Thursday, October 19, 2017

Pig on Board Can You Handle It?

       First of all I want to start off by saying thank you to everyone who has read or commented on my last post. One thing I have found out recently is that all serious pig owners are very passionate people. If they were not full of life, they would be unable to handle the challenges of having  such an interesting animal as a pet. Let me once again reiterate, this blog is about our families experience of owning  and caring for a pet pig. Every experience will not be the same and I want you to know that up front.  Some pigs may stay smallish while others will get bigger. Some are aggressive while others are sweat and gentle. I am just trying to worn you that  pigs are a handful and are not for the the busy or the faint of heart.
Now with the disclaimer out of the way, on to step two, despite knowing better you decide to acquired a pig. ( Hopefully a rescue, not from unscrupulous breeder like us.) Since you have this strange creature in your house, what are you supposed to do with it?



     Pigs are herd animals they pick one leader and follow that leader. Before anything else happens you must establish this position over your pig or they will literally walk all over you. Now this does't mean get out the rod and start beating the poor thing with it.  There are five, classes in a pigs world, mother, litter mate, friends just because you give it food,  stranger danger freeze so they don't see me, and oh my God save me run around in a circle then charge. A mother will be able to do almost anything to the pig, kiss hug, give baths, clean feet, trim hooves, sit next to, lay on, and tell them what to do. Litter mates are for playing with, pissing on, rubbing up against,  and only listened to if there is a treat involved. Friends are individuals who are not in the main family unit  these individuals will not be listened to and they might even get a nip unless they have something tasty or are fun to play with. Strangers and loud noises may cause your pig to freeze and assess the situation if the pig determines it is a friend you will be greeted with a grunt and a rub if you are unrecognized then watch out because a scream, a spin or a fast paced charge with their mouth open may be coming your way.
      The next thing you must know is that pigs are messy hence their name sake. If you live in a home with white carpets, frilly curtains,  expensive breakables perched on the edges of tables, or at work for long hours, do not get a pig.  Not to say pigs are dirty they actually like to be clean. It is just that they must roll in the mud as a sunscreen, they dig in the dirt looking for roots, they can go to the bathroom by the bucket full, and most importantly they get board or offended  easily.
      Here are a few things we found out the hard way. Pigs are very obstinate if you tell them to sit they will most definitely spin.  If you find this cute and reward this behavior your pig will learn they can do whatever they want and still get a treat. Therefore It will then do the opposite of what you want every time and before long it will become unruly. You must only give it treats when it does exactly what you want. Unlike a dog pigs do not learn by being yelled at they, they do not care if you think their behavior is bad if is what they want to do they will do it. You must train them by having the power over the rewards you give out. Fed can sit, spin both directions, wave, march, stay, shake, go outside to the bathroom, bow, take a knee, step up, lay down, crawl, and roll onto his side. We accomplished this by rewarding him for these actions he did normally giving them a name each time a and giving him a reward. Now if we say the word he will do the action until a treat is given. Sometimes he will do his favorite trick without you asking if you happen to be near him with food. This cute trick behavior is probably one of the reasons he is 300 pounds it is very hard to resist someone smiling at you waving his hoof in the air frantically.


      First trick we taught him was to get him to stop using the carpet as a rest room. We did this by acquiring different sizes containers and placed them around the room which we filled with shredded newspapers and then for the next month there was a constant chores of six people saying "Use your box Freddie" followed by "Good pee." "Good poo" Or "Bad pee Bad poo." if he was just too lazy to take that one extra step to get into the box. We purchased a carpet cleaner but soon found out that due to the amount of cleaning required the moisture was causing the carpet to be so damp it was starting to mold. We did a little research into dry cleaning and found the best method for pee clean up was to sprinkle the spot with a mixture of baking soda, boric acid, and cornstarch.  This solution in essence wicks the pee out of the carpet and then you can just vacuum it away, repeating the process until it was all gone. When he became too huge to feasibly use a container we switched to taking him outside. This was a feat was an undertaking unto itself. We have a fenced in yard from but a crazy neighbor so letting him just roam was not an option. Any pig owner will tell you that putting on a harness is a ear piercing experience most pigs do not like to be captured or restrained so they will run away from you and scream if caught. Once again we trained him to use a harness by big rewards and a lot of positive reinforcement. To this day he still cries about putting it on but does not run away... most of the time. We did this every two hours for about a week. He finally got the idea and now asks to go outside somewhere between two and three times a day.




     With the bathroom chores out of the way the next hurdle we faced was to teach him not to rush and buck at people who were trying to feed him. This was a bit harder as there was more steps involved first we had to teach him to sit. This was done by first naming and rewarding when he did sat naturally after a while he started to do it on cue. Next we taught him to stay, by making him sit then placing the dish in front of him and said stay or wait if he advanced we took it away. We repeated this until he understood that unless he sat until the food was on the ground and the okay command was given the food was removed. He did not like not being fed so he learned quickly and now you just have to stand there with the food dish he will sit and wait until you say okay before he starts to eat. Sometimes he sits to close and we have too say back up back up sit. He will grudgingly stand up spin around and then back up until he is sitting farther away.

      Let's talk about the importance of neutering, we got Fred thinking our dog vet would take care of him, they are a vet after all but not all vets are created equal. We then had the long task of finding one that took pigs. We found one that was an hour away from our home, they said we had to wait until he was at least 10 pounds before we could bring him in. During this time it was nearly one hundred degrees and our car had no AC we were concerned for his well being. When he was big enough our car stopped working all together and we had to raise the money to buy another. While we waited Fed took this time to spread the most smelly substance everywhere, on chairs, carpets, and people. We stemmed this behavior by tying a blanket on him when he went outside then getting the biggest bouncy ball from Walmart.
      When he got so big that he popped them we purchased a stronger one from ebay. We called them his girlfriend and he would do his business on them making him less likely to do it on us and his belongings.


