Pot-bellied pig as a pet
More and more people have a pot bellied pig as a pet, in the garden and even in the house. It is important to “look before you leap”, because there are quite a few things to consider when taking care of a piggy. If you make a well-considered decision to take a pot-bellied pig as a pet, you will have a lot of fun doing it.
How to recognize a pot-bellied pig
There are many types of pot bellied pigs, mini pigs and even teacup pigs. The main difference between all species is the size they are when they are adults. Not all mini-pigs turn out to be “mini” in adulthood, so some caution is advised. A pot-bellied pig has a straight tail, with a feather at the end. An ordinary pig has a curly tail, and if your pot-bellied pig does not have a straight, but a (slightly) curled tail, it has probably been crossed with a normal pig. An ordinary pig can weigh up to 300 kilos when it is an adult, so your pot-bellied pig will certainly not remain a “little one”. The best measure of how big your piggy will grow is if you can see both parents. If the mother has been mated to a male smaller than her, the offspring will remain slightly smaller than the mother is.
Purchase of a pot-bellied pig
It is very important not to keep a pot-bellied pig alone, as they like to be in each other’s company. So it is definitely advisable to get two piggies, because then they will be much happier. You will then have to make a choice between sows or bears. Sows smell less than bears, but become “heat” later, this is the period when the sow is fertile and wants to look for a suitable partner. This will take a few days and come back every three weeks.
In these days the sow can suffer from a bad mood. Bears are usually neutered a few days after birth, when the bear is called a “borg”. Borgjes are often more affectionate than sows, but they stink more. In a nest of pot-bellied pigs there is often a striking difference in the size of the piglets. The boldest and strongest piglets ensure that they drink the first and most of the milk from the mother. These are often significantly larger than the less cheeky piglets. This does not affect their final size and weight.
Character of a pot-bellied pig
Pot-bellied pigs are extremely intelligent, much smarter in fact than an average dog. They can learn a lot and understand very quickly what the intention is. You can teach your piggy to sit, lie down and come when you call. It is important that every time you eat or give your piggy a treat, you mention his name and make a noise, and repeat it over and over. Your piggy will soon start to listen to his name and recognize the sound. Should it ever happen that your piggy escapes, it will easily chase you if you make this noise. Taming a piggy is not difficult. Piggies like nothing more than to eat, and for something “tasty” they are prepared to a lot. They will soon eat from your hand, and once you have petted them, they will stand in front of it every time, even lying on their back. Be careful with hand-feeding, as piggies have decent teeth and can accidentally bite you. Pot-bellied pigs get used to the rhythm of feeding, so feeding at the same times every day is useful. Piggies like to play with a football, and a bale of hay is also good for a lot of entertainment. Sleeping is also a favorite activity of your pot-bellied pig, and he or she will do that a lot and happily. Pot-bellied pigs root with their noses in the earth, looking for worms, and because they just like to root. So they must have the opportunity for this, in the form of a considerable piece of land, where rooting is allowed. A piggy that is kept in the house must have a container with soil, stones and wood to be able to root in. In summer, piggies like to take a mud bath, on the one hand to cool down, and on the other hand because the dried mud protects their skin from sunburn. Pot bellied pigs are very clean animals, they relieve themselves as far as possible from their sleeping place. They will never soil the straw in their sleeping place. At home, you can teach a piggy to use a litter box.
Care and housing
If you want to keep piggies in the garden, make sure you have a good, draft-free sleeping pen. This pen must be large enough, count on two m2 per piggy as the minimum size. The bottom should be slightly above the floor so that no cold can rise. This should be covered with a thick layer of straw of at least 30 cm, so that they can sleep comfortably and warmly in it. Every three weeks the straw must be replaced and the bottom cleaned well with a brush and chlorinated water. There should be enough space outside the pen for rooting, playing and mud baths. Piglets can be real “demolishers” and will destroy many fences or fencing. The least fun, but the most effective way, is to make an electric fence around their piece of land. Sows that are on heat will do everything they can to look for a bear, and a fence, or even barbed wire, will not stop her. The electric fence is harmless, and they learn very quickly to stay away from it. Piglets are real “all-eaters”, but they really shouldn’t have everything. Meat is absolutely forbidden (by law) for pigs, and salt can make them very sick. Piglets eat sow chunks, which actually contains everything they need. You can give something tasty now and then, but not too much. All kinds of vegetables (waste) and fruit are suitable, except raw potatoes and potato skins, and rhubarb leaves are poisonous to your piggy. Leftover boiled rice (without salt), and the occasional piece of stale bread is also a real treat for your piggy. Be careful with additional feeding, because a piggy quickly gets too fat. If you want to keep a piggy in the house, that is quite possible. You can even go for a walk with your piggy on a harness. All in all, keeping pot-bellied pigs is a very pleasant hobby, and you can count on great friendship for the next 25 years!
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