Pigs are one of the greatest animals that you can have in your farm.
Not only do they help by eating all of your leftover food, but they also do a lot for your garden.
Some of the tips for raising backyard pigs include getting the appropriate fencing, having other animals to keep your pig company, setting up a suitable shelter for the pig, providing enough food for your pig, providing adequate drinking water, providing shade for the hot weather and a dry place for the wet weather, providing water so your pig can have a mud bath, providing adequate bedding, do not chase them if they get out, and giving your pigs something to do.
Read on to find out why you need to be careful with how you treat your pig
Get appropriate fencing
I’ve covered this pretty extensively in this post.
In summary, pigs are very adventurous and they are going to try to get out of any area you decide to keep them in.
You really need to make sure to have a tight fence that is buried in the ground to keep your pig from getting out.
Otherwise, your pig and going to wander all around the neighborhood and you might have to go looking for them.
Have other animals to keep the pig company
Pigs are very social animals.
They like to have other pigs around, or even other animals for that matter.
In our pig area, we have chickens and sheep, as well as the piglets our mother pig just had.
The piglets love to play together and the mother pig likes to push around the chickens with her nose.
The chickens will also pigs bug and other things off of the pig and she seems to like it.
Some people will suggest that you don’t keep other animals with your pigs, as some pigs can have a bad reaction to other animals.
But this probably depends on how the pig was brought up.
In the case of our pig, she was used to being around other animals like sheep and chickens, so our sheep and chickens don’t cause a problem for her.
Set up suitable shelter
Just like how you wouldn’t want to be outside in the sun all day, the same thing is true for pigs.
If they are out in the sun all day long, they are going to sun burn and be uncomfortable.
They are also going to want to have a place to get out of the ran and cold during the winter seasons.
So you need to provide them a shelter to stay in.
It is pretty standard when you have a pig to have a three sided structure that has a roof over the top.
This way, the pig can get out of the sun if need be.
It can also get out of the wind and rain during those types of seasons as well.
Otherwise, your pig is going to try to find a place where they can get an adequate shelter.
In our case, our pig got into our neighbors horse area because there were trees she could hide under.
Provide enough food
Pigs can be big eaters, so pay attention to how much you are feeding them.
According to SwineWeb.com:
Pigs on a good-quality diet require about 2.5 to 3 pounds of feed for each pound of gain. Their average gain should be from 1.5 to 2 pounds per day during the whole feeding period.https://www.swineweb.com/care-and-management-of-new-feeder-pigs/
So how much you feed your pig depends on how much you want your pig to grow.
If you are wanting your pig to grow the 2.5 to 3 pounds listed above, you should probably be feeding them somewhere between 6 to 9 pounds of feed (this will probably be a little bit lower if you have a potbelly pig).
You can supplement this by giving them some of the food from around your house, either the leftovers from meals or food that is going bad in your refrigerator (you really shouldn’t be feeding them food that has been bad for a few weeks, but maybe those that are a few days passed their expiration date).
Avoid feeding them leftovers that are high in sugar content.
Also, keep in mind that if you aren’t feeding your pigs enough, they might try to escape to find other sources of food around the area.
So if you are finding your pig regularly escaping (even though you have them pretty well fenced in), you may not be feeding them enough.
Provide drinking water
According to ThePetSite.com:
Daily drinking water needs for pigs range from less than 0.5 gal/ pig/day for newly weaned pigs to greater than 1.5 gal/pig/day for grow-finish pigs using nipple drinkers in warm conditions. Grow-finish pigs using bowl/cup drinkers or wet/dry feeders use less water, generally averaging just over 1.0 gal/pig/day.https://www.thepigsite.com/articles/patterns-of-drinking-water-use
Make sure you have an adequate water feeder for your pig since you are going to be providing upwards of 2 gallons each day to them.
Just like with the food, if the pigs are not getting enough, they will do what they can to get out and look for more water.
And if you have other animals in your pig area, keep in mind that the pig will probably bully their way to the water, as I’ve seen my pig do on numerous occassions.
So not only make sure you have a good water feeder for your pig, but that you have good water feeders for your other animals as well.
Just like we mentioned before, its not good for pigs to be out in the sun.
And if they aren’t provided with enough shade in the area where they are kept, they are more likely to get out to find shade.
Even so, they might find what they consider better shade out somewhere else.
So to avoid your pigs getting enough, provide them adequate shade so they can stay out of the sun.
This could include trees, which depending on the type of tree could give your pig lots of shade.
We have some nut trees planted in our animal area, which haven’t grown to adulthood yet, but once they are adults, it should be plenty of shade for our pig.
But she likes to get out into our neighbors horse area because there are a lot of trees and bushes for her to hide in and find shade.
Additional ideas for shade could be a small little shack with a roof over the top or a sheep shed that they can stay in.
Provide water for mud bath
Another way for a pig to stay cool is for them to cover themselves up in mud.
Just like how we cover ourselves up in sunscreen, the mud acts like a sunscreen for the pig.
It also cools them down in the moment that they get into the mud.
So make sure to provide them some way that they can get mud.
This could be by giving them a water feeding that they can flip the water out of.
Our pig uses this method pretty regularly, where it is almost laughable how quickly she pours out the water container as soon as you fill it out.
You could also have a slow trickle of water in one area that gives the pigs a place to make their own mud, much like you would if you had a duck.
Just like how you like to have something nice to lay on, a pig likes to have something to lay on as well.
This might include pine bedding or hay.
When we feed our sheep, usually the leftover hay falls onto the ground and the sheep forget about it.
The pig takes advantage of this, as she will lay down in the hay that just fell onto the ground.
I’m sure this is nice and cool for her as well, since the hay is kept in the shade out of the sun.
Don’t chase your pigs
Pigs do not like to be caught.
And they especially do not like being chased after.
So if your pigs get out, do not chase after them.
When we first got out pig, she got out a few times, as I’ve talked about above.
And the first few times she got out, usually my kids and I would chase her all around the horse area next to us until we were exhausted.
We were finally able to catch her with a net or because we cornered her in a horse barn.
Carrying her back was not fun because she weight somewhere between 100-150lbs.
By the time I got her back home, my arms were so tired that I needed to not move them for a few minutes.
After those first few times, you could imagine that I no longer wanted to chase after the pig.
So instead of chasing her, we would slowly walk around to the other side of her and slowly walk behind her, kind of forcing her back towards the animal area.
You can do this, which works very well, or you can coerce the pig back with some food.
You see, pigs don’t really want to go away from the area where their food and water is.
They are just curious animals.
But if you grab a handful of their food or they see you setting out their food in their usual spot, they will come running back without much effort on your part.
The last time the pigs got out, we though we had the area pretty covered.
But the way they got out made it pretty hard for them to get back in.
Once the mother pig saw the food, though, she came right back with little effort.
Give your pigs something to do
Nothing keeps your pigs around like keeping them busy.
You could give them a whole bale of hay and they are going to move it all around just the way they like it.
Another option is pine bedding, and they will be just fine moving that around.
We have lumber all throughout our animal area and I am regularly finding the pig moving around the wood to other areas.
The good thing about all of this is if you are keeping your pigs busy in their area, then they are less likely to get out.
Pigs can be great to have, especially if you are prepared by reading the above ideas.
Make sure you feed them plenty and that they have plenty of water and shade.
Also make sure that you do enough to keep the pigs in the area you want, otherwise you might have to look up and down the street to find them.