When You Take Your Baby Home
By Kathleen Plauche’
This is offered as a brief outline of what your Baby Pig needs when she arrives home. I have included below a few methods of how to teach your baby the basics. There are several good books and manuals available to you which expand this brief outline. Please seek out advice from your breeder and other sources of information as you continue to live with your pig.
Your pig should be kept in temperature of 65-85 degrees. The sleeping area should be free from drafts coming from doors, windows, and hallways. If your pig is outside for an extended period of time you will need the following:
shelter, shade, & sunscreen
water to drink
water in which the pig can cool off (child’s wading pool)
shelter and bedding
water to drink
heat when temperature is under 50 degrees
Fenced area to protect your pig from stray dogs. Your pig has no defense against dog attack. Never leave your pig in a car, even with the windows open, when the temperature is above 50 degrees.
Your baby will be frightened because it is away from its home and litter mates for the first time. Security is the primary concern for your baby, therefore follow these steps:
Put your baby in his new “Home”, a confined space that you can control (i.e. kitchen, laundry room, large bathroom) with his bed, blanket or sheet, litter box with pine shavings, two large heavy bowls, and any toys you would choose for a child under the age of 18 months.
Sit on the floor and allow him to warm up to you. Do not move quickly, be patient. You can use food as bait. Gradually move your hand with the food to your lap. Allow the baby to smell you and feel safe with you. Do not push him. Remember that in the beginning, your baby pig believes when you reach down from above or pet him on his head or neck you are a predator and want to eat him; therefore pet him from the side and work up to the head and neck.
When you pick your baby up for the first time, do it from a sitting position. Reach for him from below, not from over his head. If he squeals do not put him down until he is quiet for at least 30 seconds.
If he should get away from you, herd him into a small space. Do not chase him.
Remember your baby is looking for security and love. He is actually bonding with his new family. His preference is to be with you. Provide him with the love and security he needs, and he will be asleep in your lap in no time at all.
House breaking is easy if you follow the instincts of your pig. Here are some steps to follow:
Prepare a “Home” for your pig.
Keep your baby in a confined space with his litter box, bed, and bowls.
Do not give the baby free roam of your house. Only let him out when you are available to watch for an “accident”.
Pigs make a trail to their bathroom area; therefore, do not move the litter box. Gradually increase the living area of your baby while teaching him the way back to the litter box.
When you see him use the litter box praise him highly and tell him to “go potty” or any other command of your choosing.
After your baby will come to you or he is leash trained, take him outside and tell him to “go potty”. Praise him when he does what you ask. He will choose one or two spots in the yard for his bathroom. Do not mix play with taking him to his bathroom.
When you see him starting to have an accident, tell him “no” and either scoot him back to his litter box or pick him up and carry him back. Tell him to “go potty”. The key to house breaking is to not allow your baby go anywhere but the litter box or outside. He will not be reliable until he is at least 6 months old.
If he should have an accident in the house, use a commercial animal odor neutralizing agent. Tell him no, but do not make a big deal out of his mistake. He is a baby and his bladder is small. He will do better as he grows.
Do not shampoo your pig more than once every 6 weeks.
When you shampoo him, use a brush to get all the dead skin off.
Use either Heartland grooming products, Flex Shampoo & Conditioner, or Tail & Mane Shampoo.
Do not use oil. Use a moisturizer or humectant for dry skin.
File your pig hooves once a month while he is resting in your lap.
Keep your pig’s ears clean of wax and ear mites.
After your pig feels secure with his new home and with you, begin to leash train him.
Use a pig harness. Adjust to fit.
Put food on the floor. While your pig is occupied eating, slip the harness over his head. Fasten the stomach strap.
Allow your pig to become familiar with the harness. Do not leave your pig alone with the harness on.
Place your pig in a small room, one in which the pig will hit the wall before he hits the end of his lead.
Attach the lead. Let him become familiar with the lead on his back.
Using food as a bait in your hand, lightly tug on the lead twice and tell your pig to come. Allow him to eat a small amount of the food.
Back up and repeat the process. Gradually decrease the food. Soon your pig will be following you around the house.
Take your pig outside on his harness and lead.
Do not train your pig for more than 15 minutes at a time. If he does “Flips & Spins” remove the lead and try again later. Practice removing and replacing the harness and walking to the lead at least once a day. The more frequently you repeat the training the easier it becomes.
Excerpt© Ponderosa Mini Farm 1992