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Entertaining pigs?

Discussion in 'Behaviors & Handling Techniques - Pigs' started by Sweetened, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. Jul 31, 2014
    Sweetened

    Sweetened True BYH Addict

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    This is our first year with pigs. We picked up two feeder weanlings as a "lets see if we like this" and we do. When we bought them, there were chickens running around them, eating from their food bowls and crowing in their ears without issue and, until recently, we've never had a problem with them.

    One of the pigs has been caught a couple times now killing a chicken that's gone in to scratch at their bathroom section to pick out any goodies. This never used to be a problem, and still isn't with the other pig, who wants nothing to do with the event. Short of electrifying the chicken (which I've heard works), we've tried yelling at him, whacking him with a stick on the ham and, yesterday, I grabbed the chicken and hit him with it as hard as I could. He knows, the moment he gets caught, that he's in trouble, but he still does it.

    Now I've read it could be a protein deficiency, but that it's likely too late to correct as he's already gotten the taste for fresh meat. I've upped egg intake for them and will start boiling them every day to up the protein. Having read through a few forums, there's the whole "NEVER EVER EVER let anything else EVER in their pen, it's risky, blah blah." These posts are often countered by people who have been pasturing pigs for 10+ years without issue. "Well you're just LUCKY" say some, others agree to disagree. Some people say it's a space issue -- they're bored, not enough space to wander so entertain them, give them a challenge. How does one challenge or entertain a pig? How does one make games for pigs?

    I will be putting up chicken wire today to try and stop chickens from entering through the pagewire. If they go over top, mind you, They'll be considered 'asking for it'.
     
  2. Jul 31, 2014
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Pigs are highly intelligent animals. They are also opportunists. Pigs will eat anything and everything. Here in Texas, the feral hogs can and will eat newborn livestock and fawns, or anything else they can find. As far as your pig goes, he has found a new game and you aren't going to teach him not to do it, he will just get more sneaky. The best thing you can do is what you already are doing, fence the chickens out of their pen.
     
    Sweetened and mysunwolf like this.
  3. Jul 31, 2014
    OneFineAcre

    OneFineAcre Herd Master

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    Pigs will absolutely kill and eat chickens.

    You said you got feeder pigs. Are they not finished yet?
     
  4. Jul 31, 2014
    M.L. McKnight

    M.L. McKnight Overrun with beasties

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    I have a gilt that used to eat chickens when she was little. For the longest time she'd just root around them, give them a sniff and leave them be. BUT one day I found her trotting around the pen wiggling her tail with a chicken head in her mouth! She is still cute, but I'll never forget my cute little baby covered in chicken yuck and feathers!

    The slower chickens ended up in her belly, the faster ones survived. She doesn't bother them much anymore but she'll never turn down an egg.

    This might sound silly- give your pigs some toys! Bowling balls, basket balls, monster sized rubber balls (these will eventually get popped but can be replaced for $2-$3), empty buckets with a lid on them, a "tire swing" (hanging a foot off of the ground so they can bump it around), a few bales of hay/straw to tear up or a big round bale, logs or large chunks of wood, just anything difficult to tear up that can roll will do.
    My pigs get toys and always have something to do that will keep them out of trouble.
     
    Sweetened likes this.
  5. Jul 31, 2014
    Sweetened

    Sweetened True BYH Addict

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    No, they'll be ready around the end of September. Maybe feeder is wrong term? Weanling, they're 5 months old this month.

    The fence is all doubled up today, chickens decided to try and dig under it so I said to hell with it -- smart chickens live, dumb ones get eaten. @M.L. McKnight, thank you, that's just what I was looking for -- I didn't know -what- to give them. I will grab some old logs to throw in there, I didn't know they'd chew on them as they can't be bothered with sticks (I was told to give pigs sticks because they'll use them to build a bed), they just move around them. My pigs also LOVE fresh grass, but will REFUSE to eat hay, won't touch it, dunno why.

    I have some old litter containers, I was thinking of drilling some small holes in it with some oats in there that they could push around, but it's a boxy container, I don't know if that'd work.
     
  6. Jul 31, 2014
    M.L. McKnight

    M.L. McKnight Overrun with beasties

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    You are very welcome.

    I wouldn't hide any type of food in something for a hog, IF they want to eat it, they will get it! My pigs go nuts for fresh grasses but they also put a hurting on some hay too, wheat straw is a big hit too. Since yours like grass so well, pick out a piece of yard and don't mow it for a week. When you do mow it, just do a strip at a time, rake the clippings up and toss it to them. I do the same thing with one of my pastures and a bush hog, goats-cows-horses-hogs-chickens-geese-ducks-and my mule all go crazy for it!

    A 5month old pig should be in the neighborhood of 200-210lbs on straight feed or around 175-190lbs on pasture if they are getting a bit of feed too. They should be finished around 220 although I finish mine around 250-260 on pasture in 7-8 months. I grow them slower but it is much cheaper and I like the pork better. IF yours are for breeding instead of eating then you might want to start watching for them.
    IF they are for eating, don't feel bad and don't let anyone else at the house feel bad either. Remind everyone that you've given your hogs a really good life and they were cared for them much better than most pigs. After you process your first one or two it becomes much easier.
    I am a chef (a real one) and I share recipes, if yall process your own then I'll post a few of my recipes if you want.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
    Sweetened and SA Farm like this.
  7. Aug 20, 2017
    veritastar

    veritastar Chillin' with the herd

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    My pig LOVES toys and is very playful. He was meant to be dinner but I'm quite fond of him so now he's my GIANT pet pig. Piles of deep straw and/or hay are lots of fun. A sandpit, dog toys, he has a barrel he likes to push around. Plastic bottles with a small hole in it filled with grain. A big bathtub full of water with a giant rubber ducky. He has a baby rattle ball thing attached to the side of his pen that he likes to spin.... tearing up old cushions.... Everything is fun when you're a pig.
     
    Latestarter and Baymule like this.
  8. Aug 20, 2017
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    The last post in this thread was from over 3 years ago... Saw the thread pop and thought maybe @Sweetened had made an appearance. If she see's my tag, I hope she's doing well and it sure would be nice to see an update of her life. :)