Potbellied pigs as pets

Potbellied-pig as pets

Potbellied pigs originated in the Far East. They were kept as pets by Chinese emperors as far back as 6,000 B.C. Potbellies were introduced to the United States around 1985 when Canadian Keith Connell imported them for zoos.

Full grown potbellied pigs weigh an average of 70-150 lbs., with some reaching 200 lbs. or more (miniature when compared to domestic swine that weigh 600-1500 lbs.). They average 3 ft. long and 15-inches tall. Full growth is not reached until about 3 to 5 years of age. Colors range from solid black to solid white, with a variety of mixes in between!

“Are males or females better pets?” As long as either sex is neutered or spayed, it really doesn’t matter. Unspayed females suffer from “PMS” and strong mood swings; intact males produce a pungent oder in addition to displaying other unpleasant traits – neither are desirable pets.

Pet pigs do not like to be picked up or held. Pigs are prey not predators, so being lifted up or restrained causes them extreme alarm. They require time to adjust to domestic life, but with time, patience, and love, they become family. In the wild, pigs forage for food. Your pet should be able to spend time outside foraging. It is important for the pig’s overall mental health and well-being, and provides additional vitamins and minerals.

We highly recommend that your pig have access to an outside area where it can root undeterred. It’s space should be completely fenced to keep the pig in, and dogs out. Also if you have a lawn or garden you wish to protect, make sure you build a short stout fence around it to keep your pig out. Gardens are a favorite delicacy!

Your pig’s area needs shade for the summer, and a warm shelter to protect them from the winter. During the summer, you should provide a wading pool for the pig to go in to stay cool. Pigs do not sweat, they must have access to water to cool off. The ideal temperature range for a pig is 65-85°F. They must also have a source of clean drinking water, separate from their pool. Most pigs like to urinate in their pool water. It is also very important to provide warmth in winter. Since these pigs originated in a tropical climate, they must have a warm, dry shelter to protect them from the cold. Also, make sure your yard is free of poisonous plants and mushrooms. Pigs can react to,

* Oaks
* Buds & acorns
* Red maple
* Potato
* Goldenrod
* Mountain laurel
* Wild cherry
* Peach
* Milkweed

General maintenance of your pig includes,

* Yearly vaccinations
* Quarterly worming
* Periodic trimming of it’s hooves & tusks
* Regular cleaning of ears & eyes

Work with your veterinarian to set up appropriate schedules and techniques. The sooner you start working with your pig’s hooves and ears, the better.

Your pig will lose it’s bristles (hair) once a year. The time of year varies from pig to pig. Your pig will also loose it’s baby teeth at 12-15 months. It will grow tusks regardless of it’s sex. Males grow tusks longer and faster than females. Be careful, they can be sharp and can cause serious damage.

DO NOT OVER FEED YOUR PIG! Pigs live to eat, and can become overweight very easily! Usually feed 1/2 to 1 cup twice a day, according to size. Supplement with fruits and vegetables. Alfalfa hay is also a good supplement, as is vitamin E (100 I.U. every other day) and CloVite (an animal vitamin). Have your pig work for it’s food, and extend it’s feeding time, by placing it’s pellets in a hollow ball, or a cube with holes. These balls are available at pet stores.Sprinkle plain, air-popped popcorn or puffed rice/weat cereal around the yard to encourage the pig to forage. This promotes exercise and mentally challenges your pig.

Pigs are very smart animals. They get bored easily, which may lead to undesirable behaviors. Pigs are fourth in the line of intelligence:

* Humans
* Apes
* Dolphins
* Pigs

For anyone interested in having a pet pig, choose a vet that is familiar with the animals and understands their uniqueness. Find a responsible breeder who is willing to spend time to educate you on your unique pet. The breeder should also be willing to answer future questions that will come up. Before bringing your new pig home, make certain it has a quiet place in which it can become adjusted to you, and you can quietly observe it. Proceed slowly to win the pig’s trust. Let it come to you. You can place a few treats on the floor to encourage it to explore, and then use them to coax it towards you. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of time sitting quietly and letting the pig get to know you. Please do not ever force your pig-it must be a willing participant in the family, and everyone in the family should be included in training and loving it. Childproof your home by securing cupboards, closets, and drawers to avoid your pig from coming into contact with possibly poisonous substances. Even chocolate, breakfast cereals, or salt can be toxic in large quantities.

After gaining your pig’s trust, you can start to train your pig. Take it slow and easy. One of the most important things you can do for your pig, is to ensure it is crate trained. This gives the pig a secure place of it’s own, and is invaluable for transporting it. There are many training techniques and several publications available. There are also individuals willing to assist you with your training.

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