August 20, 2015


To keep pigs your fence doesn’t have to be more than three feet high  That is if it is constructed so the pigs can not see the other side at all.  Bored pigs will endlessly test a fence and if there is a weakness they will find it sooner or when they are bigger and stronger.  If possible, bury chicken wire or gravel around the inside perimeter of your pen, as a deterrent for dig outs.  A good trick here is to put your dog in the pen to test if it can get out.  The bigger the pen the happier the pig.

Pigs must have shelter from the heat, as they will sunburn.  They need a constant fresh supply of water.  The water is not only for drinking.  Water is also used to soften the ground where the pigs dig; pigs do love wallowing in the mud.  Contrary to stereotype, pigs keep themselves very clean and, unlike most, will not defecate where they eat or sleep.

Get two piglets in the spring.  Piglets are delightful and eat so little.  You would think, with the fencing in place, having more pigs is better, but that is not the case.  With three pigs, two will always pick on one.  With four pigs they form a pack, like a dog pack, when they are older they can be aggressive and very hard to manage.  Full grown pigs eat an exorbitant amount of food making it impractical to feed more than two at a time.
If you are kind to them they will be very docile and easy to manage.  Keep them in their pen for a couple of weeks so they are used to it and seeing you.  Then open the gate and they will follow you anywhere because they like you and you might have food.  In this way you can take them on walks to forage for food or put them in other areas like gardens to get them ready for planting.  Don’t leave pigs unattended while they are not in the pen.

Pigs can be wonderfully playful, are smart like a dog and love excitement.  While an escaped pig won’t go far, he most definitely will dig up your favourite flowers or your vegetable garden in a matter of minutes.  Don’t chase your pigs if they escape, as this is great fun for them.  As if playing a game of tag, they will happily run from you.  Once you see they are loose, make your presence known as usually this is all it takes to get them to follow you back to the pen.  If not sit, where they can see you but ignore them and when curiosity gets the better of them lure them back to the pen with a little feed in a pail.

Pigs eat everything but their natural diet is what they dig up from underground.  The larger and more lush the vegetation the better.  Supplement their diet with weeds, fish, foods scraps, and grain mixtures.  Pigs will eat almost anything.  For succulent and plentiful meat you want the pigs to dig.  Keep them moving around as much as possible.  Feed them in different spots, sprinkle the feed or water all over to keep them foraging.

Most mature pigs are unreasonably demanding and are like non-stop eating machines.  By the fall the pigs will be over two hundred pounds.  Harvest after the first frost before the pigs produce too much winter fat.  The cost of feed for mature pigs makes it prohibitive for most to keep them through the winter.

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