become separated from the group.

Prevention of escape

In addition to the fencing requirements, enclosures should be securely locked at all times.

If the enclosure is accessible by the public, for example, adjoining a public highway, steps should be taken to prevent the possibility of the public gaining access to, or being injured by, the wild boar. This may require the erection of a secondary fence (a stand-off barrier), or a solid wall on the accessible sides of the enclosure. Warning signs may also be required.

Food, drink and bedding

Wild boar are omnivores and will eat whatever is provided for them, however they must not be given kitchen scraps or any catering waste.

When wild boar are kept in groups, feed must be located to allow the whole group to feed at the same time.

Fresh drinking water must be provided at all times.

Wild boar require dry absorbent bedding material which is not attractive to eat, or a dry comfortable lying area.  

Visiting interval

The animals must be visited at appropriate intervals, normally at least twice every 24 hours.

Exercise and enrichment

The enclosure should be large enough for the animals to exercise and exhibit natural behaviours. 

Where they have the opportunity, wild boar will root around in the substrate, eat fibrous material, make a nest, and use a separate area to defecate. The provision of straw, or other bedding that allows the animals to do this is recommended.

A pool of water or mud must be provided for wild boar to cool themselves, and to protect their skin.

Provision for capturing the animals

The enclosure must have a facility for catching the animals. This is normally achieved via a race (chute) and capture pen with a non-slip floor and solid sides.  

Vehicles used to transport wild boar must be locked and remain secure while the animals are in transit.  Whilst in transit, wild boar must not be stocked too tightly, with an absolute maximum stocking density of 235kg bodyweight per m². A licence, issued by the local authority, for the keeping of these animals may specify restrictions on the movement of these animals and procedures to be followed.

Emergency planning

There should be a written contingency plan in place to be used in the event of an emergency, for example fire, flood, animal escape or injury to the keeper.

Notification requirements

The licence may also specify procedures to be followed in the event of an escape and on the provision of information to the emergency services.

You are required to notify the local authority of any intentions to breed the animals.

Prevention and control of spread of infectious disease

Provision should be made to allow separation of sick or injured wild boar from the group. This may be achieved using a holding pen, or fencing off an area of the paddock.  

The keeper should provide details of their veterinary arrangements with a practice prepared to treat wild boar. A schedule of veterinary care, including routine parasite control, is necessary and the keeping of records of veterinary attention is essential.  

Arrangements should be in place for the emergency humane euthanasia and disposal of wild boar.  Keepers intending to farm wild boar for meat must demonstrate that a provision for the humane slaughter of the animals has been made.

There are no transmissible diseases carried by these animals that pose a risk to the general public as long as there is no direct contact, and visitors are not allowed to handle the animals or their by-products.





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