By Sarah Windle, Farmed Animal Caretaker
There is no doubt that a potbelly pig can be one of the most fun and interesting additions to your home. Their complex personalities and inquisitive natures make them wonderful human companions. However, many adopters don’t understand the specific needs of pigs and become overwhelmed — as shown by the abundance of pigs that end up at shelters and sanctuaries.
Pigs are social animals who have a complex herd dynamic. To be content, they need the companionship of other living beings, particularly other pigs that speak their same language. Without having other pigs to give them mental and physical stimulation, you will often see pigs getting bored and depressed.
In the wild, pigs are prey animals and stick with a herd to help them feel safe. They have a strict hierarchy that involves an order that determines their eating and sleeping habits. Pigs establish this order by challenging each other with lunges, sideswipes, and sometimes bites. Pigs who have the companionship of other pigs are less likely to perceive humans as part of their herd and exhibit these behaviors toward them.
We also hear of less behavior issues when pigs are kept outdoors where they can engage in their natural behaviors such as rooting, sunbathing, grazing, and wallowing in mud. Pigs in the wild spend most of their days searching for food, and foraging is essential for good digestive health. Mud acts as an insect repellent, sunscreen, and moisturizer, so they should always have access to it in the summer.
Although pigs can thrive living as only pigs in a home with their human companions, most of them will be moved outdoors during their 15-20 year life span. Most of the behavior problems adopters experience from having pigs in the home can be solved by simply placing pigs as outdoor animals from the beginning with another pig as a companion. At Brother Wolf, we encourage pigs to be adopted in pairs so that we can set the pigs and adopters up for success.
All of our pigs will be spayed/neutered, microchipped, vaccinated, and dewormed prior to adoption. To view our adoptable pigs and fill out an application, please visit https://www.bwar.org/adopt/ and use the sidebar on the right to sort by species. If you have further questions about pig adoption or are having issues with a pig in the home, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.