THE LIFE OF PIGS
Pigs rely on humans to provide them with the housing conditions and materials necessary to develop properly.
Most of the pigs in the EU are raised indoors although sometimes they have access to an outside area too. Different housing and feeding conditions are needed depending on the stage of the pig's life. For example, newborn pigs and their mothers have different needs to fully grown adult boars.
The basic needs of a pig are:
- Food and drink: Pigs need an adequate provision of water and a balanced diet. In the days after birth, piglets need their mother's milk, which contains a special substance called colostrum to protect them from diseases.
- Sleep: Pigs need proper sleep. They often prefer to sleep alongside other pigs.
- Social interaction: Pigs are social animals and they like to live in groups and interact with each other in a friendly way.
- Play and exercise: Pigs are healthier if they can move around and explore.
- Cleaning: Pigs are clean animals (despite the common image of them!) and should be free to wallow in water or mud.
THE LIFE CYCLE OF A PIG
The gestation period (length of pregnancy) of a sow is approximately 112 to 115 days, and the average size of a litter is around 11 piglets. That's a big family! Piglets are born in a "farrowing pen", and they stay there for 21 to 28 days after birth, suckling their mother's milk.
Once the piglets have been weaned, they are moved to a different pen. Here, special care must be taken of them, as they often find the dietary and environmental changes quite stressful.
After about five weeks, when the piglets reach a certain weight (about 30 kg ), they are moved again to new accommodation, so that they have space to finish growing. Generally pigs grow to around 90 kg–160 kg. In their new pens, pigs often have to mix with other pigs from different litters. The person in charge of the pigs must watch carefully to ensure that there is enough space for each pig in order to avoid fights. Good hygiene in the pigsty is also important to ensure their health and wellbeing.
Now, you know a lot about pigs' habits and you are ready to rear them in this game. Good luck!