Why Do Pigs Root? All You Need to Know

Pigs are smart social animals, and their behavior and eating habits have been studied for many years. One of the most common questions about pigs is their rooting habits and why they do it. There are a few reasons for this which we share here in this article. 

But if you’re looking for a quick answer here, you go. 

Why do pigs root? Rooting is a natural behavior for pigs, and there are two main reasons why they typically do it; one is because they are looking for something to eat, second pigs are iron deficient, so they will root to get the iron they need, which is essential for their overall health. But there are other reasons.

Pigs can root in different ways and for different reasons; I’ve already mentioned two of them; the other reasons could be for comfort, their trying to cool off, communicate, or just trying to eat plants or roots.

When you see this behavior is very important for them to be allowed the necessary space they need to root.

Why Do Pigs Root

But if your pigs are rooting because they are looking for iron, it is very important to get them an iron injection, which should be done within the first four days of them being born. And if it’s a grown pig, you can give them an injection or provide the minerals in their food.

So please consult with your vet on how to proceed with this.

This is done to prevent deficiency in their health and to avoid any disease. 

Also, rooting could be a seasonal behavior, usually during the spring where the only thing to eat for them is underground, and of course, the soil is easier to root. But it also happens in the fall, where the grass is dying.  

They will also do it during those hot summer days to cool their body temperature.

You may like: Can Pigs Eat Rice?

How to Stop a Pig From Rooting?

You have many options if you’re looking to stop a pig from rooting, but I first want to be clear that you should figure out the main reason your pigs are rooting or at least make sure they are not doing it because of a lack of minerals.

As I previously mentioned, if it’s because of a lack of iron, this must be treated. 

Now let’s look at some scenarios and how to stop your pigs from rooting.

If your pigs are on a concrete floor and still root, you can use a rooting box, which literally is a box made of wood and filled with dirt and food. 

But if their rooting is becoming violent and you are worried for your other animals or even your kids, then one of the options you have is to train them not to do it. Some people will just hit them in the nose and tell them “no,” and with time, they’ll understand what they are doing is wrong. 

And believe it or not, this definitely works; pigs are smart animals and can be trained just like dogs.

Another option you have is to build a fenced area where they can be allowed to root.

Now, if we are talking about a pet pig, you can just stop them or give them something else they can root on, like a pillow or even part of your backyard. 

Why Do Pigs Root in Dirt?

There are many reasons for pigs to root in the dirt, but some of them are: because they are not getting the sufficient iron or minerals they need in their diet, they are trying to eat some roots, or simply trying to make a nest to cool off.

This is a normal behavior, so you can definitely allow it, but if you’re trying to avoid this, see if they need some of those minerals, but even then, they might still do it for the other reason I mention.

What Do Pigs Eat When They Root?

Pigs will eat almost anything they can find worms, crickets, roots, grass, wood, dry fruits, corn, etc.

Anything that’s in that soil and they like they will eat it. 

But I want to emphasize that they are not doing this because of a mineral deficiency. 

Do All Pigs Root?

Technellecy speaking, all pigs have the capacity to root, but some breeds might do it less than others. 

For example, the Kunekunes pigs, which are amazing pigs, don’t typically root or tear down fencing.

So if you’re looking for a pig that doesn’t root, this could be a great choice. You can typically find it in small homestead breeders.

You may like: Why Do Pigs Wag Their Tails?

How Deep Do Pigs Root?

In reality, there is no right answer to this question. It just depends on how curious your pig is; they can dig 2 to 3 feet when making a nest.

But it is up to them and their curiosity.

Why Do Pigs Root on You?

This is not proper behavior and should be stopped, especially because it could get aggressive if the proper care is not in place or you don’t know the reason why your pig is doing it.

If we are talking about pet pigs, this could be a sign that you need to take them outside or find something they can root on. 

Another reason is that they are trying to tell you they are hungry, happy, or simply want to root. 

But in general, pigs will root; you just have to provide them the space for them to do so. 

Why Do Wild Pigs Root up the Ground?

Pigs in the wild don’t have iron shots or the necessary minerals in their food. 

So they will root up the ground to get the necessary nutrients and minerals they need in order to survive. 

It’s definitely in their nature; they know they need it and will try to get it. 

But also it could be because they are looking for food. 

Conclusion: Why Do Pigs Root?

Rooting is a natural behavior for pigs, and there are many reasons why they do it. For example, they might need more iron, are looking for food, are trying to communicate, or simply want to lower their buddy temperatures because of the hot summer. 

When your pigs root, it’s important to know the reason why, and also, if the behavior is getting out of control, take the proper measurements so that the pig doesn’t hurt themselves or someone else.

Pet pigs need an outlet, so restricting the rooting or outdoor time could worsen the rooting behavior. 

If you take the time to observe your pigs behavior and do some research, I assure you will be able to help them, no matter the problem.