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Swine Care

Swine care can be fun and rewarding. Whether you are keeping pigs for production, show, or simply as pets, understanding proper swine care is important. You need to know how to feed and house your swine, and what other kinds of care may be necessary.

In terms of nutrition, swine care is fairly easy. Most pigs will eat commercial pig food as the main staple of their diet. In addition to the commercial feed, most pigs also enjoy snacks of vegetables and fruits. The expression “eat like a pig” is not without meaning; be sure not to leave anything around your swine that you do not want them to eat. Pigs are not picky eaters and will usually feast on anything they can. Always be sure your swine have plenty of fresh clean water to drink. Check your pig’s water bowl frequently, especially during warm weather. If your pig is feeling warm, he may overturn his water bowl to cool off in the spillage.

Swine need to have shelter for inclement weather, as well as ample outdoor space in which to play. Indoor spaces need to be well-ventilated to allow plenty of fresh air circulation, while keeping the pigs protected from the elements. Each swine should be afforded a minimum of eight to ten square feet of indoor space for sleeping. This may need to be adjusted for very large hogs, and can be reduced somewhat for young or very small pigs. Straw or hay makes good bedding for swine, but be sure to replace it often, both to prevent them from eating the dirty materials and to keep their sleeping areas clean. Outdoor areas should be securely fenced, and should include about eight to twelve square feet per pig, at a minimum. Pigs do not sweat when they get hot, so in warm weather they need a way to cool off and adjust their internal temperature. They do this by wallowing in mud or water. Be sure to provide your pig with a nice mud hole or small pool in which he can roll around.

Swine generally receive two annual vaccinations, each to prevent against a series of diseases. Swine should also be de-wormed, usually once a year. Check with your veterinarian for recommendations on a de-worming schedule, and on any vaccinations that may be advised in your geographic region.

Swine care can be a fascinating endeavor, especially considering the incredible size transformation the animals make from small piglets to full-grown sows or boars. Understanding proper swine care, including housing, feeding, and medical care, is important whether you are keeping pigs for production, show, or simply as pets.

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