Pigs raised in large groups tend to be less aggressive than those raised in small groups.

For a decade, researchers at the Prairie Swine Centre have studied group housing, including the impact of group size on pigs’ social behavior and aggression. Harold Gonyou, an animal behavior researcher, says pigs seem to pick up clues and actually learn from their social environment about how they should react socially.

He speculates that somewhere between 50 and 100 pigs per pen is when social behavior starts to change. In his experience, pigs become more socially tolerant and are less willing to fight if housed in large groups. This, he says, could be particularly helpful as producers mix groups during the marketing process.

It’s information that’s worth considering and taking some time to review your penning situation and marketing process.