Pot Bellied Pigs/is harvey overweight? does he need a companion?
I have looked on this site over the last few months and have happily had questions answered just by reading your responses to others. Thank you!!
Harvey will be 11 months old on Dec 15th and he is definately not the mini-pig I was assured, but I did research beforehand and we were ready for what we got. You responded to a question from May that "A healthy 8 month old piglet should be in the 28 - 36 lb range." Harvey was easily 50 pounds at 8 months. We just weighed him last week and he was 62 pounds. Should I be worried about his weight? I was hoping for under 100 pounds and praying for under 125 - at this rate (from your experience), how much can you guesstimate he will weigh when he's done growing??
Also - I just found out tonight (by reading this site) that I've been under-feeding him (that's right - UNDER). I've only been giving him 1/2 cup twice a day (1 full cup a day). I just learned that at his current weight he should be getting 2 cups a day!?!? Since I am concerned about his weight I'm not sure if I should continue with 1 cup a day or move him up to 2 cups. I'm very confused, if you could please give me your advice I would be very grateful! (btw I feed him Mazuri adult pig food)
Lastly - Harvey has been making huge messes lately. We have a dog door and he can come and go as he wants, yet he insists on coming in and shredding paper, biting into cans, opening cupboards - sometimes it is to search for food, but I also think he is bored. He played with our Boston Terrier when he was a youngster, but they pretty much ignore each other now (they sleep together once in awhile, but don't play). We've made him bottles to wrestle oats out of and feed him veggies throughout the day. I've read that this sort of behavior might be averted if he had a companion. What do you think?
Thank you so much for your help!
Usually, a healthy piglet under 1 year will gain about 1 lb per week, and roughly half that until they are age 2 or 2-1/2. They will continue to grow just a bit until they are 4 or 5. But these are just general averages, in reality there is a huge range. Some pigs are still quite small at age 2 but experience a surprising growth spurt at age 3 or so. Other pigs are nearly full size at 18 months. The only guide for predicting what your pig will do is what the parents did.
Feeding pigs is more art than science and controversy swirls around feeding young piglets. The rule of thumb for youngsters is 1/2 c per 15 lb of piglet. For adults, it's 1/2 c per 25 - 50 lb of adult pig. The correct amount depends on the pig, the kind of food, the environment, the pigs activity level, etc. Many people think piglets under 6 months should be free fed. Other people think the amount of pellets should be controlled with unlimited veggies.
The only accurate guide is how the pig looks. On www.farec.org there's a chart with line drawings of pigs from near starvation to morbidly obese, you can compare your pig's silhouette to the chart.
Pigs are natural herd animals and really don't care to be all alone. If everyone else is inside, then that's where piggy wants to be. Chilly weather is a big reason for Harvey to prefer playing indoors. Pigs enjoy comfort. Piggy would rather be comfortable indoors with everyone else, than alone and cold outside.
A companion pig certainly would keep him occupied. But be ready, they both might prefer to hang around inside. If that happens you might want to put up a nice shelter, then you can close the doggie door to encourage the two of them to spend more time outside.
New pigs will almost always fight. It's a pig thing. They must decide between themselves who is top pig and who is second place. Sometimes the decision is quick, other times the pigs have a long, noisy argument. But once this is settled they will become fast friends.
There's a list of sanctuaries and rescues that often have piglets available for adoption, as well as young pigs and adults. Contact farec for information about adopting a pig through the farec network, or visit www.pigplacementnetwork.com