Pot Bellied Pigs/Baby pot bellies
QUESTION: I recently rescued a pot bellied pig. I went to feed her Sunday morning and found piglets! She wanted nothing to do with them and had in fact killed all but 2 of her litter. I now have two tiny pot bellie baby pigs in the house. I am more than a little confused about all the information I have read. My main concerns are 1.What is the best way to feed them? I am using a dropper because I have had no sucess at all with a bottle. Is it better to do the pan? 2. How long can they go at night in between feedings? I haven't had much sleep since finding them as I don't like to let them cry. 3. I bought a milk replacer for baby pigs. Should I use cereal with it like some of the reading I've done suggests? I have raised all different kinds of animals but I must say baby pot bellie pigs are a first for me. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.
ANSWER: Congratulations on the piglets! Babies are cute and fun.
It's important to keep them warm. Ideally, the room temperature should be close to 90, which is uncomfortably hot for most people. So give them a set up with a heat lamp in one corner so they can choose how hot or cold they want to be.
Pan feeding is best. Pigs have narrow throats and it's easy for them to inhale liquids causing pneumonia. They should be able to eat from a pan right away, although it might be a bit messy. Use some plain crustless bread in the pan to help them learn to slurp.
At first they will need a lot of feedings, by the time they are 10 days or so they should be able to get by on four feedings. By the time they are 5 weeks, that can be cut back to 3.
You can use the milk replacer with or without cereal. Adding cereal can make it thicker and easier for babies to slurp up from the pan.
Another option is to teach them to drink from an animal water bottle, the kind that is held upside down, with a metal tube and a ball at the end. When the animal licks the ball, water flows through.
I highly recommend the book Pot-Bellied Pig Behavior and Training by Priscilla Valentine. The dvds There's a Pig in the House and Amazing Pig Tricks by tophogs.com are excellent also. The Veterinary Care of Pot-Bellied Pigs by Lorrie Blackburn Boldrick covers medical topics. I also recommend the Yahoo group PigInfoAndChat, a number of members have raised orphans and abandoned babies by hand and can help with lots of advice.
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QUESTION: Thanks so much for the information. I am having poop problems! One of them can't poop and the other one can't stop pooping! I think the milk replacer is not agreeing with my tiny little girl. I bought goats milk and am going to change her over to all goat's milk over the next 24 hrs. I know I can use Koapectate for her runny bowels. I however do not know how much I should give her. You said I can add cereal to the milk. Will this help with the diarrhea? I know diet change isn't good for irritated bowels so I really don't know what to do. Thanks for all your help.
Does the milk replacer contain colostrum? If not, the diarrhea could be caused by e.coli. It's a common bug, but can be deadly in baby pigs. It can also be very difficult to cure. If the diarrhea is just from switching foods, a little banana in the mix can help. But if it's due to e.coli the only thing that will fix it is antibiotics. So if the diarrhea doesn't clear up very quickly, piggy will need to see a vet.
Has the piggy who won't poop, pooped at all? If piggy has never pooped, there may be something wrong internally, and piggy will need to see a vet. You can try massaging piggy's belly or putting a tiny bit of plain canned pumpkin (not pie mix) in the milk mix.
Goat milk is a really good choice, and once they are switched over hopefully all the tummy troubles will go away.