Large Cando R Ball 13-17-1-2-diameter

      When we finally got a new car the original vet said he was too big and we had to find another. We luckily found one that was only about fifteen minutes from us. I spent the wait time teaching him to step up onto a stool. When the time came we bribed Fred to step up into the car where he promptly peed all over my daughter's shoes, luckily we had put down a strip of vinyl so it did not get it on the carpet. The first visit was just a look see and a weigh to our surprise he weighed 201 pounds. The vet said they had to check to make sure that the gas was safe for his weight. She called back and the neutering was scheduled. It was a little harder to get him into the car the second time because we could not bribe him with food but he did it for ice. The wait for him to come around was probably the longest we have ever experienced. Finally we, got the call that he was awake and were able to go and pick him up. The sound he made when he saw us broke my heart. He tucked his head under my kneecaps and told me the whole story. We loaded him into the car and took him home. He was very angry with us because the vet said no mud in till his incisions were healed. Basically, they sliced  each one of his balls down the middle and removed the sack, then they left the courts open to heal from the inside out. He looked like he got in a fight with Wolverine. For two weeks we had to herd him away from all mud puddles.



One day the Vet called to check up on him and left a message on the machine. When Fred heard her voice he screamed and hid under his blanket. All in all though it was a traumatic experience for Fred and our nerves, it was for the better. He no longer shares his essence with everyone and he no longer needs to wear a blanket to get out of the house or the use a ball for pleasuring himself.

      Well, I can only ignore Fred for so long, so this will conclude this entry of my blog for this time tune in next time for tips on general maintenance like feeding, hoof care and trimming, skin care and boredom relief.
   In short pigs do make good  pets  So if you want a pig please follow these guidelines.
1: Make sure there is a vet in your area that takes pigs and the zoning laws allow pigs.
2: Insure you have the space and household to accommodate a large animal with no knowledge of their girth or strength plus pigs do not do stairs.
3: A pig is a herd animal and do not like to be left alone if you are away from home a lot then a pig is not for you.

4:  Find a big group on Facebook in order to listen to others experience and read these informative websites.
https://www.minipiginfo.com/
http://americanminipigassociation.com/
Best pig harness
https://www.pigglz.com/

 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Beware Before you try! MINI Teacup Pigs do not Exist!


      You want to own a pig? Well look at this beauty I acquired from Fed in the last week.
Headbutt with mouth open!
Despite my recent injury, I wouldn't change Fred for anything he is a member of our family, that said pig are not for everyone.

      Are you still interested? Well hang on it is going to be a bumpy ride. The first step to becoming a crazy pig owner is to acquire one, but there are several important things you must first understand. Please take this advice to heart if not for your sanity then consider the health of the pig. The most important thing you need to research is your local zoning laws. We live in the county so it is not a factor but I am a member of several pig related groups on Facebook and there are plenty of posts by people looking to relocate their new family member because the law considers them farm animals not pets so they are not allowed inside the city limits. Which brings me to my next point vet care most vets will not take care of a pigs for the same reason listed above and you have to find one that specializes in large animals. Make sure there is one close to you because, despite what some bum on the side of the road tells you, pigs do need vet care, for one thing they need to be spade and or neutered as soon as they are big enough. Plus unless you have ears of steel and a very docile pig hoof trimming is not a option for the casual owner. Next thing I would highly recommend is go to a pig sanctuary in your area before even thinking about getting a pig. You may find pictures of piglets cute and adorable but trust me when I say pictures do not portray the size, power or,  attitude of an adult pig. I can not stress it enough that you must go and find out if this massive bundle of attention grubbing, rooting, wall eating, gate busting, starving, worse attitude then any brooding teenager, bulk of loveable fat is right for you. Know this fact right now before you read another word about the care of a pig, Mini pigs do not exist! If cared for properly they will grow bigger then most people can handle. For this reason alone owing a pig is not a good idea unless you have the space time and patience.

When we first got Fed he was less then 30 lbs and fit in the smallest carrier sold at Walmart.


First day home.
Latest photo!
He is now 301 lbs!



 Please concider zoning, vet care, size, attitude, time, space, entertainment, food, and other pets before getting a pig. A pig it is very hard to relocate after the fact and it is very stressful on the animal. I will leave you with these thoughts if you are still brave enough to continue tune in next time when I will talk about general care, discipline, training, and the differences between pigs and other domestic pets.

Despite my recent injury, I wouldn't change Fred for anything he is a member of our family and we are working very hard to make him happy.


FUN here are twelve signs someone crazy pig owner:

1. Acquire a pig even after watching Ester's documentary.
2. Keep it even after realizing it is nearly impossible to contain.
3. The fridridge now houses more vegetables than meat.
4. Make a mad dash to the local Tractor Supply once a month having to hold your breath until  they reaach the pig food aisle praying the mini pig brand is in stock.
5. Remodel home, lifestyle, and yard to keep the pig happy.
6. Insist on driving a half an hour away just to find a vet who will treat it like a pet not a farm animal.
7. Tell family and friends not to come around at first because they are unsure how it will interact with strangers.
8. Get up at eight in the morning to walk the pig, when they just told the dog it was too early.
9. All social media is now full of pig photos.
10. The yard now looks like it was hit by a meteor shower. 
11. Tell everyone that looks at you funny, when they find out about the pet pig that it is a wonderful pet despite just having cleaned up a huge mess.
12: Own at least two or more nonessential, pig related items like art, clothing, nicknacks, plush, or kitchen decor.