Do pigs have allergies?

Within a day or two of getting our two piglets we spotted a rash on their bellies which was a bit disconcerting for us first time pig keepers. As far as I remember this rash wasn’t there when they were collected earlier in the week but we kept a close eye on things over the next day or so.

Rash on pigs belly

Rash on pigs belly

My thinking at the time was that this rash had appeared on their bellies because there are so few bristles which means there  is less protection for them. Also as that is closest to the ground they’re more likely to come into contact with something that might have caused it.

I suppose this might have been a reaction to something they ate given that they came from a stone barn with straw and ended up free ranging in mature woodland. I doubt that pigs have allergies but I don’t know that for certain and I suppose anything is possible/ However there were no obvious signs of these bumps anywhere else on their bodies so my money was on a reaction to something external.

Nettles perhaps?

Nettles perhaps?

Are pigs susceptible to stinging nettles? When we first put them in their patch they spent quite a lot of time munching on something which was growing among the nettles.  I’m not sure what that plant was (perhaps some kind of low-growing elder?) but  it’s all been eaten now anyway and the rashes are considerably improved as well.

We’ll obviously continue to keep an eye on things but for the moment the rashes are fading. Most importantly, the pigs are both happily eating, drinking and occasionally running around like lunatics in their expanse of woodland which must be a good sign!

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