Pig care



Pigs must always have clean, fresh water to drink.

One pig needs at least 5 to 10 litres of water every day.

When they are feeding young, sows need to drink more water because they have to produce milk.

The water must be put in the shade.

to 10 litres


It is very important to make sure the container cannot be turned over. Tie it to a post or pole in the ground.




Pigs are single-stomach animals and require two or three meals a day.

Divide the food into two portions, feed the pigs half in the morning and the rest in the evening.





Do not feed your pigs only once a day because once they had their fill they will only play with the rest of the food, stand in it and soil it. This food is going to waste and the pigs will be left hungry.


Pigs can eat all kinds of scraps, or leftover food such as mealie-pap, bread, vegetables, fruit and pig pellets. Real pig pellets are, however, the best feed.

Do not only feed one vegetable (such as cabbage), because pigs need a varied diet to stay healthy.

Even cutting grass (especially green grass) and feeding this in small quantities will help supplement the pigs' diet.


Pigs must not be fed waste or plastic.



It is important that small or weak pigs should be fed separately from the bigger ones, because these stronger pigs will eat all the food.

If you have more than four adult pigs, then food should be divided into two containers, so that every animal can have a share





Many pigs are pink and when kept in the sun their skins turn red and get sunburn. Black or brown pigs, however, have skins that are more resistant to sunburn.

Pigs do not have much hair on their bodies to protect them from the cold or insulate them against heat. Pigs suffer if they get too cold or too hot and should not be kept in too cold or hot conditions.

Many pigs die from pneumonia if left in the cold, wind or rain. Pigs can also die from heatstroke after being left in the sun with no shelter or water.

Even if the pigs do not die, they will not be as healthy and strong as they should be.



Pigs must have a warm, dry sleeping area.

Pigs must be able to lie in the shade out of the sun. Part of the pen must have a roof to provide enough shade for all the pigs.

If the roof is made of metal, it must be covered with grass or branches to keep it cool.

Drainage and hygiene


Many people think pigs like to be in dirty pens with only mud to stand in. This wrong idea may result in the pigs becoming sick because they are kept in unhealthy conditions.

Pigs roll in mud to protect themselves against the sun and extreme temperatures and against parasites such as flies.

It is not necessary for pigs to have mud if they have shelter and their pens are kept clean to limit the number of flies and other parasites.

It is important that the floor of the pen should slope so that excess water can run off allowing the pen to stay dry.

If water does collect in the pen, it is important to dig a drainage furrow or ditch, leading out of the pen.

Pigs always dung in the same place. Make sure that this mess is cleaned out at least twice a week, to lessen the risk of disease.

Food and water containers must be cleaned thoroughly at least twice a week.




Pigs are pregnant for about four months and can have as many as 10 young at a time.

It is best to keep pigs of the same size together. If big and small pigs share a pen or sty there will be fighting and the smaller or weaker ones will be bullied.

Do not keep adult boars together because they may fight.

A sow must be kept in a separate area when she is going to give birth (farrow). This area must be clean, dry and warm.

Put in some grass on the floor to enable the sow to make a nest. This will help keep the piglets warm and close to their mother.

A sow with piglets must have clean water all the time and plenty of good, fresh food twice a day.


Compiled by Directorate Communication, National Department of Agriculture
in cooperation with National Council of SPCAs
Printed and published by National Department of Agriculture
and obtainable from Resource Centre, Directorate Communication,
Private Bag X144, Pretoria 0001, South Africa

ISBN 1-86871-084-X

This publication is also available on the website of the
National Department of Agriculture at:


For further information contact the
National Council of SPCAs, Farm Animal Unit,
P.O. Box 1320, Alberton 1450, South Africa