Thursday, January 30, 2014

More On Potty Training....

Since help with potty training is one of the most requested e-mails I get here I'm going to share what I have done and do here with my house pig(s). 

Get your pig on a schedule! A routine makes all the difference in the world. When Oshay was little he didn't have much of a routine he was just put outside to run the yard and go potty. He had no idea that there is a difference between play time and potty time and sometimes there were accidents. Once this was pointed out to me I made sure he was on a schedule and watched his routine. I noticed that he would pee pretty much right away after being put outside and with watching him I realized that he would pee again in another 20-30 minutes. Get to know your pigs routine so that there aren't accidents.

He was normally taken out every 2-4 hours with the last potty time being around 10-11 at night. It was when he was a little over a year old that he let me know that he no longer needed to go out that late in the evening...7-8p.m. was fine.
Even now at 7 there are days that I have to make sure that my little guy goes potty when put out for potty time. He is fed in the morning then taken outside to potty while I feed the other pigs. Now depending on the weather he might graze a little, go potty and graze more as he will be out for several hours.

It took more than once for me to figure out that when the weather is bad I need to close the screen door to the patio or he will turn around and go back in while I am feeding the other pigs. This forces him to stay out and gives me time to get the others fed. I then have to lead him back into the yard where we now walk around a bit until he goes potty...the whole time I am telling him go potty. Once he has pooped and peed he is free to wander the yard or come back inside.

Because he has to go down a ramp to get outside I do take him out morning and afternoon/evening. I DO NOT assume that he will do this on his own even now. So please do not assume that just because you put your pig outside to potty that he knows that is what he is supposed to do. Walk him/her around until they go potty.

Now to anyone that is new to having a pet pig. Yes they can be litter box trained, but I can't stress enough to forget the litter box and take your baby outside. We have found over the years that even pigs that were litter box trained grow out of using the litter and want to go outside.

As a rule our pigs do not like rain, snow or cold weather...the same as most of us. This means that on those days we need to put on our rain or winter coat and go out with them. They will be fine in the wet & cold as they are only outside long enough to go potty. Though you may have to be creative getting them out the door.

I can't stress enough that litter boxes don't work in the long run and training never ends...meaning you need to stay on top of them and make sure that they are going potty when put outside. I am also a firm believer that ALL of our pet pigs should be going outside to potty.

Good luck!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


His stocking is hung with the greatest of care
Not that this means he will leave it there.
He snuffles for presents and we learned from the past,
If we don't hide them well, they will not last.

The nativity scene is set out in a row,
Why he must rearrange it we do not know.
He moves the stone animals out of their beds,
And uses the wise men to rest his head.

Maybe he feels that his scene is lacking,
For there are no porkers to give him backing.
Ben gazes at us with a baleful eye,
We can almost hear him asking Why...?

Should there not be a pig in this special scene
Of love, compassion, and man's greatest dream?
Of course, we say, you should not be left out,
As we place a stuffed pig with a big rubber snout.

Our Christmas story is different by choice,
As we feel our Bently deserves a voice.
When it comes to love and the Christmas spirit,
A pig beats a camel no matter how you hear it.

Ben knows that God in His infinite wisdom,
Created pigs for just this reason.
A laugh, a chuckle, love and devotion,
What more could we ask of God's world in motion.

We humans could learn a lesson well taught,
By porkers in general who give us this thought.
A laugh a day, a clear conscience at night,
A slight forgiven, a wrong made right.

These things so easy for our porcine friends,
seem to be hard lessons learned for mortal men.
In this season of Christmas, love and light,
Should we not try harder to do things right.

Bently watches me write this as he lays at my feet,
Thinking all of this rhetoric really is neat.
Best wishes to everyone he sends by the bunch,
And tells me; Enough already; it's time for my lunch!

Phyllis Battoe

Monday, October 3, 2011


One of the most asked questions that we get is what should I use to worm my pig(s) and when should I do it. Also, why do I want to use a wormer when they have mange mites?

Most wormer's will also kill the mites that cause mange. The most popular and easiest to use is a liquid called Ivomec 1% Solution for Cattle & Swine.

A number of the sanctuaries have switched to Dectomax as it claims to provide protection for 21 days while the Ivomec protects for 14 days. Dectomax, like Ivomec, comes as injectable which can be given orally, and as pour-on which is put along the pigs back like the Frontline dog and cat products.

"I have used Dectomax with no problems, but I can't say it was any better than the Ivomec and it is more expensive." Ted of Willow Ridge Sanctuary

Another question is: What if my pig has never been wormed? No one has ever mentioned that I need to do this.

This does not fall under the rule of "If it's not broke don't fix it." It does not hurt them to be wormed. Most of us don't talk about the worms enough because the Ivomec and Dectomax that we use mainly for prevention and treatment of mange also kills worms and lice.

If they are on the twice a year schedule (spring & fall) then worms are not a problem because we are taking care of it when we Ivomec them.

If your pig doesn't have worms he will just pass the excess Ivomec out of his system. If he does have them you will certainly know as those are some of the nastiest things we have ever seen come out of a pig!

"Some of the rescue pigs that have come in have passed these terrible looking things after their arrival and their first treatment with the worming, but I believe that the twice a year schedule keeps them pretty clear after that." Phyllis of PigPals Sanctuary

The only worms you will see after worming is the large roundworms which can be up to ten inches long and thick as a pencil, although they are usually much smaller.

They will be lying on a pile of poop. They will pass from one to three days after medication depending on the regularity of your pig. Meds can be given before, during or after a meal it doesn't really matter.

We do not recommend worming the young ones that have worms. It is best to feed them better and worm them when they are 15-20 pounds or more.

