Pigs and time

time pigs

Did you know that pigs have a keen sense of time? Honestly, they do.

I know if I’m more than a few minutes late with my pig’s food they scream the place down. That’s worth bearing in mind if you want a pig as a pet, they can be noisy. Very very noisy. I do cover this in my book (and how to prevent it too).

Anyway, a recent study has shown pig have the ability to sense periods of time in days.

Fascinating isn’t it? It just goes to show how clever these animals really are. And why they truly are one the world’s most intelligent animals. I think pigs are estimated to be the between the third and fifth most intelligent animals in the world.

Anyway, scientists investigated the ability of dry sows to estimate short and long periods of time. A dry sow is a mother pig who no longer has any babies, and isn’t producing milk. She’s ‘dried off’ so to speak.

Getting back on track. The scientists monitored the heart rate of pigs when they were fed over a period time.

The pigs had the choice of being fed in two different ways. Their choices were between food quality and food replenishment rates. These rates were then interrupted at particular times. Over a set period of time, the pigs would learn when the interruptions would occur.  

These tests were then conducted to determine the pig’s ability to detect the passing of minutes or days.

The day experiments only showed the pig’s heart rate going up when they expected an interruption to occur. The results were inconclusive.

However, in the experiment that detected days, the results were different. The pigs learned when the interruption was going to occur and made the best choice regarding feeding. They worked out when the interruption was going to happen, and what the best choice would be, giving themselves the maximum advantage.

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Clever stuff isn’t it?

It just another piece of proof that goes to demonstrate how smart these animals are. And that’s part of the reason why they require special care and treatment. And if you’re considering one a pet, make sure you learn how to take care of them correctly.

About the author

Joanne Rowe

Joanne and her family live on a 140 acre farm in Lancashire. Joanne's family have been in farming over 120 years - they breed a wide range animals including pigs, cows, sheep, and chickens.

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