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5 Common Myths About Raising Pigs

Cholee is an animal lover and enjoys teaching others about them.

To many people, pigs are just dirty farm animals. Many believe that they are unclean and stinky but, in reality, they are one of the smartest and cleanest animals when they are properly taken care of. People who believe this common misconception do not know pigs and are misinformed.

There are hundreds of fascinating facts about pigs. However, I'm only going to cover the top five myths associated with keeping and raising them. My hope is that I can shed some light on these fascinating creatures and show you just how great they can truly be when properly understood and cared for.

First Myth: Pigs Stink and are Very Dirty

Fact: Pigs are actually one of the cleanest farm animals. They will only roll in the mud if they do not have proper shade and a clean steady water supply. Pigs are prone to overheating as their sweat glands are small and do not allow them to sweat. Not only do they not sweat well, but pale pigs can burn, leading them to wallow in the mud to stay cool and give them protection from the sun. They only need to wallow when adequate shade or clean water cannot be found. Since they cannot sweat, mud allows them to be able to control their body temperature when the summer heat becomes too much.

Well kept and shaded pens will prevent your pigs from wallowing, and getting dirty. Make sure your pigs have adequate space for living and feeding. This is also a great way to keep them clean. Putting pigs out on a pasture will provide them with plenty of space to roam and the ability to keep dry, clean, and cool.

Pigs also require enough room to eat and defecate separately. They will sleep and defecate on two separate sides of the pen if given the proper amount of space.

Second Myth: Pigs Are Hard and Time-Consuming to Care For

Fact: Pigs only take about an hour and a half a week to care for. Two hours if you plan to pasture them and are going to move their pen around for optimal foraging.

Pigs are usually trouble free animals, and will forage and grow on their own with little care as long as they have proper housing or shelter from the elements, water, and food.

Third Myth: Pigs Are Stupid

Fact: Although they can't see well, pigs are essentially the smartest farm animal. They are ranked as one of the top ten smartest animals on the intelligence scale. Some researchers believe they are even smarter than dogs, some primates, and three year old humans. They have been known to solve mazes, complex problems, they have the ability to comprehend simple symbolic language, and play video games. They also have excellent long-term memory and will communicate with each other through a wide range of oinks, squeals, and grunts.

Relying heavily on memory and past experiences, pigs will learn their boundaries very quickly and will not tread where fencing once was. If you are wishing to move your fencing, you have to be careful not to put gates and open pasture where hot wires use to be. Pigs will be lenient to go near any place they remember having unpleasant memories. It is believed that pigs are one of the quickest animals to learn a new task, or routine; however, they have difficulty unlearning.

Fourth Myth: You Need Lots of Land to Raise Pigs

Fact: Although pigs are foragers and rooters, they do not need a lot of space. It is possible to let out as many as four pigs on just an acre of land. Rotating the area of the pen and supplementing their diet with grains will prevent them from foraging the ground to dirt. You can also use pigs to till and fertilize pasture and gardens which allows them to be able to find new food sources outside of their regular pen or pasture.

Fifth Myth: You Need a Large Amount of Pigs to Make a Profit

Fact: Although pigs are happier with companions, you can make a small profit from only one to two pigs. Two or more is ideal for the health and happiness of your pigs, as they are highly social animals and thrive on being a close-knit family unit. Larger groups also allows for friendly competition between pigs allowing them to fight over feed and grow faster. However, depending on your reasons for wanting to buy pigs, two is plenty to own as pets, to till and fertilize a garden, and produce meat for your family.

Pigs Make a Great Addition to Any Farm or Homestead

When managed properly pigs will grow up to be a healthy and hearty farm animal that will make a great addition to any farm or homestead. Pigs are affectionate, family friendly animals and thrive in family groups. They are capable of forming bonds with their owners which can make it difficult to only raise them for meat. They are extremely peaceful animals, unless they are still intact, feel threatened or are provoked.

Whether you are looking for a new addition to the family, looking to make a profit, or wanting pigs solely for their meat, they are a great investment and will provide your farm with diversity and character. Given adequate care, pigs can greatly enhance your farm.

The humble pig is truly nothing but extraordinary.

How much do you know about pigs?

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What is a male pig called?
    • Gilt
    • Boar
    • Sow
    • Swine
  2. What type of diet do pigs have?
    • Omnivorous
    • Herbivorous
    • Carnivorous
  3. Diseases can be spread from humans to pigs, and from pigs to humans.
    • True
    • False
  4. Pigs are native to which 3 continents?
    • North America, Africa, & Austrailia
    • South America, North America, & Asia
    • Asia, Africa, and Europe
    • Europe, Australia, & Africa
  5. Pigs are highly intelligent and social animals.
    • True
    • False
  6. Pigs do not have feelings
    • True
    • False
  7. Pigs have poor what?
    • Sense of smell
    • Hearing
    • Eyesight
  8. A group of adult pigs is called a what?
    • Troop
    • Sounder
    • Colony
    • Herd
  9. Pigs have been used for medical research.
    • True
    • False
  10. Pigs cannot what?
    • Jump
    • Swim
    • Sweat
    • Communicate

Answer Key

  1. Boar
  2. Omnivorous
  3. True
  4. Asia, Africa, and Europe
  5. True
  6. False
  7. Eyesight
  8. Sounder
  9. True
  10. Sweat

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Cholee Clay


Cholee Clay (author) from Wisconsin on December 22, 2011:

Thanks Angie! I think so too, so I thought a little awareness about the pig might be a good topic:)

Angie Jardine from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... on December 22, 2011:

Pigs are such lovely creatures ... thanks for writing so intelligently about them.They usually get such a bad press that your hub made a welcome change.

Congratulations on your HubNugget award ...

Cholee Clay (author) from Wisconsin on December 13, 2011:

Thanks Eddy for the vote up.

Eiddwen from Wales on December 13, 2011:

Wht a great hub, I love anything to do with nature or animals and this one was a treat.

I have to vote an up up and away.

Take care and I look forward to reading many more by you.

Enjoy your day.


Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on December 12, 2011:

Got a soft spot for pigs, thanks.

Our neighbor has a great pig farm and they produce one of Italy's top ten salamis. They have been our friends for, it's nice to see pigs having a savvy write up here on Hub Pages. Thanks

Cholee Clay (author) from Wisconsin on December 11, 2011:

Thanks ripplemaker:)

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on December 10, 2011:

You have definitely given me a new picture of pigs! :)

Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. To read and vote and participate in the Hubnuggets fun, this way please: Enjoy!

Cholee Clay (author) from Wisconsin on December 08, 2011:

Thanks Simone! Glad you liked it. Pigs can be one of the most misinterpreted farm animals. I'm more than happy to share some facts about these wonderful creatures (my own opinion of course).

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on December 08, 2011:

What a fabulous Hub! I've learned several new things from this- and I'm quite pleased to see that the phrase "sweating like a pig" is accurate! Hmmm... maybe I'll raise pigs someday.

Cholee Clay (author) from Wisconsin on December 05, 2011:

They can make really great pets if properly cared for. Thanks for the up Patty!

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 05, 2011:

My neighbor has a pig that is cute, clean, and quiet. Rated Up!

Cholee Clay (author) from Wisconsin on November 23, 2011:

:) Good luck with your hogs. I'm still trying to convince my fiancé that they would be a great addition. Hopefully this hub will help.

Isadora from Tennessee on November 23, 2011:

So true! They can be an excellent part of a permaculture setting! Just choose the right breed for your needs. Were getting guinea hogs as soon as we can. :)