Pigs are amazing livestock animals but is it dangerous to raise pigs? Pigs are great to supply food for your family and even income if you own many animals but this requires more work and it can be dangerous.
People don’t realize this when they buy them, this is why many micro pigs and potbellied pigs are put up for adoption.
Wild pigs or boars can become quite dangerous to raise, while most domesticated pigs are not. However, pigs grown for meat purposes can get very large, and without proper care, can become dangerous. Due to their size alone, pigs can charge and harm humans, but is more harmful to younger individuals.
In addition to their ability to charge owners, pigs can also bite out of anger, fear, or hunger. While this can seem alarming, it is essential to remember that most pigs will not be violent to their owners if they are cared for properly.
I will explain all the dangers of raising pigs, and why do pigs get aggressive and the importance of keeping your pigs busy. Read more to find out.
A big reason many pigs become dangerous is simply from boredom, and this can be dealt with through a little work on your part.
Do you use shavings or straw for your pig’s bedding? Does it even matter? Find out in my extensive post here.
What Are the Dangers of Raising a Pig?
An aggressive pig can be a dangerous pig. A pig can easily overrun a human when they are full-grown and can bite and charge. If you have a pig with tusks, like some potbelly breeds, they can begin to gore other animals or even humans causing injury or even death.
If you have children or other pets, keeping these negative behaviors in check becomes even more critical. Even some smaller breeds can overwhelm young children and lead to severe injury or even death. To see why pigs are so dangerous see the video above.
Fortunately, most pigs can easily be trained to become less aggressive if you follow our steps (discussed later). However, if you do not see changes in behavior, more severe actions must be taken.
If you do not believe you can get the pig’s behavior under control, you may need to rehome if it is strictly a pet. However, if the pig is being raised for meat purposes, it may be time to let this pig go to the slaughterhouse. (Of course, this only applies if you had initially planned to use your hogs for meat, and they are not strictly pets.)
Are Pet Pigs Aggressive?
Many bring in micro pigs and later are stuck with a 200-pound full-grown hog that they cannot care for. While you can purchase genuinely smaller pigs, many outgrow the size you expect and require training to live safely amongst your family. Most domesticated pigs are not likely to ever bite or harm their humans unless they have a very valid reason to do so.
By nature, pigs that are well cared for are sweet and friendly. However, they can become a little destructive and require training like most pets you would bring into your home. The best way to keep your pig from becoming violent is to be proactive.
However, if your new to owning pigs it might be difficult to see if your pigs are happy, for 10 signs showing a pig is a happy pig check out my article.
Why Do Pigs Get Aggressive?
There are a few key reasons why your pet pig may lash out towards you, and most of these reasons can be fixed with a little care. It is also important to remember that pigs will protect themselves if they feel the need to, which is a basic animal nature. Some reasons why pigs become aggressive towards owners are:
- Out of Fear – There are situations when pigs will feel threatened and can act out. If you are violent towards the pig, they will often act that way back, just like a person would. Most pigs prefer a peaceful and loving environment, so loud sounds, hitting, pushing, or other bodily harm can cause them to charge or bite a human.
- Lack of Mental Stimulation – I will jump deeper into this issue, but mentally stimulating your pigs is critical. Even pigs raised as livestock need to be entertained, or they can quickly become violent against each other out of boredom. Many do not realize how smart pigs actually are and that they cannot survive without some mental stimulation, they can even play video games! Think I’m lying? Check this article out for more info.
- Lack of Attention – If you are not caring for your pigs properly, you are not only doing them a disservice, but you are also leading to potentially harmful behaviors. Pigs need to be fed daily, adequate water, an area to move and play, a safe sleep space, and regular care as needed. If you are raising a pig as a pet, they may need even more care, or it can lead to unwanted dangerous behavior.
How To Prevent Negative Pig Behaviors
If you want to ensure your pigs are as safe as possible, being a good pet parent is number one! You want to ensure that you are always providing them everything that they need to thrive. Even pigs that are being used as meat need to be given the best life possible while they are in your care.
