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Basic Pig Care 101: Bringing Your Pig Home

Taking Care of Your Pigs Physical & Nutritional Needs

Pigs need to have a balanced, nutritious diet and be fed at least twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening) in order to remain healthy. 

A common stereotype about pigs is that they only eat slop, but that’s not true. 

Pigs can do potty training

Pig Care Basics: Nutritional Needs of Pigs

The 6 key nutrients that pigs need are water, fat, protein (for the amino acids they need to maintain body processes), carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins—just like humans.

A healthy diet for pigs consists of pellets, vegetables, alfalfa hay, bran, and multivitamins. Overall, your pig’s diet should be low protein, low fat, and high fiber. Fresh vegetables should only make up roughly 25 percent of your pig’s daily diet. 

When feeding your pig commercial pellets, give it about a half cup for every 25 pounds–or 2 cups per day for adults. Some of the more common pig pellet brands you can use include:

If your pig will live outdoors, monitor how much it eats while grazing. If a pig eats a lot of grass, then you may need to lessen the amount of food you give it during the day. 

Avoid giving your pet pig high-sugar or high-processed foods as treats. The best treats for pigs are high in fiber and low in sugar, such as fruits and veggies. 

If your pig isn’t eating well, check out these articles:

What are the best vitamins for pigs?

Pigs need vitamins like vitamins A, E, D, B12, K, niacin, riboflavin, coline, and pantothenic acid. The quantities of vitamins they require will vary according to their life stages. A gestating and lactating sow will require the most vitamins, especially vitamin A and vitamin D. Natural feed may not provide these, so supplementation is needed.

Baby piglets may need to be cared differently than adult pigs

Giving Pet Pigs Fresh Water Every Day

Your pig should have constant access to water. Water is critical to your pig’s health. 

Explain how much water average pigs consume

On average, a pig requires 1.5 gallons of fresh drinking water a day. A safe rule is to ensure pigs get 1.5 to double the amount fed in water daily. So if a pig eats a bucket of feed a day, they should have two buckets of water. 

Pigs also need water to cool down each day, so you should have a sprinkler system or a wallowing area where they can rinse and roll. Their wallowing area may require several dozen gallons of water each day to ensure they can dip and snort up mud to roll in.

But, the amount of water is not as important as the availability of water. When pigs root, they may often splash water out of their bowl to cool themselves down, leaving less water to drink later. 

Keep a keen eye on their water bowl and rooting habits, and ensure there is plenty of freshwater available for them to drink even after rooting. You may also want to invest in a larger, strong trough or a non-tip bowl to prevent your pig from moving it around too much. 

Ensure your pigs have access to vegetables, fruits, grass, and hay in an area that’s separate from their wallowing space to keep their food free of mud. Feed foods low in sugar, salt, and fat, as a pig quickly becomes overweight, leading to overheating.

Pigs usually won’t overeat. However, your pig can become too fat and unhealthy if you feed it food that is too sugary or fatty for your pig’s health. It can also gain weight if it can’t move around and get enough exercise. 

Take care of a pig by knowing their needs

Pet Pigs Need Regular Exercise To Avoid Boredom

Pigs require regular exercise and activity; without it, they can become easily bored and potentially destructive. 

They also require exercise in order to keep their digestive tract running properly and reduce the risk of constipation.  

Even indoor pigs should be allowed outside for sunshine and exercise. Pigs are happier if they get to spend some time outside. 

My Pigs Are Bored! Do They Need Toys? 

Pigs love toys. Your pig will enjoy pushing balls around, rooting under objects and in containers for treats, and collecting large rocks. Use a toy that stimulates a natural instinct such as searching or stimulates their sense of touch, like a back scratcher. Toy balls stuffed with hay can also entertain your pig for hours.

Pig needs toys to be entertained

Best Pig Beddings For Pet Pigs

Pigs love a soft bed of hay to roll in and sleep on during cold winter nights. Wood shavings are another firm favorite, and it’s also hypo-allergenic and anti-bacterial. In a pinch, use leaves and soft plant material to make a sensory bed that your pig will love rooting through. Pigs can also sleep on oat, barley, and wheat straw.

