It is true that some animals such as cows, goats, sheep, horses, and other animals can be raised together to save space and costs. All of these animals can live in harmony on the same pasture and do not tend to bother one another.
So, how about pigs and goats? Can pigs and goats live together? Keep reading on to find out.
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Can pigs and goats live together?
Pigs and goats can live happily together if they share a large “play yard”, where they have little chance of encountering each other.
There are plenty of stories from farmers telling their pigs and goats can live together as a big and happy family.
In the daytime, the goats go browsing while the lazy pigs tend to sleep most of the time. When the night comes, the goats go to bed while the pigs become more active and make some noise.
So, if you have a large farm, you can rest assured and probably do not have to worry about a battle between those animals.
What to notice when letting pigs and goats live together?
If your farm is not very large for the number of pigs and goats you have, then letting pigs and goats share the same space is not a good idea.
Pigs can eat baby goats
Unlike goats, pigs can eat meat as they are omnivores. Although their diet consists primarily of plants, they can pose a predatory threat to your goats.
Pigs may opportunistically prey on the goats housed with them, especially newborn ones. It can be challenging to identify a baby goat killed by a pig because they consume their entire prey. So, when you let the two species share the same space, you have to separate them when goats give birth to their offspring.
Aggressive pigs might attack the goats
Pigs have dominant behavior and they tend to challenge other animals or people to show the other animal who is boss.
If a pig finds out about a creature nearby and determines it is weaker than itself, it may just decide to lung at them, or nip at them to get attention. Pigs also play these games with their peers.
This may seem hilarious but when they do this to you and you move away, they think they won and they will become your boss. And this behavior can be very dangerous for your goats because pigs’ teeth are capable of tearing through goat flesh.
This dominant behavior stems from the fact that pigs are prey animals. It means they need a leader in their herd because in the wild the leader shows them places to eat, sleep and drink that is safe from predators.
This instinct still remains in our domesticated pigs, they have to know who the leader is; otherwise, they will not feel safe.
Besides, your goats may be aggressors who might tease the pigs. This can be explained by the fact that goats are notorious for head butting. When these headbutters get into the habit of trying to play with the pigs, the pigs will find this as an act of aggression and may retaliate.
The dominant behavior of the pigs will be clearer when they have piglets around. A mother pig will attack anything they consider a threat and this would put your goat’s lives at risk. Pigs are heavy animals who can do serious damage to a goat if they decide to charge or bite.
Read more: Can Goats and Dogs live together?
Different feeding requirements
Feedings present a challenge, too. Each animal has distinct dietary requirements, here we only focus on manufactured feeds.
You can imagine a situation when there are two feeding spots are set up, one for the pigs and one for the goats. Both animals are adventurous and thus might end up getting into each other’s feeding area.
This might lead to digestive problems which emanate from the animals eating what is not really meant for them. Some farmers have noted that if goats eat pig feed or drink water contaminated by pigs, they can experience adverse reactions such as diarrhea.
And once the pigs are fed with meat, they can get very brutal. If you want to see this in action, you can throw a snake inside a pigpen. They will fight aggressively against each other to kill and eat the snake.
So, what does this mean? Your goats may be injured if they get in between the pigs and some food they love.
4. Pigs are typically destructive
It is common thing for pigs to destroy things within their vicinity. While goats like browsing tender twigs, shoots, leaves, and other plant material, pigs tend to root through the dirt and enjoy consuming various roots, bulbs, and even insects they come across.
So, when being kept in a confined space, this habit of the pigs will destroy pastures, wreck soil structure and deprive the goats of their food source.
Moreover, if your pigs dig holes, your goats risk tripping in the holes and being injured. Lastly, depending on the protective barriers used, they can be destroyed by pigs which end up exposing both of them to predators or even theft.
Sharing of parasites and diseases
When living together, pigs and goats not only share space but also share diseases and parasites.
Pigs are known to carry and transmit a lot of common parasites and diseases which can spread from one species to another. This may occur either through direct contact or by ingestion of water or feed contaminated with pig feces, urine, or respiratory secretions.
The scenario would be very complicated when animals suffer from or exhibit unfamiliar signs and symptoms. Then, the effective control of diseases and parasites becomes very difficult to handle and costly.
Pigs and goats are unlikely to get on well with each other if you put them in the same pasture. Although there are some cases where they can be completely fine, without your supervision, you will never know if you can trust pigs with goats. If you are about to co-pasture pigs and goats, especially in a crowded area, well, this is a challenge that is worth trying.