Recently, farmers are thinking of ways to raise more than one animal species. Raising multiple animals in the same area saves space and results in more meat and other products. Considering the nature of pigs and chickens, can you raise pigs and chickens together? Read on to find out.
Can you raise pigs and chickens together?
It is possible to raise pigs and chickens together, but you have to be careful and plan ahead so that everything goes smoothly. Housing and nutrition are things you must adapt in order to raise chickens and pigs together.
What should you consider when raising pigs and chickens together? Can pigs eat chicken feed (or vice versa)? What are some of the benefits?
Raising Pigs and Chickens Together
Many people have successfully raised pigs and chickens together. Most farmers who raise pigs have considered adding chickens. Let us discuss some advantages and disadvantages of raising both animals in the same space.
Advantages of Raising Pigs and Chickens Together
Here are some benefits of raising pigs and chickens together:
1. Pest Control
Chickens eat insects and pests that can disturb pigs. With chickens scratching around pigs, no insect or nematode pest will disturb or infect your pigs because they are yummy meals for your chickens.
Chickens also love to eat the maggots that grow in pig dung, so raising chickens with pigs gives your birds an extra (and free) source of protein, not to mention welcome fly control for the pigs.
2. Predator Control
Once your pigs have accepted the chicken as friends, the pigs will dissuade birds of prey and other predators that can harm and kill your chickens.
If you have poultry that is harried by predators, you could consider raising them with pigs.
3. Optimization of Space
Raising pigs and chickens together in the same land saves more space than raising them separately.
Why not raise both animals and produce multiple animal products while raising them together in the same space?
4. Chickens Render Services to Pigs
Pigs love water and can sometimes play in the mud. A pig’s skin can itch them, but they cannot scratch every part of their back.
With chickens around, your pigs may not have as many skin issues because chickens will quickly learn to investigate the pigs for tasty morsels.
Awesome benefits, right? Let us move on to some disadvantages.
Here are a few disadvantages of raising pigs and chickens together:
1. Pigs Can Eat Chickens
It is over if one pig figures out chickens taste good.
Pigs can eat a lot of things and if given the chance, they will eat chickens and will from then on see chickens as a food item.
There are some useful tips to prevent pigs from eating chickens and we will discuss them later.
2. Pigs Can Eat or Trample on Eggs
Pigs love rooting and looking for tasty bits, and eggs are one of their favorites.
Pigs that have tasted eggs will search for more eggs to eat. Their movements around the enclosure in general means any eggs could be trampled.
Pigs are curious and observant creatures. It doesn’t take them long to pick up on when a chicken is sitting at a particular place for a long time, there is something there worth investigating.
3. They Have A Few Similar Diseases
Diseases such as salmonella and swine flu can be transmitted between both species.
If any individual animal has an infection that can spread between both animals, you have to remove it from the pen and isolate it somewhere else.
4. Feed Control
Chickens can abandon their feed and eat the pig feed instead. Even if it is completely safe for chickens to eat pig feed (and vice versa), one animal eating too much of the feed of the other can result in one or more forms of nutrient deficiency.
There is too much calcium in the feed of layers for pigs to safely eat. Layer chickens use a large amount of calcium to produce eggs.
Pigs do not need that much calcium, and it may cause health problems for the pigs.
Now that you know a few things to watch out for, it is time to learn some tips.
Useful Tips on Raising Pigs and Chickens Together
Do you want to successfully raise pigs and chickens together? Here are some useful tips:
1. Select Calm Swine Breeds
Some pig breeds are more aggressive than others. You should only raise chickens together with non-aggressive swine breeds.
Some examples of calm swine breeds are:
- Red Wattle
- Chester White
Make sure that your pig is not aggressive. Any pigs that do become chicken-aggressive will need to be removed at once, as the rest of the herd could adopt that behavior as well.
2. Use Spacious Pens
Chickens need space to run from pigs if the pigs decide to chase after them. Without adequate space, your chicken will have no place to run to.
Pigs also need space so that they do not get bored. Bored pigs will always search for something to do and they might just chase after the chickens for fun and find them a tasty snack instead.
3. Always Feed Your Pigs
A hungry pig will always search for something to eat. Some pigs, when hungry, can chew the wood in their pen. To prevent your pigs from eating chickens, always feed them adequately.
4. Start Raising Chickens before Pigs
It is easier for chickens to accept pigs in their space than for pigs to accept chickens. If you already have been raising pigs, they will think that anything you bring into the pen is their meal.
5. The Younger or Smaller the Pig, the Better
Younger pigs will accept chickens in their space better than older pigs.
If you have mini pigs, raising chickens with them is likely to be easier than with standard pig breeds, as mini pigs are, in general, more tolerant of other animals.
6. Separate Intact Males and Pregnant Females from Chickens
Intact male and pregnant female pigs are usually more aggressive than other pigs. Farmers who raise pigs usually isolate pregnant sows because of their aggressiveness.
To prevent your pigs from eating your chickens, separate every aggressive pig immediately.
7. Never Allow Wild Boars to Reach the Pen
Pigs develop habits by looking at and studying other pigs. If a wild boar can successfully attack and eat your chickens, your pigs will start eating chickens. Always protect the farm from wild boars.
8. Isolate Any Pig that has Tasted Chickens
As you already know, the housing together is over if a pig tastes chicken. To prevent other pigs from eating the chickens, remove any pig that has tasted chickens so that other pigs do not see them and copy the behavior.
You should also prevent your chickens from going into the pen of any pig that has tasted chickens before.
9. Use an Incubator for Your Chicken Eggs
Pigs love eggs. To prevent pigs from always destroying your chicken eggs, collect any egg that you can find and use an incubator instead to increase your flock.
Make sure you plan well before raising pigs and chickens in the same space.
Can Pigs and Chickens Eat the Same Feed?
Yes, they can. The feed of pigs and chickens usually constitutes of 60-70% cereal grains.
While both animals can eat the feed of each other, they should not consistently eat the same feed because processed feed is formulated for a particular animal.
Deficiencies or overages of nutrients may develop with regular consumption of the wrong feed.
Some foods that chickens and pigs may continually eat together are:
- Banana peel
- Watermelon rind
Remember that pigs should not eat the feed of layer chickens because of the high calcium content.
Pigs and chickens can be raised together with some forethought and careful planning. Monitoring the interactions of the two species after introduction is important to make sure things stay friendly and don’t turn predatory.
Following the tips and instructions in this article can help you avoid problems and enjoy the benefits of both animals.