While it is entirely possible to co-pasture hogs and goats, there are a few aspects you’ll need to carefully consider and probably a few tweaks you’ll need to make to your infrastructures and habits.
There are some significant drawbacks to keeping them together, though, which we’ll discuss below. Our mission here isn’t to convince you one way or another but to give you as much helpful information as possible so you can make an informed decision.
If you want to get into polyculture farming, we hope this is helpful for you. With that said, let’s get into it because it’s a really interesting discussion!
How To Pasture Pigs and Goats Together
The More Space, The Better
While you can keep pigs and goats together in a small dry lot (a space with gravel or bare dirt ground and no grass), it will be a little more difficult. The more space you can provide the two species, the better off they will be.
If you have them in close proximity, you should pay attention to how they interact and make sure everything is amicable as possible here. Goats can puncture hogs with their horns, and pigs can tear apart a goat with their sharp teeth.
Even if your space doesn’t start out as a dry lot, it will quickly turn into one (or a mud lot) with the introduction of pigs. While goats tend to pack the ground down with their little hooves and heavyweight, pigs dig and uproot everything with their snouts. Be warned, this rooting behavior is very destructive to your ground, and they will try to dig under their fence. You can bury metal fencing a few feet underground, or more effectively; you can run a strand of electric wire about six to eight inches above the ground on the fence’s edge
Prepare for this to happen, and be ready to really increase the amount of forage you give to your goats. The pigs will probably wipe out most of the green resources in your smaller pastures or pens.
On pasture, pigs need about 20 square feet of pen per pig; goats need 25 square feet per goat.
Accommodate Both Species Wants and Needs
Hogs need a lot more access to shade than goats in the summer because their bare skin is exposed to the sun, and they cannot sweat. It’s best if you can give pigs at least one area that is a clean concrete slab and one space that is damp and muddy for cooling off.
A general rule with pigs is that individuals under 50 pounds need help staying warm; those over 150 pounds need help staying cool.
For the Pigs
Despite common belief, pigs are clean creatures with a method to their madness. They tend to relieve themselves near their water source to keep their feed and beds dry.
Keep their water far away from their bedding and feed troughs. It keeps the space cleaner and encourages them to move around more. If possible, use a nipple water system because they will root and flip just about every other water container you provide (adding to the mud and muck).
Pigs will eat hay (and other forage), but they need a lot more concentrate (grain) than fiber (hay).
For the Goats
Goats need dry places in their enclosure to keep their feet in good shape. If possible, provide lots of rocks– large and small– to keep their feet trimmed and out of the mud.
Goats are much more active than pigs, and they need more enrichment opportunities. Tires, boulders, stumps, logs, and platforms are ideal for goats to play on a climb. If you think of goat enclosures somewhat as a playground for an elementary school, you’ll set yourself and your goats up for success.
Pigs tend to sleep on the ground, but goats want to be elevated on some kind of a platform; catering to that is great for their overall well-being.
Accommodating Goat and Pig Diets
Pigs will eat hay (and other forage), but they need a lot more concentrate (grain) than fiber (hay). A pig’s diet should contain 5% or less fiber. Their grain intake should be between five to seven pounds a day.
Goats, on the other end of the spectrum, need to eat 3 to 5% of their body weight in forage every day. Their grain intake should be minimal, about a pound or less daily. Some homesteaders choose to feed hay at consistent intervals throughout the day, but I prefer to provide free access to forage at all times. It’s all a matter of personal preference; as long as they get in sufficient roughage, the feeding method doesn’t matter.
Look into purchasing or building a creep feeder for your goats because they are notorious for wasting hay. Hay nets are dangerous for all goats, whether they have horns or not, so skip those. It’s just too easy for them to get tangled up in those.
If you’re going to house goats and pigs together, it would be in your best interest to create individual feed stations for the two species. Goats will gorge (and harm) themselves on that much grain, while pigs will become malnourished if they overeat on hay.
Simply lock each specie in its respective feed station, let them eat, and then turn them loose back in their shared enclosure as they finish eating.
