How to Take Care of Farm Pigs

Written by kimberly turtenwald
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How to Take Care of Farm Pigs
Pigs raised with the proper care are happy, healthy pigs. (pig image by Leonid Nyshko from Fotolia.com)

Many people think of pigs as dirty animals who love to roll in the mud and oink all day. However, when pigs are properly cared for, they are not dirty animals at all. In fact, pigs can be perfectly happy without a mud hole in which to wallow. The proper food, shelter and care will allow you to raise pigs that are happy and healthy.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Build a shelter for the pigs out of sturdy wood. Pigs are very strong animals and can easily break down a poorly built shelter. The shelter ideally should be 16 feet by 16 feet.

  2. 2

    Spread dry, clean straw over the floor of the shelter. Pigs prefer to sleep on dry, clean straw, so remove any dirty or wet hay daily. They will generally not use their shelter for waste.

  3. 3

    Ventilate the shelter well. Pigs do not sweat and thus are miserable when it is hot outside. Keep the pigs warm in winter by adding extra straw and adding brooding lamps to the shelter.

  1. 1

    Set aside at least one acre for every two pigs in your yard.

  2. 2

    Surround the yard with fencing. A sturdy wire fence with small openings to prevent baby pigs from escaping. Set the fence flush with the ground to discourage rooting underneath the fence. The fence should be 4 feet high.

  3. 3

    Lay adequate ground cover. Pigs do not like to spend all day in the dirt and mud. However, it is important to have a mud hole for hot summer days. A pond may also be placed to provide fresh water. Keep all water areas filled with fresh water to prevent disease. Grass makes a good ground cover.

  4. 4

    Plant small shade trees. Pigs need shade, especially on hot, sunny days, to keep cool.

  1. 1

    Keep fresh water in the yard at all times. Use smaller containers rather than larger ones because pigs quickly dirty their water and require frequent water changes. An automatic waterer is the best option.

  2. 2

    Feed grains. Grains are a necessary part of a pig's diet. Most of their calories and carbohydrates come from eating grains. Use a mixture of different grains, including corn, barley and wheat.

  3. 3

    Add dairy products for additional nutrition. Feeding your pigs milk also helps to control internal parasites.

  4. 4

    Add table scraps to the grains. Table scraps should not be a significant part of a pig's diet, but are a nice treat. Pigs will eat just about anything. Stay away from larger, harder foods that can choke a pig.

  5. 5

    Allow the pigs to graze. Keep them in a grassy area where they can graze throughout the day on the grass and roots.

  1. 1

    Watch your pigs for signs of illness. Any pig that acts out of the ordinary may be sick and should be checked by a veterinarian. Symptoms to watch for include a decrease in appetite, weakness, overly tired and difficulty breathing.

  2. 2

    Trim the male pigs' tusks. The bottom tusks need to be trimmed every two to three months. Wire tusk trimmers, surgical wire or saw wire can all be used for this task.

  3. 3

    Trim the pigs' hooves. Use a horse hoof trimmer. If you are having difficulty with this task, your veterinarian can show you how to do it properly or even trim the hooves for you.

  4. 4

    Complete a health check every five to six weeks. This includes hoof trimming, ear cleaning, checking for abrasions and other abnormalities and checking their eyes for changes. Catch issues early to ensure that your pig stays healthy.

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