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Pot Bellied Pigs/5 Mo. Male Pot Belly Pig

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Question
We adopted a 5 month old pot belly pig a week ago.  Yesterday he started trying to climb our legs which I thought was his way of wanting to be picked up.  Only today, my husband was laying on the floor and I noticed that Beans was attempting to hump his arm.  When is a good recommended age to have him neutered.

My other question is with biting.  Everyone once in a while, he will make a gesture as if he wants to bite us.  How to we correct this?

Also, how do you begin to train them to do tricks or listen on command?

Answer
Male pigs are fertile at a very young age, as young as 8 weeks. They can be safely neutered as young as 2 weeks if they are big enough and the vet has experience. Most prefer to neuter them at 8 - 16 weeks. By this age male pigs are usually big enough, and their hormone-driven behavior is starting to be a problem. At 5 months your boy is old enough. There's a list of vets that see mini and pet pigs at www.farec.org

Pigs fight by head-swiping and biting. Often, they will chomp or smack their lips and foam at the mouth before actually charging. Other times they will be completely silent and almost invisible.

Pigs see the world as a ladder, with each person, pet or pig having his or her own rung. Pigs in a herd fight to decide who is in charge, and reinforce their position by making lower ranking pigs move. For example, take a lower ranking pig who is sleeping under a tree. A higher ranking pig comes along. The higher pig will make the lower pig get up and move away from the spot under the tree. The higher pig will do this by sticking his face right into the lower pigs face. The lower pig may bite or swipe back, but eventually will give up. The higher pig may also go for the lower pigs's feet. When an animals feet move, the animal moves. So moving the feet is a good way to make the lower pig move away from the spot.

Once the lower pig is up and walking away, the higher pig may or may not take over the sleeping spot. The point of the argument wasn't who gets to sleep in the spot, but that the higher pig could make the lower pig move.

When piggy goes to bite or swipe, push his head away to one side, and make him take a step backwards. Making him move tells him in pig language that he is not in charge.

Part of this behavior is hormone driven, and will stop when he is neutered.

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. Two excellent dvds are There's a Pig in the House and Amazing Pig Tricks from tophogs.com The Yahoo group PigInfoAndChat was established by Priscilla Valentine, and has lots of experienced pig owners who enjoy offering tips and advice.

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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