Pot Bellied Pigs/Food agression


My potbellied pig, Terk, is 14 months old. He recently started clamping onto my hand or wrist, thrashing his head around, when I reach down to pick up his food bowl. Then, last night, my roommate had company over. One of the people has a very high-pitched voice and laughs very loudly and constantly, which I think makes him anxious and usually puts him in a foul mood. At the same time, I want him to be socialized, so I think it's good he's exposed to louder-than-usual people just so he's well adjusted. While they were over and playing games (a loud activity), Terk and I were cuddling on the couch. I readjusted my body, and Terk again clamped onto my arm. It was very embarrassing to have my pig attack me in front of company. I made him go into his room for two minutes, and then let him back out to cuddle and there were no problems.

My first instinct to address the food issue is to stop storing his bowl on the floor, but I want to know what I can do about the other. Why is he cuddling one moment and then thrashing around, trying to rip my arm out of its socket?

He's teething right now, but I don't think pigs normally act this mean from teething alone.

Thanks for your time!

I suspect Terk is testing his boundaries. Pigs express annoyance by "head swiping", sometimes with an open mouth.

When he tries to do this again, push his head away before he gets a chance to connect. If he comes at you again, push his head again.

You did the right thing by making him go to his space. The time out itself means nothing to the pig, but making him move does!

When pigs interact with each other, a dominant pig will make a submissive pig move. Maybe taking a few steps to the side, maybe actually getting up and walking away. The key is that the subordinate pig moves, and that's what you did when you sent him for a time out.

You might want to weigh him, or measure him to determine his weight. He may have had a growth spurt and need more food for his growth.

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Helen Morrison


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!


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

Pigs of Great Fortune; FAREC; PigCollaborative

BBA from KSU

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