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10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Pigs

Friday, January 19, 2018

Just yesterday, we picked up Molly and Charlie and brought them to their forever home at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary [Read their story here]. While their unique personalities are beginning to shine through, we’re reminded of just how special pigs are. And we want to make sure the world knows that, too! So here are some interesting facts so you can learn a bit more about this pair and our other pig friends at the Sanctuary.

1. Given the chance and with proper care, pigs can live anywhere from 10-15 years. At Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, our oldest pig is Andy who is 12 years old!

2. Pigs use mud as a way to protect themselves from sunburn, to stay cool, and to keep bugs off.

And despite spending time in the mud…

3. Pigs are very clean animals. They won’t go to the bathroom where they sleep or eat.  Our pigs build their sleeping nests in the corners of their barns and while they switch nests amongst each other throughout the day, each of them respects that these areas are poo- and pee-free zones.  Their feeding paddock is similarly pristine!

4. Pigs are very expressive and greet one another enthusiastically by touching snouts and vocalizing. They have an incredible sense of hearing and can distinguish very subtle differences in tone. They employ more than 20 different sounds (with additional subtypes) to communicate during feeding, courtship, exploring, and other social activities. These vocalizations enable pigs to convey to others their location, mood, well-being, and desires.

5. Natural pig behaviors include rooting, wallowing, exploring, nest-building, and foraging in natural social groups – something the pigs at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary have the joy of experiencing every day!

6. Highly social animals, pigs in nature live in small, matriarchal groups called sounders, typically composed of 2-6 sows and their young. Within the sounder, if the other sows are also nursing young, mother pigs may share caretaking duties and even nurse one another’s babies, so that sows going foraging have more time to find food. Siblings also form close relationships, and often maintain these bonds into adulthood. Pig families we’ve rescued, like Momma and her five children and Hurley’s family, are growing up together in peace and spend their days with those they love most.

7. Pigs are remarkable creatures– joyful, curious, loyal, and widely considered by animal researchers to be the most intelligent domestic animals on the planet. In tests designed to measure intelligence and problem-solving skills, pigs consistently surpass both dogs and three-year old children. Some researchers believe that, like humans and other highly intelligent mammals, pigs possess a “theory of mind,” the ability to attribute mental states to others, and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one’s own. It is perhaps for this reason that pigs are often capable of acts of profound empathy.

8. Pigs give birth after 114 days of pregnancy (3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days). In a natural habitat, a few days before birth pregnant sows leave the group and begin to search, sometimes for miles, for a safe, secluded site in which to build a nest. Often, they prefer dry, wooded areas sheltered by branches. Once the site has been chosen, the sow constructs a soft, comfortable nest by digging a hollow in the earth, filling it with grass, leaves and twigs, and lining it with branches.

9. Pigs are identical to dogs in their love of giving and receiving affection. In healthy environments, pigs form deep and lifelong friendships not only with other pigs, but with humans and other species too. All of our pigs have deep friendships with our caregivers – they grunt hello, enjoy cuddling and spending quality time together, and let our caregivers perform necessary yet sometimes uncomfortable treatments because they trust them.

10. Pigs and all farmed animals are deserving of love and kindness, just like our companion animal friends. By going vegan, you spare 100-plus animals — including pigs — each year. For more information on how to help, visit the Going Vegan section on our website.

All of our pigs at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary need sponsors, especially our two new rescues, Molly and Charlie. To sponsor any of our wonderful pigs, please visit our sponsor an animal page. Your support will also allow us to continue educating people on the plight of farmed animals and how to help.

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