Litter Box – The litter box must be low and long so the pig can step in and be in it entirely.Never use kitty litter as pigs try to eat it – newspaper works best. A girl pig can be perfectly situated in her pan and urinate just outside due to the "fountain effect." This is not the pig’s fault, but a matter of not being provided with an ample commode.Most pigs prefer to pee in the litter box but poop outside.
Dishes – Use plastic or aluminum – pigs like to push things with their noses and tend to break ceramic dishes.Wide dishes are best to accommodate wide noses.
Bedding – Keep away from drafts.Pigs prefer a sleeping bag so that they can burrow down in it, but blankets, pillows, and dog beds work as well.Never use a heated blanket as pigs will chew on the cord!
Walking Area – Pigs have trouble with traction, so carpet is a must – if you have wood/tile/linoleum floors you may need to make paths through the house with throw rugs.
Curiosity – Pigs are notoriously curious and will get in to everything!All cupboards should be safety locked as though for a child.Keep all dangerous things out of pigs reach.
Intelligence – Pigs are rated the fifth most intelligent animal.First being humans followed by monkeys, dolphins, whales, and then pigs.They need mental stimulation – so lots of toys and training!
Social – Pigs are very social, living in groups in the wild.As such they require attention.A companion is highly advised if your pig will be alone a lot.Potbelly pigs are not lawn ornaments or something to put in the garage/shed/barn all alone!They are every bit as social as a dog.
How much to feed –
·6 Weeks to 3 Months: Using a 16% protein grower ration gradually decrease from free choice feeding until your pig is receiving 1 to 1 1/2 cups per day. Your judgment comes into play here, but I firmly believe that l cup per day per pig is the minimum for this age range. This age pig requires a hefty amount of food in order that the nervous system, organs and bones develop properly.
·3 Months to 5 Months: In order to maintain a pig in good condition I suggest feeding a 14% protein maintenance ration at the rate of a maximum of 2 cups daily. You must use your good judgment. Try not to underfeed or over-feed your sweetie pig. If you can see the pig’s ribs, hip bones and/or backbone, you are not feeding enough.
·5 Months and Older: It is fine to maintain your pig on a 14% protein ration, but 12% is also quite satisfactory. Again 2 cups per day is the general rule in terms of the amount fed.
What to feed – The staple diet for a potbellied pig should be a nutritionally balanced mini-pig-chow (Heartland, Peak Performance, Mazuri or Manna Pro).Daily fresh vegetables should be made available.Keep fruits to a minimum as they are higher in fat content.Pigs are omnivores – they eat both vegetables and meat.Also, they have no thalamus, so they think they are constantly hungry.
Potty Training - Between three and five months of age (and sometimes even sooner) a pig will begin to be able to control urination until escorted outside. It is unreasonable to expect your pig to have perfect potty manners before this time. You need to be consistent in your training and supervision. Pigs are creatures of habit and like the predictability of having regular times to go outdoors. A good schedule is first thing in the morning before breakfast is served; again at noon-time, if possible; before dinner; and finally just before bedtime. Eventually, you can expect that your pig will only require two potty breaks a day
Hooves – Hooves need to be trimmed regularly.You can help keep them shorter by providing rough ground for them to naturally wear down – such as cement or a securely attached asphalt shingle on a frequently walked-upon surface (like a ramp for example).
Skin - Pigs are prone to dry skin – 200IUs of natural Vitamin D daily can help.There are also a number of shampoos and skin conditioners available for dry skin.For after-bath application try Skin-So-Soft (diluted 1 part water/1 part skin-so-soft and sprayed on).During winter months try olive oil.
Size – A potbelly pig will continue to grow until 2-3 years of age.Contrary to what a bad breeder may tell you – feeding a pig less food will not make it stay smaller.It may cause serious deficiencies though – so please make sure your pig has enough to eat.The best way to estimate the adult size of a piglet is to know how big the parents were.
Life Expectancy – Potbelly pigs usually live 12-20 years, with 15-18 being about average.Some pigs do live longer with proper care (up to a potential 30 years).
Veterinary Care – Pet pigs require annual vaccinations.Unfortunately there are no officially approved rabies vaccinations for pigs.Some veterinarians do not offer them, and some do, though it is unknown if this vaccination would be considered sufficient by authorities if your pig were to bite someone.
Spay – Unaltered female pigs come into heat every 21 days and become moody, have an increased need to urinate, and have more accidents.If you do not intend on breeding – please have your pig spayed!This is best done between six and twelve weeks of age.
Advantages – Pigs are clean, odor-free, shed very little, quickly trained (you can teach tricks in addition to basic obedience and housebreaking), and are usually hypoallergenic.
Disadvantages – Some cities require special zoning to own a pig, finding a specialized veterinarian may prove difficult, and without proper time and training pigs can become spoiled and manipulative.Remember that a pig is potentially a TWODECADE responsibility!Never get one on impulse – do your research first!