Pot Bellied Pigs/Pot Belly Pig

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QUESTION: Hi! We have a 1 and a half year old miniture vietnamese pot belly pig. She has always been a good pet and I understand that she roots and makes strange noises, but lately shes been doing something out of the ordinary. I used to play with her a lot like running and she would sprint after me. i went to go and visit her one day and she jumped on me and was just hanging there on my body... she would occasionally bite my arm and root it while she was still on. I gave a little time off to see if it would go away but clearly it isn't. I don't know if she's trying to mate or just be playful but she's female and she's not supposed to do the work when mating! I can't seem to figure out what it is? Please get back to me and help me with this situation. Thanks!

ANSWER: Females in heat can be surprisingly aggressive. Often, they will pick one person or pet and focus all their attention on that one. When the pig picks a person it can be annoying. But if they decide to pick the family dog as the one, things can turn ugly when the dog decides enough is enough.

Females in heat often become amazing escape artists. Once they've gotten loose they can roam sometimes for miles.

Females in heat can "forget" potty training. Actually they are trying to advertise that they are available and looking for love.

Pigs reach adulthood at age 2. Females can go into heat as young as 3 months, most start at 4 or 5 months. At first, it's not a big deal. But, as the pig gets older, the hormones get stronger, and the behavior gets worse until they reach adulthood. They will continue to cycle until they are spayed or well into their late teens (18 or 19).

You can redirect some of her behavior and work around others, but the behaviors themselves are driven by hormones. For example you could get her a very large stuffed animal and encourage her to choose it as her partner (sprinkle it with ordinary vanilla). If she forgets her potty training, you can put down puppy pee pads in her accident spots before she starts to cycle.  

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QUESTION: Thanks for the help! She has actually stopped. But if she does it again what can i do to stop it? Or can't i? She normally jumps n you and just stands there on your body...

Answer
You might be able to redirect the behavior, but she can't stop. It's not her fault, her body and brain are flooded with hormones that drive her to do this.

You might try getting a big stuffed animal and sprinkling it with vanilla. When she goes into heat again and begins to jump, redirect her to the stuffed animal. Push her face to one side, say something like "Knock it Off" - the word "no" is confusing because it is so over used in ordinary conversation. Then show her the animal and tell her to Love Her Pet or whatever phrase you want to use. Do this every time and she should learn to jump the stuffed animal when she gets the urge.

But, because the stuffed animal is not another pig, it may not keep her happy. She may still try to choose other people or pets as her mate, and she may still try to escape to find one on her own.

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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