Fencing Needs for Pigs and Goats
Pigs, as shocking as this may sound, are best contained with hog panels or hog wire.
Woven wire fence is also good, as are some types of electric fences, as long as the current is strong enough and there are enough wires appropriately spaced out. If you want to go the electric route, make sure you have eight to ten strands with the second and fourth wires hot (electric) to contain the pigs. Hot wires should be ten and eighteen inches off the ground. To hold in younger piglets, run a hot wire six inches off the ground.
Woven wire is also preference for containing goats. If possible, choose something that has a spacing of fewer than four inches– this will keep goats from getting their heads stuck in the fence.
If you want to contain goats in an electric fence, you’ll need a minimum of five wires and a good current. Electric is a good way to protect your goats from predators too.
Separate Hogs and Goats During Kidding Season
Pigs are notorious for killing and eating the young of other animals. When your does get around four months pregnant (one month before giving birth), it would be wise to remove the hogs, or the pregnant does from the shared enclosure. Do not return the kids to the pen until they are much larger and not appealing to the sometimes carnivorous hogs.
Goats should be safe around farrowing hogs and not pose a threat to the piglets.
Consider Pasture Rotation For Land Clearing
If you have more than one pen or large pastures that you can subdivide, you should consider rotational grazing.
Running goats into a subdivided pasture lot will give them the chance to eat down a lot of the brush and vegetation. This is great for the goats’ nutritional needs, and it’s enriching for them too. After the goats have left most of the green pretty bare, move them onto the next section and bring in the pigs.
Pigs will root, till, and decimate the smaller plants, shrubs, and young trees. If you plan on clearing land for building space or a garden, this is a great way to do so without much effort on your behalf. It’s also a good method for thinning forests, making them easier to navigate and see through.
Earn Cash By Running Pigs and Goats As a Clean-Up Crew
If your wheels weren’t already turning, I want to help you out here– you can get people to pay you to feed your animals!
Eventually, you will run out of areas on your property you want to clear. When that happens, you can move on to feeding your animals on others’ land.
Can Goats and Pigs Make Each Other Sick?
Yes, goats and pigs can absolutely make each other sick, and in severe ways. Pigs can transmit 80% of the diseases harmful to goats (and sheep). Goats can get the following illnesses from feral swine:
- Toxoplasmosis from contaminated feed or water. It will cause abortion, stillbirths, and birth defects.
- Salmonellosis from contaminated feces or feed. It causes fever, lethargy, dehydration, stillbirth, and abortions.
- Pathogenic e. Coli from contaminated food, water, or feces. It causes lethargy and diarrhea.
- Tuberculosis from direct contact with infected pigs or contaminated food or water. It results in weight loss, fevers, diarrhea, and constipation.
- Brucellosis from direct contact with infected animals, aborted fetuses, afterbirth, placenta, or vaginal discharge. It makes your goats have fevers, abortions, swollen udders, and swollen testicles.
- Q Fever from ingestion, inhalation, or direct contact with birthing fluids, milk, feces, or urine. It results in anorexia and abortions.
- Leptospirosis from indirect or direct contact with infected urine. It makes goats lose milk production, causes abortion, and causes death.
- Pseudorabies from nose-to-nose contact, contaminated water, feed, or infected tissues. It makes goats itchy and weak, convulse, breathe rapidly, and then die.
The United States Department of Agriculture strongly encourages farmers to keep wild (feral) hogs away from domestic goats. I haven’t been successful in seeing anything from there about domestic pigs and domestic goats together.
However, the Noble Research Institute says adaptive grazing techniques can be beneficial for animals and pastures alike.
Keeping Goats and Pigs Together: Final Thoughts
Keeping goats and pigs together appears to be a more labor-intensive way to operate your farm or homestead, but that doesn’t necessarily make it incorrect. It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide if this practice is suitable for your property, schedule, and agricultural needs.
What are your thoughts on running different species together? Did we miss any important points? We would love to hear from you!