One way to keeping pigs happy is making them comfortable during cold winter months, see my post here on the 11 ways to keep pigs comfortable during winter.
Also, making sure your pig’s bedding is as comfortable as possible goes a long way to make them happy. Check my post out to see if straw or shavings are better for your pigs.
Pigs that are cared for properly are less likely to be violent or dangerous and will often love their owners. You do not need to kiss and cuddle your pigs daily, but speak to them nicely, provide them with proper care, and do not lash out at them. Giving simple, hospitable care to your pets will often lead to a good relationship.
Some other ways to ensure that your pigs do not become dangerous are:
- NEVER Hand Feed Your Pig: This may seem self-explanatory, but pigs are large and can easily bite without meaning to. This means that you should never feed your pig by hand, especially larger pigs, as they may bite you without meaning to do so; this becomes especially true if you have a pig that has shown some aggression or food aggression.
- Train Your Pig from an Early Age: Like most pets, pigs need some training to behave correctly and be quality pets. You will want to teach your pigs basic manners, like not to run at the individual feeding them, not to bite, to coexist peacefully, etc. from the time that they are piglets. If you have a smaller pet pig, you can even teach them to sit, stay, to use a litter box, and more.
- Use Rewards to Support Positive Behaviors: Pigs are very intelligent, which means that they can make the connection between rewards and positive behaviors along with punishments for negative actions. You can use both food and non-food rewards for pigs that are behaving correctly. Anything from an extra fresh fruit or veggie snack to a little extra love can be well received from your pigs.
How To Keep Your Pigs Busy
As mentioned, pigs are very intelligent, and many even say that they are smarter than most domestic animals. Many owners can forget this, and adequate entertainment is not given, which leads to boredom. A bored pig often becomes a pig that will act aggressively.
When pigs get bored, they can begin to lash out, and this can be hard to fix once these negative behaviors start. Instead, you need to provide your pigs with activities that can keep them busy. You do not need to spend a lot of money on things to keep your pigs occupied, but rather find odds and ends around your home.
Some great ways to easily entertain your pigs and avoid aggression are:
Offer Treats in a Unique Way
Like many livestock animals, pigs are often food driven and love to eat. This is why using treats as a form of entertainment is not only cost-effective but is also well received. Many pig owners will use fun ways of reaching foods to entertain their pigs.
- Hang Treats – You can easily hang treats from branches or other higher-up areas of the pigs’ lot or home. These can be hung in treat balls designed for dogs, plastic water bottles, or practically any style container that a pig can get into. This will help your pig stay more active, working to reach the treat, and make them utilize their critical thinking skills to get the food from the container.
- Offer Treats that Roll – Going hand in hand with this, you can use balls, water jugs, juice bottles, etc. to fill with oats or other small treats. The pigs will then be able to roll the container around the yard to get the treats to spill out for them to gobble up. For these activities, you can vary the difficulty with each use by changing the size of the holes. Just see how your pigs react and alter the container accordingly.
- Create a Treat Rope – Use any form of fabric, whether this is a new piece or an old towel you have lying around, to create a treat rope. Tie random treats into the material and let your pigs begin trying to undo these knots. Make sure you do not tie the knots too tight, or it can become frustrating for your pig, and they will simply destroy the rope instead of untying them.
- Make a Fun Food Hunt – Pigs naturally like to forage and will forage around your yard if allowed to do so. Even for pigs that are kept in a particular area or lot, you can create a fun food forage for your pigs to search for foods and stay busy. This can be simple; just hide food in areas around their yard, along with a few easy to find foods so they can begin the hunt.
- Create a Rooting Box – If you have a smaller pet pig, there are some fun activities that you can do more specifically for them, such as creating a rooting box. This is a similar idea on a smaller scale; you simply use a box, kiddie pool, or other containers to add snacks and toys amongst everyday items. Fill your rooting box with crumpled paper, blankets, balls, or other objects and hide treats amongst these items for your pig to root for.
