Why Do Pigs Roll in the Mud – Videos


Why Do Pigs Roll in the Mud

Pigs Need Cooling / Sun Burn / Insect Protection

Pigs lack functional sweat glands and are almost incapable of panting. To thermoregulate, they rely on wallowing in water or mud to cool the body. Adult pigs under natural or free-range conditions can often be seen to wallow when air temperature exceeds 68 °F.

Mud is the preferred substrate; after wallowing, the wet mud provides a cooling, and probably protecting, layer on the body. When pigs enter a wallow, they normally dig and root in the mud before entering with the fore-body first. They then wriggle the body back and forth and rub their faces in the mud so all of the body’s surface is covered.

Pigs Wallowing

Before they leave the wallow, they often shake their heads and body, often finishing with rubbing against a tree or a stone next to the wallow. When indoors and hot, domestic pigs often attempt to wallow on wet floor surfaces and in the dunging areas.

Although temperature regulation seems to be the main motivation for wallowing in pigs, they will still wallow in colder weather. While many have suggested that pigs wallow in the mud because of a lack of sweat glands, pigs and other wallowing animals may have not evolved functional sweat glands because wallowing was a part of their behavioral repertoire.

Pigs are genetically related to animals such as hippopotamus and whales. It has been argued that wallowing behavior and the desire to be in shallow, murky water could have been a step to the evolution of whales and other marine mammals from land-dwelling mammals.

Why Pigs Need Mud

They loved to be covered in something

Pigs love to cover in something at all times. This typically is mud however if mud is not available, they will try and cover themselves in whatever they can find. The reason behind this is simply because it helps them avoid sunburns.

Many pigs (especially your pink varieties) can easily sunburn. And if you’ve ever had a sunburn and couldn’t get out of the sun you know how bad it hurts. So, they will cover themselves in whatever they can find to help protect their skin.

As I said before, many people think that pigs are dirty animals. This is not true at all. If you have ever spent any significant time around a pig farm then you probably will notice that they keep their “bathroom” as far away from their eating and drinking area as possible. You can watch them root around in the mud for hours and it’s quite entertaining to watch.

Pot Bellied Pigs Mud Bathing

Thermal Regulation

Pigs and hogs have very few sweat glands in their bodies. So, unlike humans, they are unable to sweat when they get too hot. So, to help keep their bodies at a cooler temperature they will roll in the mud since the moisture helps keep it cooler for a longer period of time.

Nowadays many pig farmers use misters or sprinklers to keep the animals cool. The problem with this is that pure water evaporates much faster than the water in mud does. Our hogs typically will lay in a mud hole the majority of the day if they can.

We don’t discourage the practice, in fact, we encourage it. We want our animals to be as natural as they can be which is why we keep them in dirt and not concrete pens.

Bugs

When a pig is covered in a nice thick layer of mud it helps discourage bugs from biting them. Since typically there is a fair amount of food around them it tends to attract flies and other pests that irritate the pig’s skin. By covering themselves in the mud they give themselves a barrier against those kinds of pests.

Providing Healthy Mud

Make sure to prioritize the maintenance of a muddy area for pigs along with access to clean water and shade. Plan on routinely adding fresh water and agitation of the soil in the muddy area; pigs, though quite the hygienic species, have been known to use their mud as a restroom.

Pig Mud Holes

Provide adequate water


Keeping troughs filled with cool drinking water is one of the easiest ways to help pigs beat the heat. The hotter it gets, the more important it is to ensure pigs have adequate access to an abundance of fresh, cool water.

If there are 20 pigs in a pasture and just one waterer, the pigs will fight over it. You have to provide a sufficient number of waterers to give all of the pig’s access to freshwater. Check the waterers often to ensure they’re working.

Adjust feeds.


When temperatures rise, pigs eat less. Instead of offering the same feed, they’ve been getting all winter, it’s a good idea to provide a more nutrient-dense feed during the summer months.

“If pigs eat less of their winter feed, they aren’t getting the nutrients they need. You need to offer feed that is higher in protein and vitamins to help compensate for their reduction in food intake.

Too much fiber during the summer can lead to overheating.

The digestion of fiber releases heat during metabolism, which helps keep pigs warm during the winter but it’s a disadvantage in the summer.

Make mud.


Pigs wallow in mud to cool themselves. To ensure there is enough mud in their pastures, Hunter Cattle Co. keeps a constant trickle of water flowing. The cool water fills the mud holes or wallows, to give the pigs a place to cool down. Mud offers another benefit: When it dries,

it provides a protective barrier against the sun. “Mud is a pig’s form of SPF. To encourage pigs to create wallows, sprinklers are a better option than misters. Misters actually increase the humidity in the air and make it harder for pigs to cool themselves.

Bigger droplets of water or a slow trickle from a hose is better than using misters because it keeps the humidity down.

Offer shelter from the heat.


Providing shaded areas where pigs can seek cover from the sun will help keep them from overheating. Pigs will get a sunburn if they can’t get out of the sun. In the heat, the herd can retreat to the forest.

In addition to protection from the sun, Fret well believes pigs welcome the chance to root around for grubs, persimmons, and acorns in the shade. If there is a choice between conventional shelter and woods, we will always go with woods. In the absence of canopy cover, a manmade shelter or barn will do. Stick with materials like galvanized steel, which deflects the sun’s rays.

Install fans.


If your pigs take refuge from the heat in a barn, using fans to circulate the air on hot days can help them cool off. You can’t count on natural breezes to blow through the barn. A fan will generate air movement to reduce heat and humidity.

Farm / Miniture Pig Table 13 Breeds

Breed of PigMature Weight LifespanFeed Per DayCost
Yorkshire450 - 650 lbs15 - 20 years6-8 lbs$ 60 - $ 100
Red Tamworth (Bacon Pigs)500 - 600 lbs15 - 20 years6-8 lbs$ 60 - $ 100
Duroc500 - 600 lbs15 - 20 years6-8 lbs$ 60 - $ 100
Berkshire600 lbs15 - 20 years6-8 lbs$ 60 - $ 100
Hampshire500 lbs15 - 20 years6-8 lbs$ 60 - $ 100
Saddleback600 lbs15 - 20 years6-8 lbs$ 60 - $ 100
Potbelly pigs150 lbs15 - 20 years3-4 lbs$ 300 - $ 1000
American Mini70 - 150 lb15 - 20 years3-4 lbs$ 300 - $ 1000
Mulefoot - Mini60 - 110 lbs15 - 20 years3-4 lbs$ 300 - $ 1000
Ossabaw Island Hog100 - 150 lbs15 - 20 years3-4 lbs$ 300 - $ 1000
American Guinea Hog150 - 300 lbs15 - 20 years3-4 lbs$ 300 - $ 1000
KuneKune Breed140 - 220 lbs15 - 20 years3-4 lbs$ 300 - $ 1000
Meishan Breed150 lbs15 - 20 years3-4 lbs$ 300 - $ 1000

World Pig Breeder Associations

Pig AssociationLocationLink
National Swine RegistryUnited StatesNSR
American BerkshireIllinoisAB
Livestock ConservancyNorth CarolinaLC
American Mini Pig AssociationUnited StatesAMPA
Southern California Association of Pot Bellied PigsCaliforniaSCAPBP
British Pig AssociationUKBPA
National Pig AssociationUKNPA
Canadian Swine Breeders AssociationsCanadaCSBA
Australian Pig Breeders AssociationsAustraliaAPBA

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