Kept as pets by Chinese Emperors
12 – 18 years
Generally Black, but now all shades from white, through silver and browns
50 – 75 kg
- Indoors – need to be housetrained, and can be destructive, causing much damage.
- Are very sensitive with regards to environmental temperatures and prone to Hypothermia and hyperthermia (21 – 23C is a comfortable range for them)
- Outdoors pen – should have access to grass grazing and will root around (destructive in a garden!), must provide some shelter / shade. Any fencing must be very secure (“pig fencing”)
- Pigs do not have sweat glands and need some form of wallowing pond in order to cool down – may become an issue when go indoors again!
- Separate clean drinking water must be provided (tend to urinate in wallow!)
- Pigs are basically Herd animals and become bored very easily if left on own and become destructive – might need to keep more than one.
- One of the biggest problems is insufficient fibre which leads to constipation.
- Commercial pig food is often too fattening as usually used incorrectly – can use Sow&Boar (S&B) but need to limit intake (½ cup per 12kg per day – depending on condition score);
- Young piglets can be fed a commercial creep feed – usually ad lib up to 6 weeks of age and thereafter grower to 3 months (1-1½ cups per day over 3 feedings); from 3 months switch gradually over to the S&B
- NEVER dog pellets – very high in protein and low in fibre and may cause gastric ulcers and constipation.
- Limit the snacking, especially if high in salt!
- Grazing, horse ration, fruits, vegetables, Lucerne, hay and kitchen scraps can be fed, but avoid fatty foods such as dairy products, ice cream, cakes etc.
- Fresh vegetables can make up to 25% of intake, but beware of high starches such as potatoes and not too much fruit (tend to be high in sugars) – not more than ⅓ fruit to ⅔ vegetables
- Feed a maximum of 3% of body weight, divided into 2 – 3 feeds per day
- If become overweight, first reduce the fruit, any snacking, then the veg and finally the meal.
- Avoid begging – they become pests and don’t feed from the fridge – soon learn how to open and help themselves!
- Puberty about 6 – 7 months
- Heat every 21 days, lasts three days
- Litter size 4 – 12
- Should be sterilized at 2 – 4 months (spay or anti-GnRH vaccine)
- Boars develop a strong smell after maturity.
- Can be trained to use a litter box
- Walk on a leash attached to a harness
- Use only positive reinforcement
- May become aggressive if punished
- Teach young pigs to be picked up or you will not be able to pick up the adult
- They will squeal when picked up, wait until they stop before you put them down
- Soft brush for daily grooming
- Hooves must be trimmed (start when very young!)
- Tusks can be trimmed in piglets, and removed at four months
- Ears should be cleaned with alcohol and cotton balls if they become very dirty
- Deworm twice a year
- Sows when in oestrus
- Boars are aggressive
- Excessive squealing
- Separation anxiety
Handling At The Veterinarian:
- Elastoplast makes a good muzzle, so does a stocking
- Blood can be taken from the ear, cephalic vein or jugular veins
- Vaccinations in the back of the neck
- Pigs may slip on the floor
Sunburn, mange, heater burns, seborrhoea, ringworm and erysipelas
Atrophic rhinitis and pneumonia
Gastroenteritis and ulcers
Porcine stress syndrome, hypothermia, hyperthermia, tumours and back problems, constipation
Entropion and hernia
Not generally done if isolated from other animals, particularly pigs. Not really practical as commercial pig vaccines come in 100 doses usually.
- Atrophic rhinitis
Surgery and Anaesthesia:
- Can be hatholone sensitive rather use fluothane
- Intubation is difficult, can use a mask made from a plastic cool drink bottle
- Sagatal (pertobarbitone sodium) intravenously to effect
- Acetylpromazine or Stresnil for sedation + ketamine for anaesthesia
- Lignocaine for local anaesthesia