|Boar-ding house: Wild boars bring many farmers across the country stable incomes. — VNA/VNS Photos Minh Phuong
by Minh Phuong
After serving in the army for years, Tran Phuc Dat returned in 1988 and joined the Youth Union in Tan Thanh Commune, Yen Thanh District, Nghe An Province.
Although he was elected chairman of the Tan Thanh Commune People's Committee and won the trust of local residents as well as colleagues, Dat sought the permission to retire in 2010.
"My family has a trade that was handed down from generation to generation: creating prescriptions using herbal remedies. At that time, my father, a herbalist, was weak and I felt I should retire to succeed him," Dat said.
Making prescriptions with herbal remedies, Dat's family has earned the trust of many generations in Nghe An Province.
However, Dat's family had to work in rice fields for additional income.
Once Dat happened to watch a TV programme on raising wild boars and an idea flashed through his mind: to raise wild boars, as they had become sought-after and promised high profits.
Dat bought a couple of breeding wild pigs in Quynh Luu District for VND6 million (US$280) and started raising them.
However, after 8 months, both fo them died of blue-ear disease.
Not one to be discouraged, Dat started reading more about domesticating wild animals, and bought two pairs of wild pigs to raise.
His plan worked this time: after one year, the two couples reproduced.
Dat gradually set up a farm, which is more than 1 ha and has nearly 100 wild pigs.
Dat said it was easy to raise wild pigs but difficult to create a trademark for safe meat that ensures food safety and hygiene, and was sought after by customers at the same time.
Domesticating wild animals, breeders cannot follow the same method they do for raising normal pigs, Dat has noted.
Their cages should be simple but proper to accommodate their habits. Wild boars should be classified on the basis of their age. Every day, breeders must clean cages, remove any leftover food, and wash troughs. Another most important point is that fences around farms must be strong.
|Picture of health: Tran Phuc Dat spends time with his wild boars.
Cages should be close to a source of clean water so that pigs can get enough water and humidity.
"Raising pigs on 1 ha of wood is like letting them live in a wild environment, but I have trained them to eat and sunbathe, which is important. It helps the pigs to develop naturally and produce safe, delicious meat," Dat said.
To show how well they are trained, Dat made a howling sound and all his pigs ran to their cages.
One more unique method that Dat follows is that he gives his pigs some kinds of medicinal herbs for food.
"It helps improve their resistance to diseases," Dat revealed.
Wild boars are sometime hit by diarrhoea, foot-hand-mouth disease, and scabies.
"I found that after taking herbal remedies for a while, the pigs become stronger and give good meat," Dat said.
He added that breeders should not give wild pigs too much nutritional animal feed, because it can affect their meat quality and cause diarrhoea as well.
Thanks to his unique way of breeding, Dat attracted many regular customers who buy his products, bringing him an income of hundreds of millions of dong per year.
Dat also supplies pork and breeds pigs for restaurants and farms in Yen Thanh, as well as many other districts in Nghe An Province.
Dat said that sometimes his farm produced not enough to meet the demand for their meat.
Dat now plans to raise some goats.
He is willing to give training on technical breeding to anyone interested in the business in the province.
Nguyen Quang Vinh, deputy chairman of the Tan Thanh Commune People's Committee, noted that Dat's farm had been working effectively.
The commune decided to organise training courses so that local residents could learn from Dat's model, he added. — VNS