Pot Bellied Pigs/Teacup Pig

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Question
I've recently bought a 10 month old pig who'll be 11 months next week. His name is Lloyd and he's a teacup. The person I bought him from had said that he was the sweetest pet ever and that the only reason he was selling him was due to the fact that he was moving into an apartment. I also have a dog and 4 cats who Lloyd is slowly but steadily warming up to. He was trained well ( He knows his name, he can sit, and also dance on his hind legs). I've only had him 2 weeks and I'm noticing things that may be the reason why the owner sold him.
 He is constantly squealing, crying, grunting, and almost growling when he doesn't get his way. If he's awake, this is the way that he's acting. As soon we get up off the couch to do anything, he jumps up and starts doing all of these things because he wants food. If you don't give him anything then he gets really loud and will nip at you. He has bitten, but not hard. He will also act like this towards my animals. I figured it was because of the new change and all, but I'm giving him way more attention then the owner before ever gave him. The owner even said that the pig spent a lot of time alone. I would think he would be happier.
 I'm feeding him Mazuri youth, 1 cup a day like the owner told me too, and he probably gets 3 or 4 serving of fruit/veggies a day. He weighs 30 pounds and appears to be healthy.
 I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, or even if it's me. I'm thinking that these behaviours is why the owner wanted to get rid of him. I don't want to give him away and I really want this to work. What can I do to get him to stop behaving in such a demanding and mean way....?
 If you would, I would really appreciate you giving me your email so that we can chat back and forth. Allexperts only allows for a couple questions. Any input you have is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time. Joe

Answer
Ok, last question first. I am on a couple of groups devoted to pigs. One is a Yahoo group called PigInfoAndChat. There's lots of friendly, helpful and experienced pig owners there and they love to talk pig. Another is Pet Pig Advice Network on Facebook. I totally recommend joining one or both groups. I don't check my personal email that often, it's not a good way to get ahold of me.

Several things are going on with piggy. This is yet another new environment for him to adjust to. Piglets are very adaptable, but as they get older, they prefer stable routines. It will probably take him awhile to feel comfortable and understand that he's staying.

Some pigs are naturally noisy. They talk constantly. Usually it's girls that do this, but sometimes boys will, too. Another reason for being really noisy is hunger. You are following the rule of thumb, which is always a good place to start. But, it doesn't fit every pig. So, start gradually upping the amount of food he's getting. His body might be preparing for one of his last growth spurts. I'd start by adding an extra 1/4 c per day, and see what happens after a couple of days.

Pigs see the world as a ladder, with each person, pet or pig having his or her own rung. Piggy is realizing he's not just a visitor, so he has to find his rung. Naturally, he wants to be fairly high up on the pecking order. And, if he is underfed, the aggression will be much worse when food is involved.

Another possible contributing factor could be lessons he learned at the previous home. If, for example, he was given a treat every time someone opened the refrigerator, he's going to expect the same thing to happen here. When it doesn't happen, he doesn't understand and gets frustrated and angry. The solution here is to give him no treats at all except for training treats. But, remember to up his food a bit so he isn't actually being deprived food, just treats.

Pigs interact with other pigs by making each other move. For example, if a low ranking pig is sleeping under a tree and a high ranking pig walks by, the high pig will make the low pig get up and move. The high pig then may or may not take the sleeping spot. The point wasn't about who gets to sleep in the spot, the point was that the higher up pig could make the other pig move away from the spot. Now, it's wrong for people to treat each other that way. But, it's the way pigs think, so it's ok for people to use pigs natural behavior to teach them. When piggy does something wrong, make piggy take a step or two back. Expect an angry piggy the first few times, but piggy will settle down quickly. Reinforce the lessons by making piggy move at random times, do not ever step over or around piggy, instead make piggy move out of your way. You have the higher rung. Trick training is helpful because it teaches piggy to listen to and obey the person.

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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