Chickens are often lovingly referred to as gateway pets. This is because chicken keepers fall in love with the lifestyle and deeply care for their animals and will most likely choose to get more. They often get chickens, then ducks, goats, maybe even horses, etc. If you’re on the search for a new backyard pet addition, you’ve probably considered pigs. Are pigs safe to keep around chickens? Are there any disadvantages or concerns you should know about?
Can Chickens Live With Pigs
Yes, chickens and pigs can peacefully live together and even have some mutual benefits. Pigs can be aggressive towards chickens, but if they have enough space and are fed enough, it shouldn’t be an issue, and they’ve even been known to protect chickens by scaring away predators.
Like dogs and cats, chickens are domesticated animals that can safely live with other animals. It will require some preparation before minging the two animals together. But, it isn’t as hard as mixing other animals that shouldn’t live with other animals.
Of course, there will always be some advantages and disadvantages to keeping pigs and chickens in the same space, keeping reading to find out what they are.
Advantages Of Chickens Living With Pigs
Chicken and pigs can and do live together in the same space with no issues. These two animals can free roam together with no aggression or injuries and even benefit each other in a few different ways.
There are advantages to both chickens and pigs when housed together.
Advantages To Chickens
Pigs are very destructive and overturn any soil in their path. Chickens will love to follow closely behind your pigs as they dig up the dirt and search for insects and grubs to eat.
Pigs will also deter predators and have few natural predators themselves. Because of a pig’s size, smaller predators like raccoons, opossums, birds of prey, weasels, and coyotes will be too scared to set foot in your yard.
Pigs can also become quite aggressive towards predators if they feel like they are threatened. This will keep your chickens safe and reduce the risk of losing your chickens due to animal attacks.
Advantages To Pigs
Chickens are a good parasite control for pigs. Chickens eat bugs, worms, pests, and even external parasites like lice that are found on pigs. Chickens might also eat any parasites or pests on your pigs’ backs to help bring relief some itchiness for the pigs. Don’t be surprised to see your chickens taking a ride on your pig’s back or head, which the pigs won’t likely mind.
Pigs and chickens can also share foods since they are omnivores. This will make it easier to have a centralized feeding. Chicken feed is not dangerous to pigs, and pig’s food consists mostly of grain and scraps, which is safe for your chickens. You likely already feed your chickens vegetables, fruits, and other human food scraps without any issues.
Since chickens and pigs aren’t susceptible to the same parasites, there’s very little concern about transferring diseases and illnesses from chickens to pigs or vice versa.
Disadvantages Of Chickens Living With Pigs
Pigs can be aggressive towards pigs. Pigs are very greedy eaters and will become aggressive and lash out if any chickens come to close while they’re eating.
Because pigs are omnivores, there is also a chance they can eat your chickens. As long as there is plenty of space for both animals, it shouldn’t be an issue.
If your pigs show any signs of aggression towards your chickens, you should separate them immediately. Once your pigs taste how a chicken tastes, they will go after them anytime they are near. If they’ve attacked once, it’s a good idea to keep either your chickens are pigs in a big pen so they still have room to free roam but can’t cause any harm to each other.
Pigs will also eat chicken feed and chicken eggs. Because of this, it’s best to keep your chickens’ feed inside of their coop. Ensure your pigs don’t have access to the coop, or make sure the entrance is small enough that they can’t enter. Some chicken owners train their chickens to use a dog door, which is small enough to keep pigs out of the coop.
Some chicken keepers choose to use automatic chicken coop doors that open during certain times. This way, you can open the doors in the morning to let your chickens out or at night to let them back in.
How To Safely Keep Chickens With Pigs
Chickens can safely live with pigs as long as there is planning involved and specific safety measures are put in place.
Integrate at a Young Age
If possible, introduce your pigs to your chickens while they are still very young, preferably a few weeks or months old. This way, your pigs will not associate with chickens as a food source and will be less likely to attack or become aggressive towards them.
Choose The Right Breeds
Make sure to research your pig breed before buying it. Some pig breeds are more docile and less aggressive than others. If possible, buy a docile breed and don’t rescue any full-grown pigs as you don’t know how they’ll act around your chickens and other animals.
Like pigs, some chickens will not make good roommates for pigs. If you have an aggressive rooster such as Malay rooster, it may not do well with pigs or other animals.
Always make sure your animals are fenced in. Your pigs and chickens should be free to wander but should not leave your yard. Also, make sure that you have enough yard space for both animals. If there is enough room, there shouldn’t be any problems or concerns with aggression. There should be ample room for your chickens to escape from your pigs if they need to.
Keep your pigs as full as possible. This will reduce mood swings and make them less likely to attack your chickens for food. Make sure to show affection to both your chickens and pigs, as this will keep them calmer and less stressed.
Having sufficient space for both your chickens and pigs will prevent problems such as aggression. A large enough room will allow your chickens to roam around freely and run away from the pigs if they become aggressive because the chickens are eating their food.
If both animals have enough room to forage, there’s less likely to be violent turmoil in the backyard. The chicken run is the only place the animals should be sharing.
Should You Keep Chickens and Pigs Together?
Many people online say chickens and pigs shouldn’t be kept together, while others house several farm animals with their flock. If you’ve never had a pig, consider getting one of the friendliest pigs, such as the Vietnamese Potbellied Pig or a breed like the Guinea Hogs.
Many people on forums and social media say this pig has the most docile temperaments that make it great around other pets.
Chickens can, and do, safely live with pigs without an issue. However, there are a few concerns and risks that you should be aware of and take into consideration before you decide to add any pigs to your yard.
Pigs can be very aggressive. Pigs are greedy eaters and may attack your chickens if they get too close while eating. They are also omnivores and may attack your chickens for food if they get hungry enough. Pigs have also been known to eat chicken feed and chicken eggs, so you should make sure that they are safely out of reach from your pigs, such as inside the chicken coop.
There are also a few advantages to keeping chickens and pigs together. Chickens are a natural parasite control and will eat bugs, worms, pests, and external parasites off of your pigs. Pigs will also overturn the soil in their path. Chickens will follow along closely behind them to go through the fresh soil to pick out bugs and grubs.
Always research your pigs’ breeds before you buy as some are more aggressive or more docile than others. If you notice your pigs being aggressive to the chickens, consider setting up different shelter areas.