Can You Raise Pigs With Chickens, Ducks, Guineas Or Geese?

Breeding age pigs eating with ducks and chickens coming into the pen to eat, as well.

Thinking about adding a few pigs to your poultry? Or maybe it’s the other way around and you’re wondering: good Idea, bad idea or somewhere in between?

What’s the bottom line, is it safe to mix birds and pigs?

Pigs and chickens, ducks, guineas and/or geese can be raised together as long as the poultry are mature, have their own water and are able to enter and exit the pig area freely.

Normally, raising pigs and poultry is a great idea!

There are a few situations to watch out for and a few times when this combination is a poor decision, but overall, it works.

Farm Animals That Can Be Raised Together gives you combinations that work and ones that don’t!

For more details on raising feeder pigs, including costs, read my article Cost To Raise Feeder Pigs. (I have quite an extensive list of articles on this site about pigs, use the search bar for more.)

We have all kinds of poultry that can run in and out of the pig area anytime they want to. Poultry and bigger animals are natural companions.

The few things that we do to keep problems at bay and keep things running smoothly (listed below in general and by bird) are what make it all work.

3 keys to make pigs and poultry work

The list of things you’ll need is actually small:

  • Separate water for the poultry
  • Specific rest area for the poultry
  • Roosts (if applicable)

Have separate watering areas for each animal

Having separate watering area for the poultry and the pigs is more about keeping the pigs water clean, believe it or not, than anything else.

The biggie here is ducks. Ducks will dibble through poop then swish their beaks clean in water, the pig’s drinking water!

If the watering system for your pigs doesn’t allow duck swishing then no problem, for instance if you are using nipple waterers for your pigs.

If you are using an open topped pan or trough be sure the ducks don’t use it as a bathtub.

The other concern with watering mixed species is, can the birds get to clean water? Give your birds their own waterer.

If they ignore it, you know they are finding all the water they need on their own. Make it available anyway, just to be sure.

pigs grazing
Pigs grazing. Make sure your birds can come and go as they please, if you want them to be with pigs.

Have a separate rest area for the birds that the pigs can’t get to

Your birds will need a place to get away from the pigs.

Ideally, the poultry can go in with the pigs to pick around at whatever catches their interest, then leave and take it easy in a peaceful spot.

Don’t worry about whether or not your birds like hanging out with the pigs, if they are in with the pigs and can leave, but choose to stay, then the birds are happy.

Having an inviting rest area for the birds is more important than you think!

One of the main ways our birds get picked off by predators is when the birds do not come to the barnyard for the night.

A safe and inviting place for your birds to spend the evening will make them less prone to predation.

Have roosts for the birds that the pigs can not reach or rub on

Not all birds need roosts, but the ones that do are nervous if a roost is not provided.

The roost makes them feel safe, so make sure your birds, especially chickens and young Muscovy ducks, have an available roost.

It doesn’t need to be anything specially made, ours jump up into the barn rafters!

If you already have birds, this is old news. If you are new to poultry, especially if you have chickens, this is important.

Bird Control And Prevention is a Pig Site article going over the not so great parts of birds being with pigs. Granted, they are speaking of wild birds, but some of the points are still valid with domestics.

Pigs and newly hatched birds won’t work

These are the times when the pig and poultry combination is not a great idea:

  • Newly hatched birds
  • Nesting birds
  • Special feed needs for the poultry

Keep newly hatched birds out of pig pen

Newly hatched birds need to be kept out of the pig area, if you can.

If the mom insists on taking the babies in, I don’t get too worried, but I don’t encourage it right away either.

This is mainly because new babies can get confused. So what you’ll find is a lost baby in with the pigs, not with it’s mom.

Once the hatchlings are a few weeks old they will be quite capable and getting really proficient at foraging on their own.

We have a duck with her brood of 9 that is a superstar forager, they are everywhere!

But I have to admit, the brood started with 12 ducklings, the other three we found “lost” so we put them in the brooder. One had a bad leg, not sure what happened with the other two.

To sum it up, it’s not that the pigs are snarfing up baby poultry.

They could, I’m sure, but so far I have not seen that as an issue. It’s more that the hatchlings get lost.

Also, new babies need lots of rest stops. Pigs poking at them will wear out the hatchlings and their mom!

Brooding Ducklings is an article I wrote for the beginner, with tips on how to keep yourself and your ducklings happy.

Nesting birds should not be in the pig area

Pigs will have that nest broken up, even if you think they don’t know about it. Maybe for now, but they will find it.

Nests need to be in places that are impossible for the pigs to reach.

What’s the big deal here? Two things: Pigs love eggs, really love eggs! And secondly, pigs are curious and like to poke around and figure things out.

They will harass that setting mom, for sure. Not that they need to, they are looking for fun things to do and a setting hen would be a tempting target to “play” with.

