Pigs are a curious animal. They’ve been a stable part of human diet for many years and they’re a common sight on many fields and farms up and down the land. Yet there are plenty of things most people don’t know about them.
Here are some fun facts you might not have known about pigs and modern pig farming
- Modern pigs stem from a long line of wild ancestors who spent all their days dwelling and foraging for food in forests and wooded areas. These ancestors were made up of a mixture of wild boar and pigs from the Asian continent who once cross-bred they became the modern pigs we know so well.
- Historically the female pig would produce around 4 off-spring a year. A modern farmed pig, by comparison, will average around two litters a year equating to approximately 8 to 12 extra piglets each (around 20 baby pigs per annum!)
- Male pigs (boars) are obviously an essential part of the breeding process, but they also gain weight and size more quickly that sows – meaning they also eat more food and cost the farmer money. This is a point to consider when farming and breeding your own pigs.
- Pigs are very intelligent and adapt to their environment. You might be surprised to learn that in some tests pigs have been shown to learn more quickly than dogs.
- Like with cats and dogs, you can tell a lot about a pig’s mood by the movement of their tail. Curly tails often mean the pig is happy, while tucked between their legs points to stress and unhappiness.
- Male pigs (boars) often live a solitary life and prefer their own company. Conversely, sows and piglets prefer to live in the family unit with small groups who are weary of other animals.
- Despite the common misconception, pigs are actually very clean animals and will purposely keep their sleeping area clean.
- As a pig farmer, you can save money on food waste by feeding pigs from dedicated troughs at the edge of the field. These troughs are less likely to result in feed being stolen by birds and other pests.
- Pigs are easily distracted. Research has shown this is because their vision includes very wide angles (over 300 degrees!) but even so it’s pretty difficult to distract them from their food.
- Pigs (much like elephants) are thought to have very good memories. This is great for pig farmers who can develop safe routines for management, feeding and moving the pigs when they need to.
- Pigs do not have sweat glands, so like dogs they lose heat through their mouths and through panting in hot conditions. It’s important to keep pigs cool in hot weather and pig farmers need to watch out for signs of heatstroke in their herd that can include excessive panting, lack of coordination, convulsions, vomiting and unconsciousness.
- Pigs can (and will) swim if given the chance and the water to do so. A great way for them to cool down in the warm summer heat.
So there you go, hopefully you’ve learnt plenty about pigs and why they’re such an interesting creature. If you’re considering getting into pig farming, you can discover more about pigs, pig farming at the next Porkmoney masterclass coming soon!
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