Pot Bellied Pigs/Pig needs to go outside!
QUESTION: I have a huge problem. My 4 month old piggy is destroying my house. No matter what toy or rooting box or how well fed or trained, she is obsessed with ripping and chewing the our new linoleum floor up.It is a one piece sheet and we have had to spend a LOT of money trying to fix it, in 4 places so far. I left her to go get her blanket out of the dryer and in the 2 minutes I was gone she had already tore up one of the fixed pieces. We cant live this way! She now has to stay in a crate large enough for her bed on one side and a place to use the bathroom on the other 80% of the time. It also means she has to have a bath a lot more often because she smells like a couped up animal. I do not want her living this way, but we have had weather in the negative degrees and that is far too cold for her outside and it would also mean our elderly dog would no longer be able to sleep on the porch(The dog has never had to sleep in a dog house and wont go in one we have tried.). I am at a loss on what to do. The only other option was trying to find a home for her elsewhere that could maybe be home all the time and constantly work with her but I have had no luck. I looked into sanctuaries but I cant do that to her either. She has lived a very pampered life in her 4 months.I love her and want the best for her but I literally have to watch her like a hawk when she is out and she is always mad at me because I am always putting her in "time out". The only time she wants my attention now is when she wants to cuddle up and sleep. This is ruining our bond and my husband has got to where he wont fool with her because he is in a constant state of agitation with her. Do you have any ideas?
ANSWER: Young piglets have a lot of energy to burn. They love to run, jump and play. It's difficult for them to stay cooped up inside during a cold winter.
I suspect there's an odor in the linoleum that's triggering piggys natural rooting instinct. This will be difficult to overcome. One solution is to cover the places she's attacking, with mats or if possible heavy furniture. Another is to keep her away from the linoleum altogether if that is possible.
Another solution might be to keep her on a harness and lead at all times. So instead of leaving her, even for a second, she'd have to come with you where you could keep an eye on her. It also helps her understand that you are in charge. I once had to do this with a house pig who would sneak away to open cupboards whenever I answered the phone. When he was on a lead, he could not sneak away.
If you have an unheated garage or shed, you can give her a safe space to play for a few hours every day. Set up a pen or empty out the room, add three or four bales of straw. Put a coat on piggy, and let her tear apart the straw. Check on her every so often to make sure her ears do not get too cold.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Do piglets go through phases like pups with chewing things? Will she grow out of it or is it just what they do? We also cant have shoes anywhere near her she would chew them off your feet if you let her! She is growing very fast and is about 25lbs at the moment. What size harness should I get that would be the right size now but could grow with her. She out grew her first one in about 2 weeks so I haven't got another because of her rate of growth right now.
Pigs have three sets of teeth in their lives, so for the first 3 years or so of their lives they are growing and loosing teeth. Naturally, this is a little uncomfortable.
But, the issue with chewing feet is not about teething. It's about the pig trying to be the boss. Pigs see the world as a ladder, with each person, pet or pig having his or her own rung. Higher ranking pigs show their position by making lower ranking pigs move. Piggy is making you move by chewing on your feet, and trying to be above you in the herd ranking.
Piggy can't be allowed to sniff or chew on anybody's feet. When piggy starts to nose, chew or even touch the snout to feet, gently push piggy's face away, and make piggy take a step or two back. That step or two back is important, because it shows piggy that you are higher in the herd. The first few times, piggy will be upset and may try even harder. Just keep at it, each time make piggy take one more step back. Every person in the house must do this every time piggy gets nosy around feet.
For harnesses I highly recommend Rossmillfarm.com if you are unsure which size to buy, just drop them an email.