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Of all the things that are going to affect the outcome of your decision to have a pig, environment is the single most important. Take the time to understand what is needed and place him in a suitable environment, provide proper nutrition, companionship and respect him for the intelligent, self aware being that he is, and you will have a friend for life.

 

Pigs are outdoor animals. While inside time is fine in moderation, it is not his natural setting and will not make for a happy pig in the long term.  Start out with a well-planned outdoor area and invite him in for visits. He will be happier and healthier and both you and the pig will have a better, more natural life style.  Pigs have to graze to keep their immune function working properly. Grazing and the daily exercise of outdoor life is essential for a healthy pig.

Careful attention to his environment is the key to your long term relationship.

Environment encompasses far more than just his yard and sleeping area. Just as human children outgrow the confines of the nursery and are ready by 4 or 5 to begin interacting with a larger, more varied world, so too does the pig mature and have the same need to grow. He needs intellectual stimulation to mature into the adult of his species that he is designed to be. He needs emotional fulfillment through lifetime bonds with others of his own kind, especially his family.  He needs the opportunity to develop his own society and the rules of behavior that are satisfying to his innate gene-defined psyche. It is very difficult to provide him with these things in the back yard allocated to him.

 If you are going to keep a pig, look to his needs, look to what nature had planned for his life and see what you can do to provide for some of those needs. You cannot return him to the life he was designed to live, he must live his life in a world of restrictions, under the control of another species, but you can do a great deal to make that life richer by providing for the needs he has in whatever manner you are able.  Providing plenty of territory, the companionship of another pig or pigs and privacy in his daily life will keep him fit in both physical and psychological terms.  While not many homes can provide the size territory he needs, (acres) and cannot give him the full range of social life through a herd of pigs that includes his siblings and mate and children, most people can develop a "pig friendly" environment by fencing all the available space for his rambling, adding "pushable" items like chunks of logs, a sandbox for soaking up the sun, a "hide out" of dense shrubbery, a small mud hole for wallowing , a warm dry house outside and allowing the pig to have that private area without interference. If you have dogs who bark and run around and want to play, put them in a fenced dog pen and keep them away from the pig. As he matures into an adult at 4 to 5 years of age he will have less and less patience with the "puppyness" of our canine friends. Cats will appeal to him as they are quiet and make good sleeping companions.

If you are already living with an aggressive pig, fix the environment and solve the problem . We will be glad to  help in any way we can with solving your pig problems. For the pig the options are few, and you control them all. Either fix his environment or he will end up like so many others being put down or abandoned. For a problem that wasn't of his making, those are terrible penalties to pay. And its a shameful failure on our parts as guardians, to make a pigs life so intolerable that he dies from depression, obesity or being destroyed by the very person who made him that way.

Read more on the natural behaviors that he will grow into to understand them and provide the environment he needs. MORE: Behavior    

Have a Backyard Pig? A 50'x100' yard with plenty of shade and edible grasses (dandelions are a favorite food if your yard has some) is a minimum for long term care. No herbicides or pesticides allowed where pigs nibble the vegetation as these can cause cancer, liver/kidney failure and immune system dysfunction. Pigs love exploring, so if in addition to his yard you have another area, perhaps the front yard, where he can explore and sample new things occasionally, all the better. This can be a supervised outing time, a walk in the woods, a visit to the neighbors, etc. Just a break from his normal routine. Coming inside can accomplish the same thing.

      Environment Topics

Climate

Housing

Grazing/foraging, pastures, woods and yards

Fencing

Water; pools, mudholes,ponds