Raising domestic pigs involves knowing the animal well, how it works and what its needs are. This is the only way you can hope to provide your pig with the fulfilling living conditions it deserves. In this article, we give you some tips to avoid making 3 common mistakes.
Mistake # 1 – letting the pig get fat without controlling its weight
A pig can quickly become obese, which will necessarily end up impacting its health (blindness and osteoarthritis in particular). It is therefore important to be able to identify whether a pig is lean, overweight, obese, or at the correct weight. However, the evaluation of the build of a dwarf pig is particularly delicate because a certain number of criteria confuse your visual estimates.
A first mistake is to think that a pig knows how to stop eating when it is full. Because this is not the case: pigs do not know when they have eaten enough and are able to take in food all the time. Each time you feed him, he will also rush on his ration as if he had been deprived of food for several days. But you shouldn’t trust it!
A second mistake is not to depart from the idea that the silhouette of a pig is necessarily round. In reality, a pig of the right weight is a slender pig: if the belly is a little round and the ribs and tips of the hips do not protrude, you should still feel them when you stroke the pig. In addition, the most common domestic animals are covered with hair. Our eye is used to a certain weight-to-volume ratio which is different for the pig and its hairless body. Certainly, the folds of the skin are clearly visible, but they are not an indicator of the animal’s weight. Indeed, the size of the belly can vary considerably when the pig has grazed the grass, thus being able to stretch the skin and make the folds disappear over a day.
In contrast, ill-intentioned pig dealers are able to argue that one can ensure the small size of a dwarf pig by underfeeding it. Obviously, the size and weight of the pig is genetically determined. Such behavior only starves and empties the pig, creates deficiencies, and even starves it.
How then can we assess the good build of a pig?
The belly must not touch the ground and, above all, the neck, the head, the edges of the eyes or the rump, must be free of all fatty fold. A fatty fold is different from a fold of skin by its thickness and its lack of flexibility.
You can’t just feed your pig with leftover meals. Even though it is considered an omnivore, the most suitable diet for pigs is vegetarian food. As you welcome a pig to make it a pet, it is necessary to ban food for breeding pigs intended to fatten animals quickly, and without nutritional qualities. On the other hand, there are pellets for dwarf pigs. If this is the type of pig you have chosen to host, do not hesitate to opt for this food that is well designed to meet their needs. However, on the ration side, you must integrate the foods that the pig can find during its outings in the open air, to calculate the right quantities.
Also note the few toxic foods for pigs: dog food and cat food, ready-made food for any animal other than pig, leftover meals, meat and other fatty foods, salt and chocolate.
Mistake # 2 – Not Stimulating Your Pig Enough
The pig really has a nosy nature and his favorite occupation is undoubtedly to turn the ground and what is on it, to use his grouin to search and search. You must therefore accept that your pig devastates the outdoor space around you. You can always protect areas like flower beds. In this case, it is necessary to take out the great means such as the installation of an electric fence.
Physically, a pig needs to work out. Do not hesitate to attach it to a leash so that it can accompany you on your journeys on foot. He also has a vital need to roll around in the mud, even though he is a miniature pig.
Pigs, regardless of their size, even the smallest, cannot not live in an apartment because of this need for physical exercise and for rummaging on the ground. In the house, you have two options to house your pig: an outdoor hut, which allows full outdoor living, or a dedicated space installed in the house, provided that the pig can have access to the outside, a bit like a cat.
Intellectually, the pig is a very intelligent animal. And who says intelligence, says need for stimulation. It is almost necessary to teach him tricks. He will also thrive with some toys that can be as rudimentary as cardboard boxes, and shredded papers, balls … And of course, you should not deprive yourself of playing with him and giving him big hugs.
Mistake # 3 – not trying to educate your pig
The pig is a much more fearful animal than is generally believed. You must therefore set up a process for taming the animal. To succeed in creating closeness, even complicity with your pig, it will take time and therefore patience. The pig will quickly manifest its fear whenever it faces a new situation. And each time, you will have to do everything to reassure him and get him to understand whether or not the event to which he reacted with fear really constitutes a danger or not.
You will have made him a piece of his own that will serve as a refuge in case of need and which will serve as a base with which he will familiarize himself before exploring his environment. Before letting your miniature pig take to the air, it is important that he has full confidence in you and clearly identifies his name. Thus, if he faces a situation that scares him, he must know that he can take refuge in your arms and you can indicate your presence to him by calling him. The first outings are therefore carried out under close surveillance.
This room contains in particular a bed made of many blankets, and a litter corner. It will also be useful if your pig gets lost and does something wrong.
The great intelligence of the pig, which underlies great sensitivity, requires not to resort to violence and brutality when he has committed a stupidity. You just have to lead him gently but firmly into his room, where he will remain in solitary confinement for a few minutes. You should also avoid shouting as this is felt like real aggression by the pig. You repeat “no” to him as many times as necessary and if he insists, you simply block your body. Pigs live in a hierarchical world. And if you’re not the boss, you might find yourself up against an aggressive and disobedient pig, which will quickly become unbearable over time. The pig has an infallible memory and, unlike a dog, he will not miss any education errors. You have been warned!
The stupidities of a dwarf pig correspond above all to the exceeding limits that you will have fixed. Be firm in your education and stick to your starting decisions. If you start to let yourself go and beat up easily, no doubt the pig will quickly get comfortable to the point of becoming invasive, and then you will have no other option but to abandon it.
Happiness with your dwarf pig can only exist at the cost of an unwavering determination to enforce what is prohibited (it can be access to the sofa, to the bed…). You should not try to step over it but teach it to push itself when you want to pass. And it will help you to teach him to respond to simple commands like “sit”.