Something Else I Didn’t Know: Pig Toenails

With a 400-pound pig in a human bear-hug, the nails are trimmed with a Dremel.

Yesterday I had a learning experience at a ranch outside of Sacramento that rescues farm animals. While there were horses, cows, llamas, turkeys and sheep, what caught my attention were pigs, 24 of them!

Chapter One: pigs are neglected and abused by some owners. I didn’t know that pigs required grooming such as having their toenails clipped. When the nails grow long, they curve inward and eventually the pig cannot walk, but it continues eating, triggering massive weight gains. Some pigs I saw had lost their sight because folds of fat covered their eyes which had atrophied.

Chapter Two: the process of clipping pig toenails can be quite a physical undertaking. For one pigs don’t like to be pushed around, or fussed with. There was a wrestling match where it took several people to put a pig on its back. When held in a human bear hug, the pig calmed down while its toenails were cut with a Dremel. The photos capture the human effort required to trim a pig’s toenails.

The other method of cutting nails is to put the pig in a sling and raise it off the ground. But that approach allows the pig to move its legs which makes grinding nails difficult.

Bottom line: the freshly manicured pigs enjoy moving without pain. The owners and volunteers at the Lucky Ones Ranch deserve a big thanks and some donations to keep their work going.

One response to “Something Else I Didn’t Know: Pig Toenails”

  1. Interesting. I had no idea pigs required such grooming, either.


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