Happy Honker Farm
When you get your piglet home it will be scared. Pigs are not like a dog, you must earn their trust and this can take ALOT of time and patience. No matter how much time I spend building trust with the piglet..it is on you to continue a trusting relationship as a human to a pig. The number one complaint I hear is that their new piglet won't let them touch it or pick it up.
Pigs are prey animals and their only defense mechanism is to be able to run away. Pigs instinctively don't want to be held until you've proven yourself to be trustworthy AND you are holding them correctly. It has taken me many litters of piglets to master holding piglets properly so they feel safe. Some pigs never learn to like being picked up and that's ok too because they aren't small for very long.
Pigs are very sensitive and complex animals meaning they feel emotion and can pick up on good and bad vibes as well as fear. Keep this in mind when you are trying to be a creep and slyly take pictures/videos of their cute shenanigans, because they immediately sense you and "statue". Pigs get depressed when their family and routine are disrupted. You go on a trip and you come home to a depressed pig. They thought you left for good because you are their family member and they need their family at home.
Pigs are very much on a schedule like a child. They have an internal clock saying wake up it's time to eat every morning generally bright and early in the morning and Get up I've got to potty. They are constantly watching and learning our behavior's so they can be very naughty if you don't piggy proof your house. We have our cabinets locked, screw in the wall baby gate up, refrigerator out of the kitchen, along with the trash can in the hall instead of the kitchen which is our pigs area to sleep.
My pigs have ate the wall (Sheetrock/drywall), messed up my floors by peeing in the carpet and finding the one weak spot in the kitchen flooring which creates the rest of the floor to be damaged, and tore up multiple pet beds even the Kong brand which is supposed to be bullet proof.
When your pig is tearing up your stuff it's not because they hate you, it's more than likely because they are bored. They need to have something to do and if you aren't providing entertainment/enrichment activities then guess what...your stuff gets demolished!
We got our first piglet too early (3 weeks old) and he rooted us to death leaving bruises everywhere! It was painful. If the breeder had kept Eskie with his mother then he would have been properly weaned, learned his manners, and less likely to root on us so much. Our solution was to redirect his attention by taking a tube sock and filling it with other socks to make it look like a rolling pin. Eskie would then root his rolling pin up/down happily! It sounds crazy but it worked. We took 2 liter bottles poked holes in it and placed Cheerios in it and Eskie would roll it around dispensing treats.
When you get your piglet home..a good rule of thumb is to put them in their own small area such as a bathroom or laundry room. Let them check it out and get comfortable. Sit in the floor as still as possible and let the piglet be curious enough to check you out. It's hard to patiently wait because you want to pet your piglet so badly! They will use their litter box better in a more confined space to begin with because their options are limited. Pigs LOVE to pee in carpet and it's disgusting so don't even consider having your piglet on carpet until they are EXTREMELY reliable on the potty training! They go back and pee in the same places and your carpet shampoo cleaner may help but it's not good enough for most people. A cleaner called Odoban which can be bought at Home Depot is supposed to neutralize the smell hence your pig won't pee there again because they can't smell it anymore. I have not found it to be useful but others have so knock yourself out if you really want the hassle of cleaning your carpets all the time! I don't let my pigs on my carpet because I've been there, done that, and replaced my carpet!
So now you have your beloved piglet that you have been dying to hold and love on and they want nothing to do with you..what do you do? You sit in the floor or lay in the floor for hours..let them crawl all over you..put Cheerios on your body and let them associate you with good ole Cheerios! Pigs have the ability to predict outcomes based on previous contact. So they start seeing you as an asset instead of a possible predator. Pigs can't see well so any type of fast movements and over their head movements are going to trip them out so don't do that. If you slowly use under handed movements starting under their chiny chin chins then they tolerate this more and you can move down in between their front legs and on to their bellies which they LOVE!
Once you have successfully mastered not scaring them to death it's time to pick them up! Yah not an easy task for the beginner..some don't mind it much..others scream like a banshee!!! I try to get them used to being in my lap with treats first..but however you decide to do it just keep in mind they won't be blowing you kisses [😘] [😘] [😘]
Pigs need to be supported when you pick them up. So I will have one hand under the chin/neck and the other under the butt securing their back legs. I hold them close to my chest. They scream then try to switch up your position..be careful because they are like Olympic jumpers! My best advice is you get someone to be your assistant and when you pick them up, have a tasty treat waiting for them, so they A) Forget they are scared B) Associate good things with being held. Pigs are like men..if you feed them they will do whatever you want! Persistence pays off!!!
You get what you give..meaning you put in that quality time with your pig, you gain access to trust, trust leads to a quality relationship, you live happily ever after! Not really but for real you can't just try to build a relationship then give up or be inconsistent because your pig is smart! They want to know you are their leader and they want to be able to predict your behavior which makes a more confident pig.
If you want the best advice on training..I would say that clicker training is the best way to teach your pig tricks! They catch on so quickly. I got a clicker for under $5 at TSC. Watch videos on YouTube to get ideas of new tricks or watch to see how that person taught their pig that certain trick. It amazes me what people teach their pig!
We use Purina Pig and Sow from TSC. 1/4 cup morning and evening. We give them sliced up grapes,apples,peaches,lettuce, pumpkin, and carrots. We look like super healthy people in Wal-Mart because our buggy is full of fruits and vegetables [😂]
Harness training is a nightmare to begin with because they are screaming and they don't like it but over time they will stand still to harness up. If you wait til they are bigger harness training is more work. It's easier to teach them young because you can force it on them.
Moisturize your pig with coconut oil. We buy it at the Dollar Store. We heat it up and brush it on to the pigs and they love it. We also give our pigs a spoonful of coconut oil a day which is good for their skin. Pigs love to be brushed more than petting in my opinion. Don't get me wrong they will take petting but I think they enjoy the exfoliation
they get from the brush on their dry skin. Pigs skin is real dry and flaky at times so exfoliate then brush on coconut oil so it really gets in their skin. We use our hands to rub it in too. You will be amazed what a good exfoliation and coconut oil treatment will do for your pig. They look like a million bucks!!!
We use Tidy Cats non clumping cat litter. Some other options are the shavings and the equine pellets. I've never tried that because cat litter works best for us. We use a regular sized cat litter box.
We don't vaccinate our pigs because our vet doesn't recommend it however some vets vaccinate for different things. Check with your vet to see what they recommend.
You will need to worm your pig with Ivermectin every six months for internal/external parasites. If your pig is super itchy (like scratching hard enough to damage their skin) you should assess the situation because they can get mites. Ivermectin kills mites. You have to treat them twice to ensure you kill any eggs that have hatched. TSC sells Ivermectin and I bought some off Amazon. Safe Guard is another way to get rid of parasites but it doesn't kill mites.
Get your pig used to you touching their feet (squeeze them and put pressure on them) so that when they need their hooves trimmed you can easily do it because they are used to it. We do our own with some shears for like gardening. We just nip the ends a little at a time. It may take several sessions to trim all four but that's ok because the alternative is having someone freak your pig out by turning them upside down on their back to trim their hooves. I have watched videos and it is not a pleasant experience for you or your pig.
If your pig is not eating and not acting like their normal selves be very concerned because it seems that if you don't act quickly enough you will lose your beloved pig. It happened to me and the signs were there but I thought he was just depressed because he came back to us because his dad moved and couldn't take him with him. He was fine one minute and dead the next. I still don't know what caused his death. He had gotten out of our fence so he may have eaten something toxic. It broke my heart I should have immediately taken him to the vet.
Frequently Asked Questions
More helpful information on the AMPA'S website.