How to Control a Pig's Rooting Behavior

Learn how to control a pig's rooting behavior in this Howcast video featuring Ross Mill Farm president Susan Magidson.

Rooting is such a natural behavior for pigs, but when you have a pet pig you have to be sure that you’re controlling that rooting. Rooting on the mommy’s belly, okay, you can get down. When a little piglet starts to nurse it roots on the mommy’s belly to try to get the milk flow down. So when you bring home a little piglet you might find it trying to root on your ankles or on your hands, or on your arms. It’s inappropriate behavior, it shouldn’t be doing it on you but you don’t want to stop the pig from doing that. You want to try to give it something else. Give it a toy, give it a pillow, to start rooting on and then tell him that that’s good root and then if they’re rooting on you that’s bad root. Now in order to stop rooting on the yard it’s also very important that you know that pigs root mostly in the spring when the ground is thawing out and the only thing good to eat out there is under the ground. So they root under during the spring time. Same thing happens in the fall. The grass is kind of dead and it’s not very edible anymore, they start to root underneath to get to the acorns that the squirrel buried. Now in the summer time once in a while on those really, really hot days they’ll start to root and they’ll root a little nest, and they’re smart enough to throw their water bowl in this little rooted area and start to flip from one side to the other so that they can cool their body temperature down. Their body temperatures are not regulated internally, they don’t pant, they don’t sweat like we do so they have to use that mud in order to keep cool. So it’s a very important thing that you do provide for them a source of water, it doesn’t have to be mud, in fact preferably if it’s a house pig it’s not mud but it does need to be water so that they can cool down.