Pot Bellied Pigs/Potbelly piglet

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Question
Lilo My potbelly
Lilo My potbelly  
Hi I have a Potbelly pig, she is 6 week old today. I had her since she was only 2 weeks old. All i want to know is that she can be very aggressive when i give her food. she never done this before, only started a week ago. she is free to walk inside the house and outside when she wanted to. she also started to pee every where, not in her sand any more. we also have 3 small dogs that plays with her. i still give her milk, but i am starting to give her must less every week. as she don't want to eat any food. she sleeps in next to our bed, and wakes me up 2 a night when she wants milk. can i just stop giving her milk, i I know she is going to drive me crazy for milk. please can you give some advise?

Answer
Momma pigs usually wean their babies at around 8 weeks old. During those 8 weeks babies learn important lessons from Momma pig as well as getting the extra nutrition from her milk. Your baby was taken away from her Momma at a very young age, so she's attempting to interact with you the way she would interact with her sibling piglets.

The problem is, she is not with her siblings. So she has to learn new behavior. Pigs learn very quickly but unlearn very slowly, so changing bad habits requires some patience and persistence.

The first problem is the potty issue. Baby piglets can not hold their pee very long. She's peeing everywhere because she can not make it to her box on time. The solution is to confine her in a relatively small space. A safe space for her only (no dogs) with a bed and litter box. A bathroom, large closet, laundry room or small bedroom are all good choices.

She will not appreciate this at first. But, by keeping her confined, you are helping her avoid mistakes and learn new habits. Every time you let her out of her space, make her potty in her box first. Take her to her box before and after each meal. If she's been out of her space for more than an hour, take her to her box and make her potty in it. Take her to her box when she wakes up from naps. The idea is to make her potty in the box so often she never has an urge to make a mistake.

The other problem is her diet. She needs to start eating pellets because they have more nutrition than plain milk. Start by warming the milk to room temperature or slightly warmer, and blend in 3 or 4 pellets. Literally just 3 or 4, no more. The next time, blend in 5 or 6, then 7 or 8. Do this every time you give piggy milk, and pretty soon piggy will be eating a milk and pellet paste. At this point you can switch from milk to water over a day or so. Or, you can begin to reverse the process, reducing the liquid at each meal until piggy is eating the pellets dry.

The rule of thumb is at least 1/2 c of pig pellets per 15 lb of pig. Many pigs need more, and some people free feed babies up to 12 weeks or so. Begin adding veggies and fruits to piggy's diet, a bit at a time here and there. Baby pigs naturally begin to follow Monna pigs example and begin to sample all sorts of foods when they are about 7 or 8 weeks old. So right now just introduce the foods and don't worry if piggy doesn't seem to care much. In a few weeks her body clock will tell her it's time to be weaned and she'll start eating the foods.

As for waking you up at night, feeding her a big meal before bed might help a little. But the only way to teach her to not wake you up for food is to not give her any food at night. Between bedtime and breakfast, no food. At first she'll be really upset, and likely throw a temper tantrum. Ignore it. Do NOT reward her bad behavior by caving in and giving her food. Let her work through it. She may do this for two or three nights, but if it does her no good she will give up. Do make sure she gets a good breakfast as her reward.

I highly recommend the book Pot-Bellied Pig Behavior and Training by Priscilla Valentine. I also recommend the video There's A Pig in the House from tophogs.com  Yahoogroups has a couple of groups devoted to pig lovers, PigInfoAndChat is a friendly group with members who are always willing to give 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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