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Pot Bellied Pigs/7 week old mini pig won't eat food

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Question
Hi, I have two mini pigs that I have had since they were 3 days old. The owner told me the mother did not have milk and they was going to starve so I started bottle feeding them. They are now 7 weeks old and I can not get them weaned off the bottle. Bo is a little bigger than his brother Luke who we believe was the runt. Bo will eat grits from a bowl if they are mixed with his milk, but Luke won't even try to eat from a bowl. They are fed several times a day and they sleep in a play pen at night but still wake up every 3 hrs through the night. I assume they are hungry so I feed them and they go back to bed. I really need help getting them to eat on their own and off the bottle. I work and go to school and have 2 kids and I'm having to take them with me every where I go since they eat every 3 hrs. Please help before I go insane.

Answer
At 7 weeks they are old enough to be weaned off formula completely, but the transition from bottle to solid food might be a bit abrupt for them.

So, for the first step, get them to eat out of a pan. Just put the formula in a shallow pan or dish on the floor (or a washable floor mat) and let them have at it. If they have never drank from a dish before they could make quite a mess, and most of it may end up on the floor or on their faces. So they may need extra food the first few times, and be ready to clean the up.

Once they are eating formula from the dish, soak a couple slices of bread in the formula, so they get used to a different texture. After a few meals, start adding pellets, just a few at a time. Like maybe 3 pellets at the first meal, 6 at the second, 9 at the third. Let the pellets dissolve completely in the formula, and add a few more at every meal.

Eventually, the formula will have a cream of wheat kind of texture. At this point you can either switch gradually from formula to water, and continue to serve the pellets wet, or you can gradually reduce the amount of formula until piggies are eating dry.

The key is to make each change gradual, so piggy really doesn't notice a huge difference in the food.

By 8 or 9 weeks piglets usually become very interested in all sorts of foods.

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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