Chickens and Pigs


Hen on Sow

Over the years I have heard a lot of people say that pigs will kill chickens and they can’t be kept together. We keep our pigs and chickens together, along with ducks and geese and in the past guineas. They do fine.
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I think the reason some people have had problems with pigs killing chickens has to do with them keeping the pigs penned up. Our pigs are out on pasture. They have plenty to eat, unlimited free feed of pasture/hay and whey. The result is they’re not that hungry.

Additionally, by penning the pigs people may be creating corners and tight spots where chickens can’t get away from a nosey pig. Then between the pig being hungry, bored and the chicken not being able to easily get away they get chicken PgNuggets. Since our chickens can easily get away, and they’re highly mobile, the pigs never learn to hunt chickens.

The good thing about keeping pigs and chickens together is the chickens clean up after the pigs, break up manure patties and eat flies. This organic pest control works wonderfully and avoids the need to resort to pesticides.

Also see: Of Tiller Pigs & Weeder Chickens

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Tiny Cottage: 71°F/67°F

Daily Spark: If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. -Steven Wright

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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17 Responses to Chickens and Pigs

  1. Amy says:

    Walter-

    Are these chickens for meat or eggs or both? I love the thought of the multi species together for our hens but I assume if we had a place for the hens to lay inside the pig pasture, the pigs would eat the eggs… Also, how do you introduce chickens into a pig pasture?

    • The primary purpose of our chickens is pest control. They eat a wide variety of insects as well as mice. The chickens also break apart manure and smooth the soil. We have almost all hens of traditional egg varieties such as the NH Red, RI Red, Araucana, Orpington, Sussex and such. We keep a few roosters as they serve as part of the guard forces to keep hawks and ravens at bay or at least raise the alert which brings in the dogs and scatters the hens and piglets to cover. We do eat a few chickens, mostly in the fall to cull down the flocks for over wintering. Extra roosters get gone first. Roosters who crow too much get culled too.

      As to introducing the chickens, they simply have a base roost area and fan out from there. They free range, ignoring the smooth wire fences and following the herds of grazing animals since the larger livestock stir up insects and drop interesting things (poop). The hens mostly lay in the coop which the pigs don’t have access to. If they lay elsewhere the pigs clean up the eggs. Most of the eggs go to pigs, mostly to weaners, so this is fine.

      • Andrew says:

        Does the coop move as well so it can be rotated to the pigs’ paddock or is it stationary and the chickens naturally follow the pigs even though the coop may be a good distance away? Do you try to keep the chickens out of vegetable plots that have been planted?

        • We have it setup both ways with moveable and stationary coops for egg laying. We fence the chickens out of the gardens other than the occasional few I’ll put in if I see squash bugs or the like.

  2. Susan Lea says:

    We just put our two gilts in the pasture last week. We have a chicken tractor with 15 young birds in it and a spare duck that mostly lives under a little raised chicken coop. The pigs don’t seem interested in either. We had been told that pigs would eat chickens, but the guy we bought ours from pointed out that his pigs, chickens and goats all free-range together and no one eats anyone!

  3. chad stamps says:

    Our first year we actually had chickens who would sleep on top of the pigs while they were sleeping in their shelter. I’ve been planning to set up our next batch of meat birds with a trailer as their coop and move that between the pigs and cow/sheep.

  4. Larry says:

    Any particular reason you stopped raising guineas or were the chickens sufficient to your needs?

  5. Riva says:

    We are trying to integrate some birds into our pasture system and I have a few questions:
    Is the bird coop outside of the electric fencing or is it protected some other way?
    Do the birds poop in the pig food (whey, mash…) at all? Are pigs alright with chicken manure?
    Do you house your ducks in the same coop structure?
    Thanks in advance! Your blog is one of the best info sources out there for us right now. : )

    • Our chicken quarters are within our pastures so ‘inside the electric fencing’ with the pigs. Chicken poops aren’t a problem. In the winter we tend to house the ducks and geese separately from the chickens but not always. In the warm months they don’t tend to use coops.

  6. Melissa says:

    In an effort to relocate the laying flock away from our main house, I wanted to build a new coop on a high spot far into the woods, in an area we are clearing. I am curious as to if you provide a means of lighting for your chickens, or do they stop laying come molt and winter?? I would like to use solar lighting for mine, any suggestions?

    Thanks.

    • A small solar panel and an LED light might work quite well. We provide light during the long winter nights and this past year we used LED lights. Some of them are too dim but this year I was able to find bright LED lights that worked quite well for the chickens.

  7. Heidi says:

    We started raising pigs 3 months ago on pasture (about 1/2 acre for 3 pigs), along with commercial grower. There is still a lot of brush in the pasture. What are your thoughts about introducing a couple of young brush goats? Can they safely coexist? Also, the 6 month old guilt is at least twice as big as the 2barrows which are about 6 weeks younger. Their slow growth is frustrating ..are we doing something wrong? The three of them eat about 8-10 lbs of feed per day.

    • We have successfully raised pigs, ducks, sheep, geese and chickens together for years. It is key to separate the ewes during lambing for a week or so such that the newborn lambs get their feet on the ground. If you’re feeding grain then you may have an issue with the goats wanting to eat the pig’s grain.

  8. Jeanette says:

    Do you have a problem with the pig eating the chicken & ducks feed? I have 11 chickens that free range with our 1 pet pig,normally our 8 ducks are in the dam during the day & they go back to the run area once I’ve locked up the pig for his dinner but Sok. I. Thinking about having all the animals together in The afternoon or maybe even putting a dam in the animal compound area that is 80 mtrs x 50 mtrs,and having everyone together almost all day except for feeding times.

    • What?!? You mean there is a special feed for chickens and ducks? Crimmany, I never knew that… Just joking. But for real, I don’t feed ours any commercial feed. I expect them to work for a living. Same for the pigs. Sometimes they grab a little bread which I use for training all the animals but mostly they get their food from the pastures. If you must feed them separately then creeps and hurdles may help.

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