How safe are pigs to have around the homestead?

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by jimandpj, Aug 25, 2006.

  1. jimandpj

    jimandpj Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    243
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Location:
    Near Louisville, KY
    So what is the real scoop on the safety of keeping pigs? My husband was always told they were very dangerous. We have very young children, and he is concerned that they are just not safe to keep around.

    What do ya'll think?
    PJ
     
  2. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,538
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Location:
    Victoria Australia
    We didnt think about this when we got our pigs...Large White Landrace cross...hence Porky the boar is no longer with us. If your children are quite young then I would suggest a small breed probably pot or mini. They are really fun to have around...as long as you set your place up properly to contain them...before you get them. Our sows I would not consider dangerous though.
     

  3. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    Pigs are no more dangerous than any other large farm animal. Heck I've had more of a problem in my life with big Tom turkeys attacking me than with my pigs. Properly fed hogs in a good pen or fence will usually not pose a problem. I let my kids come in the hog pen with me on a regular basis. There are of course exceptions. One of the first pigs we got was a large gilt and she got mean on us. I had to ban the kids from even walking up to the gate. She quickly was made into pork chops. I haven't had a problem with any others. The pigs raised as babies on our farm are very friendly. If you have horses or cows a pig is no more dangerous than one of them. I'd recommend raising pigs to anyone.

    Heather
     
  4. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    726
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Location:
    Washington
    We have a little menegarie of animals here. Goats, pigs, chickens, ducks, rabbits. Rabbits are by far the easiest to raise, but I think pigs are a pretty near close second. But if you want temperament - the pigs beat out the bunnies any day.

    I love our pigs. My youngest is 7 and he goes in with our gilts all the time with no problems. I would not put a preschooler in there lone, just because of the sheer girth of the pigs. And as with any animal you need to be cautious because you never know.

    There are many a day that I have considered drastically reducing our other animals and getting more pigs! They are so fun! just be sure to fence them properly.

    kids
     
  5. Misty

    Misty Misty Gonzales

    Messages:
    1,027
    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    CO
    You have to watch like any animal. I would cull for disposition, however, my husband doesn't see it that way. If I really thing there is a threat to my kids however, the hog will go (and has gone) away.
    They are easy. My daughter is more comfortable with a pig than a horse.
     
  6. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,844
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    How safe is it to keep a bull? A bloody site less safe than it is to keep a pig.
    Use the same common sense as you would with any animal on the farm. They should be kept in well fenced paddocks and the kids should be told in no uncertain terms that they stay away from them - and this goes for all animals that are considerably larger than them.

    All our children grew up with pigs as part of our stock - they are still alive.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  7. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,869
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Earth
    We raise feeder pigs to market weight, so never have any really big pigs around. I have however been around 5-600 lb pigs and was never concerned for my safety. Good sense and supervision is the rule with any animal. With good housing/fencing pigs pose no more issues than any other domestic animal, less than many. I've had blood drawn from the stupid rabbits - none from pigs. Bruises from the goats / sheep - none from the pigs. If I were limited to raising only one species of livestock it would be no contest - I'd keep pigs. As with all animals there are different personalities; and some pigs can be aggressive. A 200 lb pig is a very powerful animal and I certainly wouldn't allow a small child in a pen unsupervised with pigs. My 12 year old DD feeds and interacts with our pigs routinely and her friends always want to go play with the piggies when they come over. The worst event that has ever occurred is one of her friends getting her boots stuck in the muck and having to walk out of the pen in her socks - they still recall that story and laugh about it...
     
  8. Firefly

    Firefly Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,386
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    Keene-Green-Bratt Triangle
    The scare stories are of farmers falling or being knocked down, going unconscious, and being eaten. Living alone with no one to rescue me from such situations, I have taken this seriously. I generally don't go inside their pen unless they are eating, becasue at that time they'll ignore me unless curiosity gets the better of them. Sometimes just after they've eaten, but never if they're hungry. They aren't mean; in fact they are super sweet, friendly, and so lovable that I'm keeping one to breed. But they do get rambunctious and push against you, and have almost pushed me over a couple of times. They also like to nibble at bare toes, and feet in general. But they eat out of my hand, which I used to flatten like with feedinig horses, but now just hold out the food. I would teach kids the flat-hand method, though. Those teeth are big!

    I'd definitely start with a couple of piglets. I guarantee that if you get pigs, the hardest part will be sending them to freezer camp!
     
  9. SpringCreek

    SpringCreek Active Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    Indiana
    I thought I was the only one! We had a roving gang of toms that would constantly try to attack my boys. Obviously, they're in the freezer.

    The pigs have been no problem. In fact, our sow is more like a dog. Nonetheless, we do have a rule--no boys in the pig pen without an adult.
     
  10. vancom

    vancom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    451
    Joined:
    May 5, 2006
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    we have 3 kids--youngest is a small 8 year old girl. Now, our pigs are only 3.5 months old, but she's in there with them when necessary and never a problem so far. Now, they do like to nibble on my kneecaps so I only hang out with them when I am wearing pants!

    when they weigh more I might be a little more concerned but they are freezer fillers so they won't be humongous...my sister in law is tiny and works with huge sows. My 8 year old daughter visiste dher farm this summer and they took pictures--oh my those are some hefty ladies. Now I know why Dorothy was so afraid of the pigpen.

    Vanessa
    near Nashville
     
  11. caroline00

    caroline00 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,473
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2002
    well, I had trouble keeping my 8 and 10 year old boys out of the pig pen this spring.... They would ride them and come in all covered with muck!

