Pot Bellied Pigs/New piggy mommy

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Question
I just purchased my mini pot bellied pig(female)Hydee. She is only 3 1/weeks old, which I now realize that it is too young to be away from her mother but whats done is done now and I love her so much already! Will this cause her to be a biter later on?

The owner of the pet store insured me that she went and picked the piggies up herself and she always looks at the parents first and mom and dad were both just bellow 40lbs. I was comforted by this until I found out some breeders will breed their 3 month old piglets! How big should I actually expect her to get on a proper diet?

We have had her for a week. She does seem to be adjusting well but I do have some questions about her behavior. She constantly roots at my hands and arms, (I know it isn't because she is hungry, she is a well fed piggy. About 3 ounces of formula 4 to 5 times a day 3 of those feedings with gerber baby rice cereal.) Is this normal or a behavior I need to stop?

Is she too young to house train? I do want her to go outside and when I take her for walks she has gone outside but inside she seems to use the same corner but with the liter box is there she will go beside it or in front of it. Is there anyway to get her to go in it? When I catch her peeing I always put her in it but she doesn't like it.

I really love my little Hydee and she follows my every step and is getting more use to me, but not my husband, but I told him thats because I feed her ha ha ha. I just want her to be a well mannered and well adjusted little piggy!

Answer
Pigs can be bred as young as 3 months, but will not be close to their full adult size until age 2. They will continue to grow slowly until they are as old as 6.

Pigs have extremely dense bodies, so if you put a pig and dog the same size next to each other, the pig will weigh up to twice as much as the dog. A 40 lb dog and an 80 - 100 lb pig will be close in size.

Rooting behavior is completely natural. Piglets root on Momma's belly to help the milk come in. Adult pigs root in the dirt to find tasty roots, seeds and other food. Her excessive rooting will probably dramatically decrease as soon as she is 12 weeks old, it usually stops completely by 6 months. In the meantime, try to direct her rooting to a pillow or stuffed toy.

A good litter box is big enough for piggy to turn completely around inside. It should have one side cut down very low, so piggy does not have to step up to get inside. It should have a non slip floor. Litter is optional. Some people can use cat litter, but most pigs try to eat cat litter and that's bad for them. Pine shavings work but can be messy. Shredded newspaper is an inexpensive choice. Absorbent pellets made for horse stalls or doggie pee pads also work. Some people simply use old towels, tossing them in the wash with bleach. Some people use nothing at all, removing the "pig berries" with a paper towel and flushing them, and dumping and rinsing the box.

I suggest switching her to goat milk or sow replacement formula at room temperature, then transition her to starter pig pellets to insure she is getting all the nutrition she needs. It's Ok to let her have as much goat milk or replacement formula as she likes, but switch her gradually over a couple of meals with controlled portions so she doesn't get a tummy ache. Then let her drink what she wants.

To get her onto pellets, warm the milk and mix just one or two pellets in, stir until they are dissolved. At the next meal, add 4 pellets, at the next, add 8. Continue very gradually so she doesn't notice a dramatic change in taste or texture. When her meal is soft and thick like cream of wheat cereal, you can either gradually switch from milk to water and continue to feed her moist pellets, or gradually reduce the amount of liquid at each meal until she's eating pellets dry.

I highly recommend the book Pot-Bellied Pig Behavior and Training by Priscilla Valentine. I also recommend the dvd There's a Pig in the House from tophogs.com Both are excellent training resources.

Pot Bellied Pigs

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Helen Morrison

Expertise

Pot-bellied or other miniature pet pig care, including diet, housing, training, health care. Can provide information about zoning, adoption, supplies, and organizations. Questions about any kind of pet swine are welcome!

Experience

Owning, raising, and caring for small pet swine, including "Vietnamese" pot-bellied pigs since 1992.

Organizations
Pigs of Great Fortune; FAREC; PigCollaborative

Education/Credentials
BBA from KSU

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