Pot Bellied Pigs/Potty training woes
My husband and I recently adopted an 8 week old female piglet. Her parents are mini pigs (I guess?) and are both about 3 years old and 60ish lbs. The lady we adopted her from said she was using her litterbox fine, but since she's been with us (almost 2 weeks now) she pretty much just goes anywhere and everywhere... all the time. She is constantly pooping or peeing, and does so even in her bedding. And she also almost always has a little poop coming out.
She is in an extra large dog crate while my husband and I are at work. She has a blanket in there, a cat litterbox (with no top and one side cut out so she can get in), pine bedding for the litterbox and then water.
We feed her Mazuri youth pellets 3x a day. She has been eating apples, green beans, zucchini and grapes in small amounts, but still hasn't developed a taste for veggies really yet. My husband and I are being patient, but we just want to make sure we're not doing something wrong! She does go in her litterbox... but she also goes everywhere else. Will it always be this way? What can we do to make training easier for her? I just want to make sure we're doing everything right!
Many breeders often misrepresent the age of a piglet. Piglets have a sort of internal clock when it comes to food. Piglets 4-5 weeks might mouth or chew food if they see their mother eating it. By age 8 weeks, when most Momma pigs naturally wean their babies, piglets are usually a little bit food crazy and will sample practically anything.
It is NOT normal or natural for a pig to have a bit of poo dangling most of the time. Piggy should see a vet to rule out any physical problems, like hernias.
Piggy is clearly a little confused about pottying. Pigs have a super good sense of smell. And they are adaptable. Normally a piglet would not poop or pee in bed, but once they have started and gotten used to it, the best approach is to toss the bedding and start from scratch. No matter how much it's washed, piggy will remember going potty on the bedding and think that it's ok to do it again. Starting over with fresh bedding gives piggy a fresh start.
Wash the inside of her crate really well, and let it dry. Then, put a little drop or two of vanilla extract in the spot where you want her bed to be.
Put her litter box back in. Use the same box, and put a bit of her poop in it. Put her in the box and tell her to go potty. When she wakes up, put her in the box and tell her to go potty. Keep her there for a bit, and she will go. Piglets always have to potty when they wake up, they just don't know it right away.
Piglets do potty often, sometimes every hour on the hour. And, they don't always realize they have to go until it's too late. It's up to the humans to remember to get piggy to the potty box often.
Piglets are intelligent critters and easily bored. A bored pig will play with it's own waste. Give her lots of toys to keep her busy. Infant toys for humans are good, so are old phone books, paper bags with Cheerios inside, etc.
I highly recommend the book "Pot-Bellied Pig Behavior and Training" by Priscilla Valentine, and the dvd "There's a Pig in the House" from Tophogs.com Both of these go into more detail about potty training than I can here. Another good resource is the Yahoo group PigInfoAndChat.