Living on farms and in the wild, pigs are highly intelligent and wonderful animals to be around. While they are often found in domesticated situations, it is important to ask the question: how long do pigs live?
If you are considering bringing a pet pig home to meet your family and live on your farm, knowing how to care for it is equally important as knowing how long it lives. This article will address all of your questions if you read on.
How Long Do Pigs Live?
The natural lifespan of a pig is 15-20 years. They are not often allowed to live twenty years on farms as they are popular livestock animals. If they are being grown for food they are usually slaughtered at six months of age.
Wild pigs only live 4 to 10 years on average based on their environment and possible predators. Pet pigs however can live as long as 20 years or more.
While many pigs can reach large sizes, they are a breed of livestock that is fairly easy to care for. Wild pigs live significantly less time than domesticated ones because they are often victims of predator and prey situations.
The oldest pig in the world was named Baby Jane and lived to be 23 years old. The pig’s age was verified by Guinness World Records. Before Jane, a 23-year-old pig named Ernestine took home the crown of the world’s oldest pig. No pigs have broken the barrier of living past 23 years. Yet, there are several reports of pigs living past 20 years beyond just Baby Jane and Ernestine.
Taking care of your pet pig should be something that you strive for. No matter the age, a pig needs different things at different points in its life cycle. If you have adopted a piglet instead of a grown pig, you may be curious to know what it needs.
The Average Pig Life Cycle
Both wild and domesticated pigs have a similar life cycle. This is what it’s like for them, from birth to adult age.
Female pigs usually give birth to their young after 4 months of pregnancy. Once the sow is done giving birth, these piglets need to feed almost immediately. Piglets also need to be kept warm, as they tend to have difficulties regulating their internal body temperature during the first few weeks after being born.
Newborn pigs need access to their mother or to milk at all times. For the first few weeks of their lives, all they will do is drink milk and sleep. Their mother’s milk is important, as it includes many helpful nutrients and minerals needed to fight infection and allow their babies to grow strong.
Piglets, or Young Adults
Young pigs can be weaned from their mothers after two or three months. They will continue to grow well into their adult years, but it is important to socialize them while they are young. If you are considering adopting a pet pig into a home with other pets, you should allow them to get to know one another at this time.
Young pigs are similar to dogs and cats in that they enjoy affection, attention, and require some level of training. You should provide them with ample bedding, food, and toys, as they can get bored and destructive just like puppies.
Your young pig should be fed commercial grade pig pellets or food, hay, and fresh vegetables. You can even train your pet pig to sleep in a crate, use a litter box, and socializing with your pet pig frequently is always a good idea!
Once a pig reaches sexual maturity, it is considered an adult. This age can vary greatly. It usually happens between 2 to 5 years of age, but it will depend on the individual pig and specific breed of pig. You should consider spaying or neutering your pet pig, just like you would a cat or dog.
Pigs reach a senior age around 8 to 12 years old. Like other animals, pigs are prone to arthritis, tooth decay, and eyesight issues. They usually maintain their reliable and impressive sense of smell well into their old age.
Adult pigs can weigh anywhere from 40 to hundreds of pounds, depending on the breed and gender of the pig. The largest pig breeds can even weigh up to 1,000 pounds on average!
Male pigs usually outweigh female pigs, and keeping your pig at a healthy weight for its specific breed is important. From pot-bellied pig to mini pig, you should always pay attention to what your pig is eating, and how much!
How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Pet Pig
If you have a pet pig, either indoors or on your farm, knowing how you can extend the life of your companion is important. You can improve your pet pig’s quality of life through any of the following tips:
- Make sure they are eating enough vegetables. Your pet pig may eat pig pellets as the majority of its diet, but it still requires a certain amount of vegetables per day. Roughly 25% to 30% of your pigs diet should be vegetable or plant matter. Cabbage, carrots, and peppers are excellent pig veggies.
- Watch out for mischief. Pigs are incredibly intelligent animals, but this doesn’t mean that they stay out of trouble. Quite the opposite! Your pet pig can get up to a lot of trouble if left unattended or improperly trained. For example, your pig can learn how to open cabinets and doors if they observe you doing it and know that there is something they want behind the closed door. Train your pig from a young age, and you will both have a happier life.
- Let them root and sniff. Whether you own an indoor-only pig or not, you should make sure that your pet has the ability to sniff and root around in rocks and dirt. Pigs are natural foragers, as proven by our use of them to look for truffles. You should make sure that your pig has the opportunity to investigate dirt, not only for their development and intelligence, but also for the necessary minerals found in soil. It will help with their help in the long run.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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