Many people have managed to set up a friendship between a mini pig and a rabbit with good results, but this can still be risky, especially if you have smaller rabbits or larger pigs, but do pigs get along with rabbits in general? Making sure these two species get along is a matter of control and proper introductions.
Pigs and rabbits are capable of getting along since they are both prey animals. However, larger pigs can inadvertently injure rabbits with their size and weight, and since pigs are omnivorous, larger pigs may be tempted to injure or even try to eat a small rabbit. This risk goes up around small or infant rabbits.
Pigs and rabbits can spend time together safely, but it comes with some conditions and is easier if they’re introduced correctly. Read on to learn more about how to keep pigs and rabbits together.
The Temperament of Pigs with Rabbits and Other Animals
Depending on the type of pig you have, they may or may not be suited to be friends with smaller animals. Mini pigs, or pigs commonly kept as household pigs, are smaller in size and tend to have a gentler disposition, especially the females. These pigs are usually intelligent, compassionate animals capable of making friends with a wide variety of other species. (Source: Mini Pig Info)
While pigs are omnivorous and will eat just about anything, they are far more likely to gravitate toward pig chow, fruits, and vegetables than they are to meat. So, as long as your pig is well-fed, it isn’t likely that they will try to kill and eat your rabbit.
Speaking of killing rabbits, to see if your pig can be healthy on a vegan diet check out my post here.
Pigs tend to do okay with smaller passive animals, such as:
- Guinea pigs
- Cats (even though cats are not a prey animal, many are tolerant and friendly toward pigs)
This is especially true of mini pigs, which have been bred for many years as companion animals rather than food sources. Domesticated pigs used for food are far larger, stronger, and more likely (and capable) to cause injury or death to a domesticated rabbit. This could be from overtly aggressive behavior or the pig accidentally trampling the smaller animal.
Pigs are not a super dangerous animal but the larger nature of domesticated pigs can cause injury to you or your family, learn all about the dangers of keeping pigs as livestock here.
The Temperament of Rabbits with Pigs and Other Animals
Rabbits are a bit more sensitive than pigs are, though they, too, have been known to become friends with animals of roughly similar size to themselves outside their species. The main thing to keep in mind with rabbits is that they are prey animals susceptible to predation by many different species, which can make them nervous around pigs, making them a target of aggression.
While pigs and rabbits have been known to get along safely in a household after proper introductions, pigs are omnivorous animals, and rabbits can become fearful around them because they sense that pigs could become a predator.
This isn’t paranoia on the rabbit’s part, either. In the wild, feral pigs will often kill and eat smaller animals than themselves, and domesticated pigs are sometimes fed dead rabbits to provide a lean, healthy protein source.
Pigs are so omnivorous they will happily consume many kinds of meat, including people if they can get it. (Source: BBC News This instinct to go after prey can be more or less dampened in domesticated pigs, depending on how large and aggressive they are. Some breeds are known for being gentle, while others are much more difficult to handle.
Pigs by nature fight to assert dominance, to know why your pigs are fighting and how to handle the situation check my post out.
What To Remember When Having A Pig & Rabbit
- Size: Larger pigs can weigh up to seven hundred pounds, and these creatures are not “gentle giants.” At this size or any other, pigs can be quite destructive creatures and have been known to either accidentally or deliberately trample smaller animals that are housed in close quarters with them. (Source: Live Science) Miniature pigs or small breed pigs are a better choice for rabbit companions. It’s also a good idea to choose a larger breed of rabbit.
- Temperament: As mentioned earlier, some pigs, such as Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs or Kunekune pigs, are more gentle and smaller than their larger meat breed cousins, and these pigs are usually more trustworthy around small animals like rabbits and chickens than larger breeds of pig. Known aggressive breeds like Hampshires and Tamworths should not be kept with smaller animals, as the risk to them is greater. This is especially true for boars.
(Source: Utah Pork)
- Housing: While a small breed pig and a rabbit may be able to get along well for short bursts under supervision, housing these two animals permanently together is usually a recipe for disaster. Pigs and rabbits require very different things in terms of housing environments to keep them happy, and a rabbit will be very unhappy in a pig’s pen (and vice versa). However, small pigs and rabbits can interact well as indoor household companions for people.
As you can see, the temperament of pigs and their size varies greatly depending on the type of pig, so there’s no way you could say that all pigs will get along well with rabbits or should be given a chance to do so.
Likewise, many smaller breeds of rabbits are quite fragile and could easily be stepped on or killed by a pig, so introducing them correctly is important to ensure they stay safe.
How To Introduce A Pig To A Rabbit
If you want your pig and rabbit to get along, there are a few rules you can follow to make sure that their first introductions go over smoothly and that the rabbit doesn’t end up terrified of the pig at the end of their play date.
Follow these tips for a smooth introduction between your pet pig and your rabbit:
- Do not leave a rabbit and a pig unattended together. This is an important rule to follow even after the animals have gotten to know each other better. A human needs to be around to intervene if one of the animals begins to show aggression (or fear) and needs to be removed.
- Introduce each animal through scent first. Providing the pig with some of the rabbit’s belongings that smell like the rabbit will help acclimate the pig to its non-threatening presence while doing the same for the rabbit can help the rabbit be less nervous around the pig.
- Keep play sessions short at first and observe them carefully. Keep their time together limited to small bursts at first—punctuated by plenty of petting and treats—so that the exchange remains completely positive. You don’t ever want to put your animals in a position to get annoyed with or aggressive toward each other.
- Be patient. Like people, animals may take a little while to warm up to each other. If they ignore each other or the rabbit seems unsure when first meeting the pig, keep interactions short and gradually build up exposure so that there is no sense of threat on either side.
- Do not force them to interact. If your rabbit is having none of it or your pig starts to act irritated towards the rabbit, don’t keep putting them together. This only increases the likelihood that the rabbit will get stressed out (which can kill a soft prey animal) or that the pig will become aggressive toward it.
As long as you keep a close eye on your pig and rabbit together, the chances are that they will either get along fine or ignore each other if the pig has a good temperament and has been well-fed. On the other hand, the rabbit may or may not be too high-strung to be around a larger animal. It all depends on their personalities and temperaments.
Are your pigs struggling to put on weight? This is a common issue for farmers, read my post here to know what to do about it.
Pigs and Rabbits Can Get Along Under Certain Conditions
Not all pigs and rabbits can get along, but if you choose the right type of pig and you have a large enough rabbit, you may be able to foster an unlikely friendship!