Why Do Pigs Like Mud?

February 14, 2024

Pigs are often thought of as filthy, dirty animals based on their tendency to roll around in their own poop and wallow in mud. But contrary to popular belief pigs are actually very clean animals. They don’t eat their own poop and they are very good about keeping their “bathroom” far away from the areas where they eat and drink.

The reason pigs like mud so much is that it helps to protect them from the sun and other dangers. Their light pink skin can get sunburned easily and a thick coating of mud acts as natural sunscreen. It also provides a cooling effect when it dries on their skin.

Mud also serves to protect pigs from insects and parasites. Bad biting flies and digging parasites don’t like to crawl through a layer of mud as they do on bare skin. And a thick coat of mud makes it nearly impossible for fleas and lice to reach the skin.

In addition to protecting against parasites a mud bath also helps to keep pigs cool. Despite the fact that they are very clean animals pigs have no sweat glands and need to find other ways to regulate their body temperature. Having access to a muddy wallow allows them to release excess heat without having to leave their eating and sleeping area.

Studies have shown that if domesticated pigs are not given access to a mud pit they will develop other unhealthy behaviors such as tail biting (literally biting and chewing on the tail or body parts of other pigs). Providing a mud play pen is a key component of any farm program designed to help pigs stay healthy, happy, and productive.

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