    When we took our lonely pig to be bred (the others went to freezer camp) they asked the breeder if they could ride the boar... he said *sure* but the boar wouldnt cooperate... he stood up and they couldnt get on
     
  12. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    445
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Location:
    Spruce Grove, Alberta
    I think it is an old wives tale about falling in a pen of hogs and getting eaten! I have thrown chickens in the hog pen that have been killed by the moving pens or some other disaster and the hogs will leave them for days until I finally have to throw them in the bush for the stink. I don't throw chickens in the pen anymore. In my opinion the most dangerous farm animal on earth are horses, followed by cows and you don't often hear of people being scared to acquire a horse for their kids! Like others have said, any big animal is potentially dangerous for a variety of reasons. I big pig can be dangerous to a small kid because of their shear size alone...not because they will attack. A sow with piglets could be another story and they should be left alone completely by children and watched closely by adults when handling etc. This is no different than a cow though.
     
  13. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    851
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    Location:
    Ky
    sounds like the Space shuttle O-Ring. Just because it hasn't happened to you personally yet doesn't mean it isn't a potential problem. When TSHTF it is a disaster. ALWAYS remember that a pig is just as willing to eat you, as you are willing to eat it. I have personally taken care of people mawed by pigs and have met people who have lost family members to pigs. they are infrequent, but they are not urban myths. Comparing a bull to a boar isn't exactly the same because a bull will only attack if it's in a bad mood, A pig might also attack if it's hungry as well as being in a bad mood (so two potential reasons to attack as opposed to one).

    OTOH there are gentle giants of all species.I took care of one guy (for non pig related things) who gave me a picture of him in the stall with his 1200 pound blue ribbon boar. Like Firefly said, if you want pigs and there is a potential concern about being alone, then get a smaller variety, and definately cull for disposition. Also a smaller variety could be controlled by a livestock Guardian dog who could be with you in the pasture if need be.


     
  14. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    445
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Location:
    Spruce Grove, Alberta
    George...with all due respect to you. It is just my experience that a pig (of any size) is not as willing to eat you as you are it. That is simply not true in my experience of being a third generation hog farmer. I am a small producer, but my father and grand-father and cousins were/are not small. Any farm dog is FAR more likely to injure or mame someone than a pig is. You are correct though when you say that you need to be careful...my point is that you needn't be any LESS careful with any other farm animal. Being kicked by a cow or horse is very dangerous and I have been hurt by both...and no, a bull does not need to be in a bad mood to hurt you. In fact you are probably more likely to be hurt by a cow or a horse when they are in a GOOD mood and are running about like happy idiots. Being bit by a quilled farm dog is dangerous...and I have been. I am not saying don't be careful, I am simply saying that the myths are farther from the truth than people think. These are just my opinions based on being around 10's of thousands of pigs over a few short decades. Like I said before, if you are concerned about the safety of your family because of pigs, you should re-think owning horses, cows or dogs.
     
  15. RedHogs

    RedHogs Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    866
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    I'm sporting a new pair of boots, because my boar air conditioned the last pair.... He was in my opinion just playing and tasting the boot, but that was a close call. My best sow is called "devil woman" and not beacuse i like the song. Now, my boar is breed very often and hyped up all the time, and my sows constanly jockey for top position.... but pigs in a group are very unpredictable. I sell my hogs with the disclaimer that, "a hog will love and kill you the same day." I tell parents of 4-h kids that that grown hogs are a "together" project and not kid safe.
     
  16. highlands

    highlands Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,852
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
    They could be dangerous just as dogs and cattle could be dangerous. We have about 100 pigs (30 breeding sows + some offspring raising up for market) and we have children 3-14. I would not leave my young ones unattended with the pigs and I wouldn't set a baby down near them, just like I wouldn't around cattle. Don't hand feed them if you like your fingers.

    All that said, the pigs are remarkably gentle. They have never bitten us. We have had toes stepped on. Wear boots. Teach the pigs to be gentle. You should be fine but no guarantees.
     
  17. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,117
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    France
    They eat chickens and baby goats...alive. My neighbor has a few less toes. Mind the kids.
     
  18. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    Y'know, lots of folks will tell you that llamas are mean and unruly, as that's been their experience. They'll tell you that about mustang horses, too.

    We had pigs growing up, and I'd venture to say pigs are like the rest of the animal kingdom; there are a few rank ones out there, but by and large they're going to behave if they're treated well. As kids (okay, we weren't toddlers) we'd go out and 'piggie sit'; the mammas would take a little pig nap while the babies would turn to us for amusement. They were no different than puppies, the the sows were thankful to have a 15 minutes breather.

    Obviously, you're not going to want to put your little ones out with the pigs. But if you want to raise one, check out your local 4-H or FFA clubs/chapters and see who's got some nice mannered piggies out there. Piglets are adorable and can be very sweet. Raising one or two for the table shouldn't present you with any problems.
     
  19. 6e

    6e Farm lovin wife Supporter

    Messages:
    3,236
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Location:
    Kansas
    Actually, we had a man that was a dear friend to my dad that raised hogs and he had a heart attack one day and fell in with the pigs and before anyone could get him out the pigs killed him. And we have had a sow that was a mean old thing. She would attack the fences, but she got eaten.
    The rest of our pigs, we just use common sense. We do not let the kids go in with them or let our toddler reach through the fence just for the sake that the pigs might mistake fingers for a snack. My hubby goes in with them, but none of the rest of us do. I wouldn't say they're any more dangerous than any other large animal. Have you ever been around a billy goat in rut?????
     
  20. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    851
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    Location:
    Ky
    Like I said John, it's just like the O-ring. BTW what is a "quilled dog"