Origins:

Far East

Kept as pets by Chinese Emperors

 

General:

Lifespan:

12 – 18 years

Colour:

Generally Black, but now all shades from white, through silver and browns

Adult weight:

50 – 75 kg

Ears:

Erect

Type:

Lard pig

 

Housing:

  • pot-bellied pigIndoors – 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 – 23C 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.

 

Diet:

  • 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!

 

Breeding:

  • 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.

 

Training:

  • 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

 

General Care:

  • 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

 

Behaviour Problems:

  1. Sows when in oestrus
  2. Boars are aggressive
  3. Excessive squealing
  4. Separation anxiety
  5. Destructiveness
  6. Aggression

 

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

 

Diseases:

Skin:

Sunburn, mange, heater burns, seborrhoea, ringworm and erysipelas

Respiratory:

Atrophic rhinitis and pneumonia

Digestive:

Gastroenteritis and ulcers

General:

Porcine stress syndrome, hypothermia, hyperthermia, tumours and back problems, constipation

Hereditary:

Entropion and hernia

 

Vaccinations:

Not generally done if isolated from other animals, particularly pigs. Not really practical as commercial pig vaccines come in 100 doses usually.

  • Erysipelas
  • Atrophic rhinitis
  • Rabies
  • Leptospirosis
  • Tetanus

 

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