Pot Bellied Pigs/toe nibbling
QUESTION: My pbp, Alvin, likes nothing but pig food, that's good.
But, he won't eat any treats so it's hard to train.
I've attempted fruit, honey bread, peanut butter bread,
marshmallows, raisins, even dog food since I've caught him
getting into it. Any suggestions?
ANSWER: Pigs can be surprisngly picky eaters. They each have their own likes and dislikes. Often they'll eat something they don't like, just because another pig (or pet or person) is eating it.
For the time being, you can use pig food for his training treats.
Age is often a factor in learning to eat. Momma pigs normally wean their babies at about 8 weeks old. Piglets under 6 weeks are not interested in anything other than Momma's milk or whatever food or formula they are taught to eat. At 4 or 5 weeks old, they might taste foods they see Momma pig eat, but they are more likely to spit the food back out than to chew and swallow. By 7 weeks old, they are actually chewing and swallowing the foods they sample, and by 9 weeks they are usually happy to eat anything in sight.
Try teaching him to sample foods the way his Momma pig would, that is, by eating them in front of him, and acting like you really enjoy it! Start with easy to eat foods like small chunks of watermelon. Most pigs enjoy milk and all dairy products, so tiny cheese cubes are another good starting point.
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QUESTION: my pbp is now eating the drywall do you think he's bored or needs something added to his diet
ANSWER: When a pig chews drywall it's due to boredom and an unfilled need to root. Pigs need to root, it's instinctive behavior. Pigs kept indoors will root when and where they can, and that usually means drywall and floors.
The only time a diet change will stop a pig from eating drywall is if the pig is starving or badly underfed. In this case feeding the pig the correct amount of food may reduce the destruction.
Rooting in dirt also allows pigs to ingest trace nutrients and minerals directly from the soil.
Give piggy a secure outdoor pen with shade and water and plenty of dirt to root in.
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QUESTION: Thanks for your help now the problems with Alvin who is now 13 weeks old.(He will
be neutered Saturday.)
He nibbles every ones' toes. We sternly say no but he continues i have tried to
distracting him but he's determined to nibble.
He also takes nudges our legs with his nose is this for attention?
It is both a bid for attention and an attempt to be in charge.
Pigs in a herd show each other who is in charge by making each other move. High ranking pigs will make low ranking pigs get up from a sleeping spot or step away from a food dish or climb out of a mudhole.
When a pig nibbles at toes, people usually quickly move their feet. This is, to piggy, a lot like a low ranking pig (the person attached to the feet) moving for a higher ranking pig.
The solution is to make piggy move back when he tries to nibble at toes. The hardest part of all is that the person who is being nibbled must NOT move their feet at all!! Their feet must stay planted firmly on the ground. That person must push piggy on the shoulder, and make piggy take a few steps back. Piggys feet are the feet that must move
I like to use the phrase Knock it Off, because the word no is really overused in daily conversation and it can get confusing for piggy. Knock it Off is used only when someone - or some pig! - needs to do just that - Knock it Off.
The first time this happens piggy will be shocked and probably try again. And again. If piggy tries a third time, make piggy walk all the way out of the room. Let piggy follow you back into the room immediately, but do make piggy walk out.