Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Boar taint?  (Read 2678 times)


  • Joined Apr 2011
  • Anglesey
Boar taint?
« on: May 09, 2011, 12:37:23 pm »
Can you explain to a newbie, what exactly is it?

I know I should be ok, having two males, but often hear about it.


  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: Boar taint?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2011, 01:52:47 pm »
I only ever bought in weaners and got them up to suitable slaughter weights, but I always had 2 or 4 boars, and never had any problems with boar taint.  Or any behavioural problems either, and I have kept quite a few different breeds, though mostly the traditional ones

I presume boar taint, means an unacceptable level of male "pigginess" which becomes apparent in the flavour of the meat.  As in if you slaughter a ram during the breeding season, when they are smelling exceptionally "rammy"  Can't explain better, but you probably know what I mean.  Think of a men's gym  ::)  Or adolecent boy's synthentic shoes - get the "nasal" picture .... :o

All the best
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 01:59:03 pm by darkbrowneggs »
To follow my travel journal see

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see


  • Joined Apr 2011
  • Anglesey
Re: Boar taint?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2011, 02:42:49 pm »
Thanks Sue for a wonderful explanation ;D ;)


  • Joined Nov 2009
  • East Sussex
    • OaklandsPigs
Re: Boar taint?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2011, 03:25:04 pm »
Boar Taint is an unpleasant smell that can be released during cooking pork from boars.  Research has shown that 1 in 2 women but only 1 in 7 men can detect this. The occurrence of boar taint is higher in hybrids used commercially than in purebreds, and research shows that housing conditions and diet both affect taint. In commercial herds the rate is low - about 1 in 12.  

For those of us breeding the traditional breeds, boar taint is unlikely to be a problem - we usually fatten outdoors where pigs get a varied diet from soil and vegetation, they are from non-hybrid pigs, and we take them off before sexual maturity. Therefore the risk of boar taint is very low.However this subject is regularly raised, and Mr. Pig who posts on this forum has seen it in his herd.

Boar Taint is mainly caused by androstenone, a steroid produced by the males that are sexually active, and by skatole, a by-product of bacterial activity in the gut. As male pigs reach sexual maturity the amount of androstenone increases, and sexual steroids produced by the male also inhibit breakdown of Skatole.  Both can then be deposited in the fat of the pig, and it is possible for this to cause boar taint.

The meat of sexually mature boars is more at risk, but as most male pigs are taken off to pork or bacon before the pig reaches full sexual maturity, it is highly unlikely to be a problem.  Fully mature (retired) boars are culled and their meat generally goes abroad to be made into Belgium Pate or Italian Salami.

No research on smallholding pigs has been done to our knowledge, but at Oaklands Pigs we generally fatten male pigs (entire boars will grow about 20% faster than gilts) and in many years of selling weaners we know of none of our customers who have come across this problem.  Indeed we have on several occasions used 10-12 month old boars to get first time gilts pregnant and then taken the boar off for meat without any issues.

So personally given a choice we would take boars for fattening, and many families want boars, as they would be too tempted to keep a gilt for maybe breeding later on, but know boars will have to go for the chop !
"Perfect Pigs" the complete guide to keeping pigs; One Day Pig Courses in South East;
Weaners for sale - Visit our site for details


  • Joined Apr 2011
  • Anglesey
Re: Boar taint?
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2011, 09:04:06 pm »
Thanks Oaklands, very informative ;)


Boar Taint

Started by lunanlife (13.34)

Replies: 6
Views: 3414
Last post January 28, 2010, 05:19:10 pm
by Hilarysmum
Boar taint

Started by Frieslandfilly (13.34)

Replies: 9
Views: 4873
Last post March 25, 2010, 08:48:05 am
by Hilarysmum
Boar taint

Started by waterboy (13.34)

Replies: 7
Views: 3108
Last post January 18, 2011, 05:05:36 pm
by robert waddell

Started by TESS1963 (13.34)

Replies: 10
Views: 5967
Last post April 14, 2011, 05:51:00 pm
by Eve
Boar Taint and age.

Started by Mel (13.34)

Replies: 12
Views: 8614
Last post August 18, 2011, 03:05:05 pm
by Pebbles

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2023. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS