Pot Bellied Pigs/Screaming for food
I have a lovely mini named Norma Jean. For the most part she is well behaved. My main problem I have with her is throughout the night if she hears anyone awake she gets out of bed and screams for food. She does this in the morning too when I wake up. I have a small house so she wakes everyone up! How do I break her of this habit? Generally when she throws a fit I don't giver her food right away, so I don't know why this has started. She is three and a half months old.
At three and a half months she is still a growing baby. She may need more food. The rule of thumb is 1/2 c of pet pig pellets per 15 lb of piglet, divided into at least two meals and supplemented with fresh veggies, fruits, treats and grazing time.
It's very difficult to judge a pigs weight just by looking, so do weigh her on a scale. There is a formula for calculating a pigs weight by their measurements at www.farec.org but it is based on adult pigs not babies.
You can add up to 1 cup of plain uncooked oatmeal or rolled oats to her diet. Oats are low in calories but high in fiber so piggy will feel more full. Give her the oats at night, right before bed.
As for the night screaming, the only way to stop her is to completely ignore her at night during "sleeping hours". It will be difficult on everyone especially the first night or two. But, when she figures out that absolutely NOTHING will happen if she screams at night, she will stop.
It's natural for her to wake when you wake, and she will be hungry. Make her the first part of your morning routine, by taking her to potty then giving her breakfast when you wake up. Then, she will be relieved and full and much more social.
The other option is to teach her that NOTHING will happen before a set time, like 8 am. Pigs can sense time. Ignore her completely from bedtime until the set time. It doesn't matter how loud or long she screams, or what kind of temper tantrum she throws, ignore it. This will be difficult for everyone in the house for a couple of days. But in about a week she will be quiet until 8 am - but not one second longer.
I highly recommend the book Pot-Bellied Pig Behavior and Training by Priscilla Valentine. Pris really understands how pigs think and why they do the things they do. I also recommend the dvds There's a Pig in the House and Amazing Pig Tricks from tophogs.com Finally, the Yahoo group PigInfoAndChat is a great resource to learn directly from other pig owners.