Have you ever been curious about how long pigs can live? I mean how long they could really live; Most don’t live very long at all if they are being raised for slaughter.
A few months, maybe a year at most. But how long would a pig live if left to its own devices, or cared for as a pet?
It’s certainly an interesting question and one that homesteaders, in particular, should seek an answer to. So, just how long do pigs actually live?
Most domestic pig species can live between 15 and 20 years with good care. Longevity varies depending on the species, diet, climate and other care factors. Pigs that are not forced to gain lots of weight will live longer, as a rule.
That’s a whole lot longer than most people think, and that means that pigs easily live as long as a very long-lived dog or cat. If you keep a pig as a pet, it will be able to spend a big part of your life with you.
In this article, we’ll discuss pigs’ life span and how various factors can affect it so you can be better equipped to care for your farm animals, or just better appreciate them.
|Domestic Pigs||15-20 years|
|Wild Pigs||5-10 years|
The Average Domestic Pig Life Cycle
The lifespan of pigs can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including breed, diet, and living conditions. Pigs raised for meat production are typically slaughtered between only 5 and 7 months of age.
The physical growth phases of pigs are divided into three main stages: the suckling piglet stage, the growing pig stage, and the breeding pig stage.
During the suckling piglet stage, piglets rely on their mother’s milk for nutrition as their digestive systems develop. As they grow, piglets will begin to eat more solid food, such as grain and vegetables.
In the growing pig stage, pigs continue to grow in size and weight until they reach full maturity, which usually occurs around 2 years of age – though most commercially bred pigs never see even this young age.
Finally, in the breeding pig stage, pigs are used for breeding purposes, and can continue to provide offspring for several years, typically living the longest of all commercial pigs.
How Long Can Domestic Pigs Live if Not Slaughtered?
Despite their short lives when raised for meat, with proper care, pigs can live up to 15 years or more. It’s not uncommon for well-cared for domestic pig breeds to live 20 years and beyond!
What Factors Affect the Lifespans of Pigs?
Lots of things, as with all domestic animals. Feeding routines and hitting dietary requirements are critical to the health and longevity of your pigs.
A balanced diet that includes protein, fat, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals is essential for their growth and longevity.
Pigs must also have access to clean water at all times. A domestic pig being fed for optimum health and longevity has a diet that is pretty different than one being fed to put on maximum weight.
In addition, pigs require adequate space to move around and exercise, also to express their natural behaviors, such as rooting and socializing with other pigs or animals, and also with their human keepers.
Disease and breeding practices can also greatly impact the longevity of pigs.
Pigs that are genetically prone to certain diseases may have a shorter lifespan, while improper breeding practices can lead to further health problems and promote obesity, another cause of shorter lifespan.
Also, healthcare in the form of veterinary care, nutritional supplements, vaccination and so forth will all help pigs lead a long and happy life.
Can All Domestic Pig Species Live a Long Time?
The lifespan of domestic pig species can vary depending on the breed.
Miniature “pet” breeds such as Potbelly pigs, which have become even more popular as pets in recent years, are known to have longer lifespans.
In part, this is due to the fact that they’re typically kept but also bred as pets and not used for meat production or for high-volume breeding, which means they’re genetically predisposed to better health much of the time.
Yorkshire pigs, on the other hand, are bred and used primarily for meat production, and as a result they tend to put on massive size very quickly.
Outside of their intended purpose they are prone to obesity, joint and other health problems, and generally have a shorter lifespan under ideal conditions.
These factors likewise apply to other pig breeds, too, with modern pigs bred for factory-level meat production typically having more health issues overall, while heritage breeds suffer from less, and often live longer.
Do remember that the lifespan of domestic pig species isn’t determined solely by their breed, but rather by a variety of factors related to their care and environment.
How Long Do Wild Pigs Usually Live?
Compared to domestic pigs of any kinds, wild pigs (also known as wild hogs or feral pigs) live much shorter lives, generally only around 3 to 5 years but in some areas they may live as long as 10 years.
The primary factor determining their lifespan is the environment and conditions they must endure, which in the wild can be harsh and unforgiving- not to mention dangerous.
Predators, parasites, extreme weather conditions, lack of food and water sources, and disease all play a role in how long a wild pig will typically live, to say nothing of eradication efforts undertaken by humans.
Although there hasn’t been tremendous scientific study undertaken on the subject, it’s clear that wild pigs do not have the same lifespans as domestic pig species under ideal care conditions, and often die much earlier in life.
What is the Longest a Pig Has Ever Lived?
According to Guinness World Records, the longest living pig ever was named Baby Jane, who lived for 23 years and 77 days as of the official record recorded in 2021.
Baby Jane has belonged to one family since she was a rescue piglet, and they have truly pampered here throughout her life.
Fed a healthy diet of vegetables, dairy, and grains every day, Baby Jane lives a luxurious life of sunbathing in the garden and lounging around on the sofa or bed inside.
Baby Jane demonstrates that with proper nutrition and care, pigs can live very long lives indeed, usually much longer than their commercially raised counterparts.
Let this also a reminder of why it’s so important to provide our pets with the best possible care and attention throughout their lives.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.