If your pigs are bored they will often act out by fighting with each other more than they would normally, to know why this happens and how to prevent it see my post here.
Provide Unique Play Areas
Offering new and entertaining areas for your pigs to play and root around can help keep them busy. When your pig is entertained during the day, they will be less likely to be aggressive towards each other.
Note: Make sure that you can provide several areas and have adequate space for the number of pigs you own.
- Offer Kiddie Pools – Pools are enjoyable for pigs and can be a great addition to their area during the summer months. You can fill the kiddie pools with cold water, which they may love to simply splash around, or fill them with water and float treats on top. Adding treats or toys can encourage your pigs to enter the pool and play around, keeping them entertained for hours while staying cooled off. Get one for a great price on Amazon here.
- Make a Mud Hole – Pigs and mud just go together, which is why you should always have a mud pit available to your pig. While dealing with muddy pigs is not always ideal, it is an excellent way for them to relax and entertain themselves. Also, these mud pits can keep them cool, protect their skin, and block out UV rays.
- Sand Pits – Creating a sandpit or sandbox for your pigs is another excellent option as they can forage in the sand and stay quite entertained. You can use the sandbox for simple play or even hide treats in the sand; just do not use moist or watery treats, as they will get stuck to the sand. However, you can throw some popcorn or other crunchy options to entice your pig to its new play area.
Check Out Local Pet Stores for Toys
Unfortunately, there is not a wide array of pig toys out there, but there are some options. You can find pig toys online or at some local pet stores. However, you can also use many dog toys for your pigs; even some pet puzzles work well for pigs.
Puzzles that are designed for dogs will often offer the same results for pigs, as they do have very similar intelligence levels. Most pet owners have treat balls(Amazon link) (as previously mentioned), but there are also hide and slide puzzles or flip toys that you can utilize. These toys are a great way to keep your pigs’ minds working and keep them busy.
Do you know the differences between pigs ,hogs and boars? The differences are quite interesting, see my post to know more.
What Do You Do If Your Pig Acts Out?
- Immediately put the pig back in its area and ignore the pig. Ignoring them seems to very effective for most pigs.
- Always offer positive reinforcement and quickly discipline negative actions.
- Introduce new toys or activities when you notice these negative actions. Never do it as soon as the action occurs, as it may seem as if it is a reward. Instead, do it later that day or the following day to keep the pig busier.
- Mix up feeding areas and times. Often pigs will lash out or bite because of food aggression. Changing up where they are fed can help you avoid unwanted biting during this time.
While the tips mentioned above do help with lowering aggression and keeping your pig busy, some instances are bound to happen. It is vital that if your pig does act out aggressively, you do your best to stop these actions and fix them. If you have pigs as livestock in larger numbers, it can be more challenging to train them.
However, if you have a pig specifically as a pet, you want them to be trained and any hostile action to be reversed. It is essential from a very early age that your pig does not show aggression, and that any signs of it are reprimanded. Often, piglets are let away with these actions, and as they get larger, it leads to more dangerous issues.
There are some mistakes you can make when it comes to aggression that will only escalate the situation. For many, pigs weigh as much as their owner and can quickly overtake them. If you do get bitten or charged by your pig, try your best not to show fear as this can escalate the problem.
You also never want to hit your pig or kick them unless it is truly a situation where you are getting severely harmed. Hitting or kicking the animal can escalate the aggression and lead to more danger. Often, a quick snap is enough to give them pause, but hitting can cause more even anger from the pig.
Are your pigs struggling to put on weight? It’s a common issue for greener farmers, see my post here for the 7 reasons why your Pigs can’t put on weight and what to do about it.
While raising pigs is a great option for many families and can range from being a unique pet to a food source to your family. However, pigs can become dangerous if not cared for properly and provided with enough opportunities for entertainment
. It is always important to remember that any pig can become aggressive, and they often grow very large, which means they can overpower many owners. A final important note: One thing that is extremely crucial when it comes to pig ownership is that you ALWAYS supervise the interactions between children and pigs or other pets and pigs for their safety.