Pigs Need Mud to Avoid Sunburn

Because of their pink skin, pigs are vulnerable to sunburn. Help pigs avoid sunburn with water, mud, and shade to provide relief from UV exposure. Mud, water, and even dirt can help coat your pig’s skin, limiting their exposure to UV rays, which cause serious skin burns. Use tarps, run-in sheds, and muddy areas to provide relief. 

Pet Pigs Need Sunlight Too!

While pigs burn quite easily, they still need exposure to some sunlight. The UV rays of sunlight help produce natural vitamin D in the pig’s body. A large body also needs help heating up on cold mornings, which is where sunlight helps. Sunlight also helps repel insects and kills skin bacteria that may lead to itching. 

Taking Care of Pigs In Terms of Grooming Needs

A pig may seem like a messy animal, but they love being groomed. Careful brushing makes a pig’s skin less likely to attract mites and other harmful biting insects. Your pig needs to be groomed to ensure they remain healthy and happy. 

Pigs Have Hair So They’re Prone to Shedding

Pigs have hair instead of fur, so they do not shed as often as your typical dog or cat. In fact, they only shed once a year–typically in the spring–within the span of a week. Pig owners with younger pigs should not expect them to start shedding until they reach about two years old. 

Brushing Pig Hair is Necessary Since Pigs Have Dry Skin

Because their hair is thin, pigs often develop flaky, dry skin. To avoid this, you will need to brush your pig regularly. To avoid dry skin further, apply mild skin lotion on a daily or every other day basis. 

Feed a pig with a balanced and nutritious diet

Do Pigs Need a Water Bath? 

Although pigs are not actively smelly animals, pigs still need baths from time to time. It is recommended that pigs receive baths at most once a month. This is because baths can dry their skin out easily. When you do bathe them, apply a mild skin lotion afterward to help lock in moisture.

A common misconception of pigs is that they often smell bad. However, it actually is not necessarily the pig as it is the environment they live in. 

Many things in a pig’s environment can be attributed to its smell, one being how its bathroom area is being managed. Pigs usually like to use the bathroom in the same area every day, but if their waste is not picked up, a smell can begin to develop. Make sure you keep their bathroom area clean and tidy. 

Hoof Care for Pet Pigs

Pigs will need routine hoof care to make sure they do not cause long-term damage to their feet. Their hooves need filing or trimming at least three to four times a year.

It is best to get your pig used to hoof trimming and filing while it is young to prevent hassle later. The ideal time to trim your pig’s hooves are while it is relaxed or while getting its belly rubbed. However, if you find that your pig is resistant to the trimming or filing, a professional groomer who works with pigs can help. 

Pigs are prone to shedding

Older Pigs Need Tusk Care

Older pigs that develop tusks (usually around three years of age or older) will require them to be trimmed at the sharp points. Pigs have large teeth, which are called tusks, especially with the male or boar pigs. These teeth would normally break off in the wild from foraging and fighting with other invading male pigs. 

Rasping your pig’s tusks can make a huge difference and stop them from self-inflicting painful bites. When a pig  bites their own lips, it can lead to infection and death. Keeping tusks short helps ensure your pig can eat without problem. 

Protect Your Pet Pig From Insects! 

For the most part, fleas usually leave pigs alone. However, mites can affect your pig’s well-being. Be mindful of them and treat accordingly. Flies, midges, mites, and even mosquitoes can really bother your pig. They can cause allergic reactions that may lead to scratching, biting, and even self-mutilation if your pig becomes really irritated. 

Mites can cause sarcoptic mange, while deer flies and horse flies can seriously hurt your pig if they aren’t protected.  

How to Take Care of a Pig and Its Health

There are a number of health issues that can arise in pigs. Most of these issues are easily avoided with the right diet and lifestyle for your pig. 

But, if your pig is inbred, or their growth was stunted to keep them smaller, then you may see these health issues arise in your pig. 

Mange is a skin condition that is often caused by mites. Symptoms include dry, scaly, and itchy skin. Treatment for mange is usually offered by the vet. 

Obesity happens because pigs can very easily be overfed and will become obese as a full-grown adult. Make sure you keep track of their grazing habits and reduce additional food offerings accordingly.  

Arthritis often develops as a secondary disease as a result of obesity. Arthritis occurs in pigs who have difficulty walking due to being overweight. Their joints become tighter and much more prone to pain. 

