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What You Need for a Happy Pet Pig

We have been raising animals on our farm for over 10 years—sheep, dogs, cats, chickens, turkeys, guinea pigs, ponies, donkeys, and a pig.

Happy pigs are the best pigs

Happy pigs are the best pigs

A Pet Pigs Favorite Things

Having a pet pig comes with a lot of responsibility, but also a lot of fun and excitement. And while you are doing your best to please your pig, they can be very particular about their needs.

Water, food, and shelter are necessities but there is much more to consider. This article discusses must-have items to make your pet pig a happy pig.

The Right Choice of Potty for Your Pigs’ Business

A pig’s urine is very smelly and once a puddle formed on your precious floor, labor-intensive to clean up. Not only did Ramses pee on our floor, but blankets, jackets, shoes, his and our kid’s toys, and countless other items that had to be thoroughly washed. Trust me, a potty-trained pig makes you a happy pig owner.

What Potty Should You Choose?

We tried numerous potties in different shapes, sizes, and materials. Some potties were too small, others too hard to climb into, and yet again others were just not right for Ramses’ delicate behind.

After many trial runs, we took a “dogloo” apart that was generously donated to us, filled the bottom part with wood shavings, and placed it in our piggies' preferred bathroom spot. And I am not exaggerating when I say that from that day on Ramses was potty-trained.

Blankets

Blankets are one of the main things that will make your pig happy. And a rule of thumb is: the more the better.

Make sure that the blankets you buy for your piggy are made of a material that doesn't stick to its skin when it tries to get out of it.

When Ramses goes to bed, he pushes, pulls, and digs in his pile of blankets, until they are arranged just right. After this night routine, he lays down and sleeps soundly through the night.

Pig in a blanket

Pig in a blanket

Indoor Housing for Your Pig

Whether you want to crate train your pig or not is up to you. But be aware that of all the animals I have ever owned I can guarantee you that Ramses is the most destructive pet, (yet).

Crate training your pet pig can be very simple. Get your bristled friend used to his new house by making it special for him; feed your pig at least once inside the pen, line it with comfortable bedding, and make sure that the pen is big enough for your piggy to easily turn around. Never put your pig in the crate as a punishment or let your pig out of it when he is destructive. Wait for your grumpy swine to calm down and crate him for the night or release him when he is fully relaxed again. As always with training animals, be gentle and patient and your pig will be crate trained in no time.

Snacks

Have you ever heard of the expression, "You're eating like a pig"? Well, I can with certainty say that nobody eats like a pig.

Not only are pigs incredibly messy when they eat but with infinite food, they would never stop eating.

Over the past months, we fed our pet pig a large variety of different kinds of foods. Ramses likes almost everything that is edible, but there are a bunch of things he prefers, including:

  • Peanuts
  • Cheerios
  • Popcorn
  • Raisins
  • Tofu
  • Grapes
  • Squash
  • Pumpkin

Foods that he doesn't like are onions, garlic, broccoli, the outer leaves of lettuce, cabbage, and coarse grass.

A funny thing about Ramses' likes and dislikes regarding food is that he loves sneaking in our compost and eating slugs from underneath plant pots but doesn't want to eat the wrinkly leaves of a head of lettuce.

Ramses in the compost

Ramses in the compost

Toys

Some pigs love playing with toys. They like pushing them around and running after them. Ramses, however, is only interested in toys that dispense food.

Filling silicone toys with peanut butter, or jugs with holes filled with other delicious snacks keeps Ramses and his tummy happy and entertained. He stays entertained until the food is gone, then he has to find a new source of snacks.

Ramses likes stuffed animals to the extent, that he can pile them on top of his blankets and sleep on them. We just have to make sure that his plush animals don't have holes because he absolutely loves pulling out their stuffing.

SPOT Push N’ Pop

We like using the SPOT Push N’ Pop, and so does Ramses because it supplies him with his favorite treats. This toy is good as a snack dispenser and great to get your pig to exercise. A downside of the Push N’ Pop is that it drives around your whole house, leaving piggy to wipe the floor with his wet (and most often goopy) snout… But it is worth it for a happy swine!

The Perfect Pig Toy

Exercise

One of the most common misconceptions about pigs is that they are lazy. Sure, they like sleeping a lot and lying down while they are awake, but they still want and need exercise to maintain a healthy body condition.

Our piggy Ramses likes running quite a bit. Sometimes he gets so excited when he runs, that he spins around in circles and squeaks with delight.

Snuggles

Snuggle your pig, and snuggle it a lot. I am sure that some pigs might not like to be touched, but most just love their belly rubs.

When Ramses was a piglet we used to carry him around the house in our arms all day long. He was just so cute, tiny, and why wouldn't you carry an animal around that is going to be about one-hundred pounds when fully grown?

Now that we can't carry him as easily anymore, we settled for snuggles on the floor, or any other surface Ramses likes laying on.

Every morning he wakes up with an expectation for belly rubs, and of course, he gets plenty of them.

pet-pig

Friends

Pigs are very social animals and need company. You and other pigs can be good companions but also other pig-savvy animals. Personally, we wouldn't recommend leaving your pig alone with a dog, even if they get along.

Ramses likes spending time with his chicken friends, and turkey. He spends a lot of time with his feathery friends and even shares his food with them.

Recently, we introduced him to our sheep flock. The sheep were pretty mean to Ramses at first, but that changed quickly when he discovered that they run away when he charges and snaps at them. Needless to say, our sheep and pig are not friends and are going to stay separated.

Ramses out  on a stroll

Ramses out on a stroll

Outdoor Fun

Pigs should always be able to go outside, when the weather permits it. Not only is fresh air good for your pig, but they can also follow their natural instincts, as well.

Ramses likes being outside a lot, especially when we all are up and about with him. Most of the days he spends in our heated chicken house, and attached chicken run. But we also take him on leashed walks around our farm and in the garden where he can roam free in a safely fenced environment.

On top of that we like playing in our yard with him, or just letting him root in the dirt.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Bellwether Farming

Comments

Bellwether Farming (author) from Alberta, Canada on February 02, 2021:

Thank you, AliciaC.

We like sharing our knowledge about animals, and are glad when it is helpful to others.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 02, 2021:

I would love to have a pet pig. I enjoy reading articles such as yours and learning about what is required to keep a pig happy. Thank you for sharing the information.

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