What You Need to Know About Keeping Chickens With Pigs
When it comes to raising livestock and poultry, having the necessary space for your animals is both valuable and essential. Finding animals that can co-exist in the same pasture or enclosure can save you space and resources. There are many different types of animals who can continue to thrive while living with different species.
So, can pigs and chickens live together? Pigs and chickens can live together and provide each other with symbiotic benefits that make these two species a popular choice when it comes to deciding what livestock and poultry can live together. Here are some benefits to housing chickens and pigs together:
- Chickens perform pest control for the pigs
- Pigs provide protection for chickens
- Pigs can root up more food for the chickens
- Pasture utilization can reach its full potential
- You can save space
While pigs and chickens can successfully coexist in the same living space, it’s important to understand their relationship so you can help the animals flourish together. To learn more about keeping chickens and pigs together, read the rest of this article.
Why You Should Keep Pigs and Chickens Together
Not only can chickens and pigs live side by side in harmony, but both species can also benefit from living with the other. Here is a more in-depth look at why you should consider keeping pigs and chickens together:
Chickens Perform Pest Control for Pigs
Many people enjoy having chickens not only for a fresh and steady supply of eggs but also for natural pest control around the yard and property. Chickens like to eat many different types of bugs and pests that may otherwise negatively affect livestock and pets.
Pigs, on the other hand, can make an attractive meal or host to many different types of pests. Pigs are known to be affected by ticks, lice, mites, flies, and mosquitoes. Many of these pests will feed off of the pigs’ blood and can even transmit diseases to the swine.
For this reason, pigs are a type of livestock that can greatly benefit from having chickens around to eat bugs and pests. Chickens can easily spot these critters in the grass or even on the pig itself. Chickens can eat these parasites and pests without being negatively affected.
Pigs Provide Protection For Chickens
One downside to owning chickens is that they are very susceptible to predators. They seem to have a knack for getting snatched even when living in a secured enclosure. While they can fly for short periods of time, a chicken’s main mode of protection is to run away from anything that may pose a threat. Unfortunately, this doesn’t often work out for them.
Another benefit of keeping pigs and chickens together is that pigs can provide your chickens with protection from predators. While pigs won’t usually fight off wild animals from taking your chickens, they do deter predators from coming close. Pigs can be intimidating and foreign to most predatorial animals, so they won’t risk the chance of coming closer.
Pigs Can Help Chickens Find Food
While many chickens receive chicken feed and scratch, they also eat bugs, worms, and other critters throughout the day. Your chickens may become fond of pigs since pigs can actually help them find food.
Rooting is a natural behavior for most pigs in which the pig will dig up dirt using their snouts. Pigs like to root in mud and dirt for numerous reasons. Rooting can cause them comfort and help them cool off from the heat of the day. They may also root to find worms and insects to eat.
When a pig roots, it overturns dirt and brings more bugs and critters to the surface. Often times, chickens will follow behind rooting pigs to pick off new bugs and worms that the pig has managed to dig up.
Have you ever wondered if ducks need a coop? To learn more, check out our article Do Ducks Need a Coop: What You Need to Know.
Chickens and Pigs Will Increase Pasture Utilization
Pasture utilization is, in simple terms, getting the most from your pasture when it comes to feeding your animals. Good pasture utilization should produce quality forage for any animal that lives in the field. This can be difficult to manage with different species of animals, as each species has unique needs when it comes to forage and food.
The great thing about keeping chickens and pigs together is that these two species can effectively work together so you can get the most from your space and resources. Chickens often follow behind pigs to peck at anything the pigs have left behind.
Chickens have no problem being second in line. Once a pig has rooted and turned over the ground, the chickens will stop by to check for freshly-surfaced worms and grubs. If a pig poops, the chickens may peck at the poop looking for morsels. When a pig hasn’t touched its food for a while, the chickens will come and eat, even if it’s rotten. Overall, this enables you to take care of two animals for the price and space of one.
You Can Save Space Keeping Chickens and Pigs Together
One of the biggest benefits of keeping chickens and pigs together is that you can save space. Pastures and space for your animals are valuable, so it’s important to find the most effective ways of using the area you have.
The danger of putting pigs out with other livestock is that the pigs can easily destroy the field with rooting. Likewise, chickens are known to scratch and dig in the dirt, ruining gardens and yards. Placing these two animals together in an enclosure can limit the area damaged by rooting and scratching while giving you more usable land for your other livestock.
Things to Consider Before Keeping Chickens and Pigs Together
While there are many benefits to keeping chickens and pigs together, there are also some potentially negative situations to be aware of before making the step to integrate your animals together. These situations can make your life, and your animal’s life much more stressful and difficult. To learn more, and save yourself from the stress, read on.
Pigs and Chickens Can Transmit Diseases to Each Other
Both pigs and chickens are known to be animal carriers for different types of diseases. While there are a few diseases that chickens and pigs can pass on to humans, these two animals can also pass certain diseases on to each other. If you plan on keeping chickens and pigs together, it’s important to be aware that a disease outbreak can potentially affect both animals.
Pigs May Eat Chickens
Pigs are notorious omnivores. While they will usually stick to rooting and eating the critters found in their rooting, every now and then pigs may get a craving for meat. Unfortunately, your chickens may become the entreé at feeding time if they get in-between the pigs and their food.
The best thing to do if one of your pigs eats a chicken is to immediately separate the two species. If a pig has eaten a chicken once, chances are they’ll do it again. To keep your chickens safe, move them to a new area away from the pigs.
Most pigs won’t randomly eat chickens. You’ll usually have a rogue pig who will decide they want some meat, but usually, pigs may eat chickens if the chickens get in the way at feeding time or if the pigs aren’t getting enough sustenance.
Chickens and Pigs Will Ruin Your Land
Anyone who has pigs knows how destructive they can be to the land. Their rooting can create a muddy uneven mess in your fields. When you place chickens in with pigs, it won’t get any better; it will actually get worse. Between your pigs rooting and your chickens scratching and digging, your enclosure will quickly be destroyed. If you were planning to maintain a healthy lawn with green growing grass, pigs may not be a good choice for you.
Pigs Will Get Into Chicken Coops
Pigs can make a mess from anything, including your chicken coop. Pigs may try to get into the coop and steal chicken eggs or disrupt the chickens. Before you put your chickens and pigs together, it’s important to secure your chicken coop. This can be as easy as putting a fence around the coop, preventing the pigs from getting near. Pigs can root under fences, so be sure to bury the fence a few inches into the ground. This can ensure peace and quiet for your chickens when they go to rest in their coop.
Chickens and pigs can be great and profitable additions to your farm, and housing them together can be a land-saver. Understanding the needs of your livestock can help you take better care of them. Do you have sheep? Check out our article Leaving a Sheep Out in the Rain: Everything You Need to Know.
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