Be careful with poultry that needs special feed

You might not have considered that your pigs and your birds are eating a very different ration, especially if the birds are fast growers, like broilers.

If your broilers would choose to eat only pig feed, they will not get the nutrition they need, resulting in health problems.

Is Raising Meat Chickens Worth It? goes over your costs to raise your own broilers, including how to figure up the feed costs for your area.

For a low energy needs bird, like mature chickens, snacking on pig feed is fine, for fast growers, no.

If your birds need a special feed, you must have them separate from the pigs or the pigs will eat the poultry feed, guaranteed.

Your pigs don’t care what the bag says, finders keepers (or in this case, finders eaters) is how a pig works.

Breeding stock pigs with chickens and ducks in the pen at feeding time
Same pigs as above, this time with chickens and a few more ducks, all in the pen at feeding time. There were a few guineas that had jumped into the pig pen also, but they had left by the time I got back to the barn with the camera.
Notice the upper right corner of the picture. That is the side of the pen leading to the pasture. See how the boards have enough space for a chicken or duck to jump through?

Pigs and chickens can live together

Our chickens run in and out of the pig pens all of the time.

Even the box stall type pens with the new piglets (the chickens really have to work to get into these), the birds hop in when I feed the sows.

Our pigs are in big, open pens, so there are plenty of opportunities for chickens to jump in through the side.

The chickens love to scratch through the bedding for bugs or bits of left over feed.

Another aspect to consider is that the pigs are helping the chickens. The pigs are on a bedded pack that is too deep/heavy for the chickens to scratch through.

But with the pigs in there, helping to turn over the bedding, the chickens get access to snacks they could not have unearthed themselves.

Pigs and ducks can live together

Our ducks go in and out of the pig pens, at will. Actually, when I feed the breeding stock, right now the boar and two gilts, ducks zoom in to snatch up corn right with the pigs.

The ducks are noticing my routine and make sure they are available when the snacks are likely to show up.

At non feeding times of the day the ducks don’t really care what I’m doing with the pigs, but at chore time, they are on it!

Once again, be leery of ducklings and pigs. The ducklings seem to get left behind when their mom leaves the pen.

Give ducklings their own area, until they are more capable and can easily keep up with mom.

Metzer Farms has a wonderful duck breed comparison table, well worth checking out!

Pigs and guineas can live together

At our place, guineas do whatever they want. If the guineas want to be in with the pigs, fine. When the guineas want to leave, they leave.

They will pick through the available snacks and left over bits of feed just like chickens and other birds will.

Even if your pig area allows it, please don’t lock the guineas in with the pigs. Guineas are high strung and do not handle confinement well.

If they were not raised in confinement, they will be crazy in a pen. Let them roam. Your guineas will go in with the pigs when they feel like it.

Cost To Raise Guineas gives you an idea of your total costs to get and keep a flock of guineas.

Pigs and geese together? Not really

Our geese do not go in with the pigs. I figure it is too much work for the geese to get into the pig area, they would have to go up and over the sides of the pen.

Plus, I’m not really coming up with a good reason for the geese to want to be in the pen, anyway.

Geese like grazing, not scratching around. That’s chicken territory.

Pigs and geese on pasture

If you are thinking of pigs on pasture and geese, great idea. Geese love to be out in the fields grazing, as do pigs.

As long as there is plenty of grass, this combination should work well.

The only concern I would have here is keeping the water clean for the pigs, if it is an open trough.

If you are using an on demand watering system, like a nipple or cup waterer, the pig water will be clean.

Now, what about water for the geese? If the geese can’t get to their own water, like a stream or pond, you’ll need to provide something.

Take Care Of Pigs On Pasture gives you a pasture based plan, including feeding and movement.

Here is a tricky situation, the pigs are always looking to wallow and that goose water pan is going to look very inviting.

Even if you use a waterer, not a pan, the pigs will still knock it over.

I know the pigs have their own water and should leave the goose water alone. But they won’t!

Put the goose water somewhere the pigs can’t reach, try on the other side of the pipe gate or where the geese go under the electric fence to a place the pigs can’t reach.

Make sure you actually see the geese go to the watering area you have set up before you leave for the day.

Usually geese are expert water locators, but just to be sure they noticed and can get through the pig fence, check back on them.

Pigs are looking to escape, it’s the pig way

If you feel your geese would benefit from being with the pigs, I would caution you to rethink this one (and probably not for the reasons you are thinking).

The hole in your pen big enough for a goose to easily walk through is going to look awfully tempting to a pig looking to escape.

From a pig standpoint, if their nose fits into an opening, they can squeeze through.

I know that sounds crazy, you and I can easily see that a pig’s nose is much smaller than it’s body, so true. The catch is that’s not how the pig sees it!

How Naturally Raise Happy Pigs is chock full of tips on keeping your porkers, and yourself, happy and healthy.

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