Overheating is a serious concern with pigs, and pigs should have a normal rectal temperature of 99.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Pigs are only capable of sweating through their snout, so if you notice that it is wet, they are most likely overheated. Make sure you keep them in the shade and have plenty of water available. 

Worms can be a serious concern with pigs. Most pigs should be treated for worms every 6 months with a shot. You can learn to give the shot yourself and purchase the vaccination from a veterinary clinic or farm store (or order it off Amazon). 

Another thing you can do to maintain the health of your pig is to spay or neuter them. This is especially beneficial for female pigs. Female pigs who are not spayed are more likely to develop uterine issues, mammary tumors, and ovarian cancer in adulthood.

Take care of a potbelly pig

How to Take Care of a Potbelly Pig

Answer this section in a concise form with 300-350 characters. 

To care for a potbelly pig, provide the necessary vaccinations, get professional tusk and hoof trimmings, feed appropriately, keep them cool, and have your pig neutered or spayed to prevent home-drama when hormones rage. Socialize your pig, nipping aggressive tendencies in the bud. Avoid feeding starchy and human foods that lead to obesity. 

Pigs Are Smart

Pigs are very smart creatures. They develop their own social hierarchies with herd dynamics. Individually pigs have complex emotions and thoughts. Pigs are happiest when they live with other pigs so if you’re getting one it would be best to get two.

Pigs Like to Challenge Others to Dominance

Pigs are known for showing behavioral issues that “challenge” other animals or people, this includes lunging at them, or nipping at them to get attention. Pigs play these games with each other. If they do this to you and you move away, they think they won and they’re dominant over you.

Showing Your Pig that You Are Boss

One way to correct this type of behavior is to set boundaries with a stick and defend that bubble as your personal space. Use the stick as an extension of yourself and position it so that your pig bumps into it. If they stop and don’t run into the stick (your space), reward them with a pet and scratch with the stick.

This lets the pig know where your space is and warns them not to enter it unless invited.

These behaviors work with other pigs because they work out a certain dynamic in the herd where every pig has a position, including the leader. Pigs need a leader because in the wild the leader would make herd decisions like where to sleep, eat and drink from.

Pigs ultimately feel safe when they know they have a leader so make sure that is you or else the “leader pig” will think he can do whatever he wants/

Having more pigs will mean that they will greatly reduce these shows of dominance because they can work out dynamics socially, which is natural to them.

How Do Pigs Get Along with Other Animals?

Pigs can get along with other animals but are best with other pigs. Riskier than allowing goats with pigs is allowing pigs and dogs to be in the same space. In this case, the dogs are predators, and pigs are the prey. Without human supervision, there is a great chance that attacks, and injuries will break out.

More often than not, pigs will have problems with other animals. Some cases can be completely fine, but it depends on the environment and the attention of the owner/keeper.

How Do Pigs Get Along with Other Pigs?

Pigs are inherently prey animals. This means they can easily feel threatened, so they feel much safer when they are around other pigs. They will eat, play, sleep together and sort out herd dynamics.

Other animals can’t provide the same companionship, enrichment, physical, and mental stimulation that pigs can. Pigs can become depressed and bored without a companion, this could possibly lead to them exhibiting destructive behaviors.

With one solitary pig,  it is you who will have to provide the mental and physical stimulation to keep your pig happy and socially satisfied.

My Most Used Pig Supplies

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Purina Pig Chow will last well (or Mazuri is popular, but I haven’t tried it), and the stainless steel non-skid bowls that will help keep the mess down.

A pig blanket to keep her warm. This one also has bright colors and helps to provide rooting without the destruction.

Pig Harness for walking and handling your pig. There are a lot to choose from, but this one is pretty easy to use. If you want one that has a separate leash, this looks like a good one.

A large crate for keeping her safe in your house at night and when you leave the house. This is essential. You’ll also want a litterbox, and I like mine with a lid for nighttime. Pine shavings are best, and you may be able to find them in larger quantities locally.

When you have accidents, Odoban will help eliminate odors. When you are potty training, these floor pads work great for keeping your house clean while training her to go in certain places.

You’ll also want an outdoor house to keep her warm when she gets outside time, an essential part of her development.

Dewormer- Ivermectin is the primary dewormer I use, although I do rotate with a non-ivermect ingredient once so that the worms don’t get immune to it.

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