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How Pigs Get Along With Other Species

A young pig next to a tennis ball being confronted by a black and brown dog.
They may look cute together, but pigs and dogs probably aren’t the safest companions!

Updated September 18, 2020

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If you’re caring for pigs with limited space, you may be wondering how they get along with other species of animals. Because individual animals each have their own unique personalities, preferences, and histories of trauma, this resource may not apply universally to all pigs and the other species they interact with, but it should provide a good starting point in regards to how well a pig will get along with other animals. If you’re planning on keeping a pig with anyone new, regardless of species, make sure to carefully monitor their interactions until you are satisfied that there will be no trouble when you go off to attend to other sanctuary needs!

Tusk Troubles

It is important to note that pig tusks can be quite sharp, and a pig is quite capable of causing serious damage to other pigs and other species of animals if they’re upset. For this reason, it’s very important to keep their tusks trimmed to a safe length and monitor any new interactions between pigs and other residents at first to ensure that there will not be a dangerous confrontation!

Pigs And Other Pigs

Two pigs touch snouts outdoors.
Lizzie and Felix come nose to nose at Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary!

Typically, a pig should have no problem living with other pigs (and in fact, this would be preferable to a pig living alone), provided that they have enough space, food, and water so they don’t feel the need to compete. Pigs are inclined to follow a social hierarchy; once they’ve established who’s in charge (sometimes through a brief confrontational encounter), they will typically peacefully coexist.

Pigs And Other Farmed Sanctuary Mammals

A baby goat wearing a colorful coat meets three pigs through a metal fence.
A curious Sundance and Pedro get to know one another at Edgar’s Mission. A baby goat is probably not the best fit for pig resident cohabitation but there may be adults who prefer the company of a particular companion that isn’t their own species.

For other mammals, it truly depends upon the individual personalities at play. Although some pigs and other sanctuary mammals such as cows, goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas, donkeys, and horses can live harmoniously on the same pasture and do not tend to bother one another, many sanctuaries have found difficulty keeping them together without personality clashes. If you are keeping pigs together with other mammals, it is important to employ fencing that is appropriate and safe for all species being kept in the same pasture. Feeding schedules might be complicated to coordinate depending on how you manage the pig’s food, so even if you’re having everyone in the same pasture, you’ll probably want to keep them in separate living quarters! If you are keeping pigs with sheep or goats that are prone to headbutting, it’s very important that you ensure that the headbutter does not get into the habit of trying to play with the pigs. More likely than not, the pig will find this to be an act of aggression and may retaliate.

Pigs And Farmed Sanctuary Birds

There have been reports of birds being killed in a sanctuary environment by pigs. These incidents occurred between chickens and younger pigs who were apparently trying to play with the birds, feral pigs sharing space with birds at a sanctuary, as well as (rarely), individual adult domestic pigs with strong territorial impulses. It does not appear that adult domestic pigs are commonly known to intentionally cause bird deaths, but you should always exercise caution where possible when it comes to protecting resident lives and be mindful of the potential consequences of species cohabitation.

For these reasons, we do not recommend housing birds with pigs, especially feral pigs or piglets.

While non-territorial adult domestic pigs could technically share outdoor space with birds, provided that all species have their specific needs taken care of, (like dust baths accessible for chickens or turkeys or accessible ponds for ducks and geese),  you must be aware that harm could very well occur in this cohabitation model, even if the residents seem to get along. If you do keep pigs with birds, ensure that there is plenty of space to avoid any situations where a bird (especially a mobility impaired resident) might get caught underfoot from a pig. Pigs are also (quite reasonably) particular eaters who will try not to eat pasture or food that has been defecated on by another animal, including birds, so if you’re going to keep pigs and birds together, it would be preferable to find a solution to keeping the pig’s living spaces clean! 

Pigs And Dogs

As a general rule, it’s not a good idea to let dogs interact with any animal at a farmed animal sanctuary. As the species in your care are prey animals, there is a high chance that there will be a negative reaction, either from the dog or the resident, and it is never worth risking an animal’s safety when there is any possibility to avoid conflict.

When it comes to letting dogs spend time around pigs, you should exercise extreme caution if for some reason the two species need to share space. Some dogs and pigs have been known to get along very well, without any issues. However, other personalities might not ever be safe around one another, especially dogs who are more prone to chasing or aggression. Never, ever leave a dog and pig together unsupervised; some dogs may live peacefully with pigs one day and decide to chase the pigs the next day. Many pigs would be too skittish or afraid to ever peacefully be in the same pasture as a dog.

Pigs And Cats

Pigs should be able to coexist fairly easily with cats; most likely they’ll do their own thing apart from one another.

Pigs And Wildlife

Given the large pasture spaces pigs typically require, they will inevitably share their space with other animals who call the sanctuary grounds home. In most cases, pigs and wildlife can safely co-exist, but there are a few things to consider:

Predators Of Pigs

Certain animals are especially dangerous to pigs and will attack or try to eat them if given the chance. This includes stray dogs, coyotes, wolves, wild pigs, cougars, bobcats, and bears. Some larger birds such as owls, vultures, eagles, and even ravens have been known to attack vulnerable pigs and piglets, and piglets can be vulnerable to smaller predators such as foxes, raccoons, and rats. The best defense is a properly monitored outdoor living space, as well as fencing and an indoor living space designed with predator protection in mind. This includes fencing that cannot be dug under, climbed, or jumped over, predator-secure latches, and vigilance! Larger animals in the same pasture can also discourage predators from hanging around.

Other Wildlife

While there may be specific considerations based on your area, aside from potential predators, pigs can typically share outdoor living spaces with wildlife without issue. However, one thing to keep in mind is that pigs may eat the bodies of deceased wildlife, which could potentially cause disease, or if bones are ingested, could result in gastrointestinal issues. It’s a good idea to regularly check outdoor pasture spaces and remove any potential hazards.

Indoor spaces may need more attention because wild birds and rodents may take up residence inside, which depending on the species and population size may cause certain issues and could potentially spread disease. Rats can be especially destructive if they have access to electrical wires or any insulation, so it’s important to take measures to deter them as much as possible and to protect areas where they could cause serious issues. Large rat populations could also pose a safety risk to vulnerable residents who they could seriously injure. For more information on compassionate wildlife strategies, check out our resource here!

SOURCES:

What Are Predators Of Pigs? | Reference

Can You Put Pigs & Horses On The Same Pasture? | Moms (Non-Compassionate Source)

Concerns with Keeping Different Types of Livestock Together | Knoji (Non-Compassionate Source)

Non-Compassionate Source?

If a source includes the (Non-Compassionate Source) tag, it means that we do not endorse that particular source’s views about animals, even if some of their insights are valuable from a care perspective. See a more detailed explanation here.

Updated on August 30, 2021

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