Pot Bellied Pigs/4 month old pot belly feeding
We have a 4 month old miniature pot belly pig and are feeding him Mazuri pig food. We can't find direct feeding instructions and are wondering how much he should eat. We give him a quarter cup in the morning and the evening yet he seems very unsatisfied. I'm not sure about how much he weighs because he's too shy to be picked up. And he also suckles on everything, but not to an extreme. Just wondering if this is normal.
Feeding pigs is more art than science. The general rule of thumb is 1/2 c pellets per 15 lb of piglet per day, divided into two meals and supplemented with fresh veggies, fruits, grazing time and training treats.
If piggy is not social enough to be lifted or measured for weighing, the average piglet gains about 1 lb per week. Assuming your piglet really is 4 months, or 16 to 20 weeks old. A 4 month old piglet should weigh between 14 & 20 lb, so piggy is being slightly underfed.
Pigs that are weaned early tend to suckle more than pigs that were not. Ignore the behavior and it will go away, probably in a month or two.
Start socializing piggy by giving him a safe space with his bed, litter box and some toys. It doesn't have to be huge, a small bathroom, laundry room or closet will work. So will a sectioned off part of a bedroom.
Sit quietly in piggy's space. Speak to him softly, let him come to you and explore. Always tell him what you're going to do before you do it. For example, say "Touch piggy belly" then try to gently scratch his tummy.
For now, all food must come from your hand or the dish in your hand. No food on the floor or from the dish on the floor. At mealtime, sit on the floor and let him come to you and eat the food from your hand. Speak softly and move slowly. After a couple of meals, start coaxing him onto your lap. Then try to hold or hug him. Next, hold him while you stand on your knees, then finally, hold him securely in your arms while your standing.
Always support his whole spine when lifting him. Pigs are not bendy like cats and dogs and their backs are fragile.
I highly recommend the book Pot-Bellied Pig Behavior and Training by Priscilla Valentine, and the dvds There's a Pig in the House and Amazing Pig Tricks from www.tophogs.com Some good site for pig info are www.pigs4ever.com and www.farec.org look under Education