U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Published in Preventive Veterinary Medicine 98:243-249. 


Feral swine (Sus scrofa) pose a significant disease threat to livestock and humans. Emerging technologies to reduce feral swine disease transmission risks include fertility control, vaccination, and toxicants. However, for these technologies to be appropriate for field application, a feral swine-specific oral delivery system is needed. We used two field trials to generate information related to appropriate field application of the Boar-Operated-System (BOSTM), an oral delivery system designed to provide bait access only to feral swine. Our objectives were to determine whether pre-baiting BOSTM units increased bait removal and to evaluate the proportion of feral swine and non-target animals that ingest baits designed to deliver pharmaceuticals through the BOSTM. During both trials we used baits housed within 10 BOSTM units.Wemonitored wildlife visitation, bait removal, and ingestion using motion sensing digital photography and baits containing the bait marker tetracycline hydrochloride (TH). During trial 1 we found three of five pre-baited BOSTM units were used by feral swine only. Additionally, we found the five BOSTM units that were not pre-baited were not used by feral swine or non-target wildlife. During trial 2 we determined bait removal from the BOSTM to be reduced by only 10% for feral swine when activated, whereas bait removal from the BOSTM by all other wildlife was reduced by 100% when activated. We captured 81 feral swine and 23 raccoons and found 90% and 13% to have TH-marked teeth, respectively. With minor modifications, the BOSTM should be considered a valuable tool to be used in feral swine disease management in conjunction with existing technologies.