Pig worms are species specific so don't worry about the other animals. A word of caution here; A worming schedule of twice a year is adequate for most pet pigs and the products talked about here are for pigs ONLY! You will need to check with you vet as to what is best for the dogs and any other animals that you may have.

On very young pigs you can dust them with Seven Seven powder like you use on your garden (you can get this at your local garden supply), or in the case of bad mange you can use this to kill the mites on the outside and relieve the itching until the Ivomec can work. Make sure you do not get the powder in their eyes or mouth!

This is meant to help with the itching, but you will still need to worm them with Ivomec to kill the mites that are in the larva stage.

If you don't have any Seven Seven dust at home try the feed store for some hog dust. The dust will help give relief on the itching while the Ivomec is working to kill the mites from the inside.

Everyone has their own way of giving Ivomec. If you go to the vets he will want to give a shot. Pigs don't handle shots very well so ask if it can be given orally. We give 1cc per 50 pounds of body weight. Ivomec is one of the safest drugs out there and has a wide margin for safety.

If your pig will sit nice for a treat then you can just squirt it into the side of their mouth. (Make sure it is the side of their mouth, not straight down their throat, so it doesn't go down the wrong tube. You also need to take the needle off of the syringe.)

Or you can dampen his food just a little and squirt the Ivomec on the food and stir and they will usually eat it. If you have more than one pig keep them separated so that you makes sure each pig gets his full dose.

"Yes, I put it in my pig's food when I give it. Make sure you are giving enough as these pigs grow fast and it doesn't take a little more when you do it by mouth. I cut the food in half, dampen it a little with juice, then squirt the Ivomec on the damp food and stir it up. By cutting it in half you are making sure that they clean it all up and are getting the medicine.

Then mark it on your calendar and 14 days later do it again. (This is for the pigs that have mange.) We do this on the outside pigs every spring and fall and it keeps thing pretty much under control until some new kid moves in that has it." Phyllis of PigPals Sanctuary

Ivomec 1% Solution is an injectable that most of us give orally. You will need the solution, syringe & needle. We use either an 18 or 20 gauge needle. The needle is needed to get the Ivomec out of the bottle. You take the needle off when squirting in the pigs mouth or on their food.

If you use Ivomec it will work for those mites in the ears as well as anywhere else. (Ivomec is not picky about what part of the body it works on as it goes into the blood stream and goes all over the body.)

Also, for chronic mange you can give every 5 to 7 days for up to 4 weeks. It is hard to overdose on Ivomec. For a "normal" case of mange you give two doses about 10-14 days apart and that is it. From then on you will want to worm your piggy twice a year (spring & fall) as a precautionary measure.

It usually takes that second dose to get the larva stage of the mites that haven't hatched yet. BUT, make sure you do it twice 14 days apart!

It is a good idea to change bedding when you are done with the 2nd dose even though the medication will kill any new mites picked up.

Can a human get mange? If so, what would it be like? Mange on a human is usually an itchy red rash...REALLY ITCHY!! You shouldn't have to worry too much about that as most cases on humans happen when the pig is really loaded with it and people take them to bed with them. The mites don't like us as well as the pigs so it's usually a light case and will go away on it's own with simple nothing.

They really don't like us too well and will leave on their own. Washing with alcohol might help with the itching.

TYPES OF WORMERS: Worming & Parasite Control

A variety of products can be used to treat your pigs. Listed below are few:

Ivermectin - Used to control worms, lice and mites. Can be administered in many forms.

Ivermectin Injection for Swine - This is a 1% injectable solution. It can also be given orally although this is an off-label use. A syringe and needle is needed to extract the solution form the bottle. The smallest bottle is 50 ml. so it is not cost effective in worming just one or two pigs.

Ivermectin Paste Wormer 1.87% - This product is designed for horses or equine but can be given to pigs at the same dose. It is relatively easy to administer on a piece of apple or the pigs favorite food.

Ivermectin Granules - A feed additive that is mixed in with the food over a six day period. It can also be used to top dress feed to treat a specific problem. Sold in 50lb bags.

Ivermectin Pour-on - A .5 % solution which is administered along the backline similar to flea treatments used in dogs and cats. The smallest container sold is 250ml which will treat 25 to thirty pigs.

Dectomax - A drug similar to Ivermectin, but claims to have a longer residual life. Also controls lice and mites and can be administered several forms.

Dectomax Injection for Swine - An injectable solution that can also be given orally.

Dectomax pour-on - A solution administered along the backline as the Ivermectin pour-on.

Heartland Wormer- a feed additive specifically designed for pot bellied pigs.

In addition to a regular worming schedule, effective pasture or backyard management can help to reduce the parasite load on your property. This would include removing manure on a regular basis. If manure cannot be picked-up, periodic raking or dragging the pasture will break-up the manure exposing it to sunlight which will help to kill the eggs.

Recommended places for finding Ivomec and Dectomax:

Jeffers Equine
Valley Vet

Don't forget to check with your vet and local feed store.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heat and Pigs

With the heat that we are having across the country right now I thought I would give a few tips about keeping our piggies cool.

House pigs should go out early morning and later in the evening when temps are at their coolest. They are used to the A/C and being out in the heat for too long can cause our pigs to over heat.

If you think that your pig might be over heating you need to cool him down. Spraying him with hose is not what you want to do. The best way to cool down a pig is with a cool towel or water on his belly and behind the ears. You don't want it cold, but cool as we want to do it gradually.

Outside pigs should always have plenty of shade and access to either a pool or mud hole. These too should be in the shade not sitting directly in the sun. I personally like the mud hole as it serves a dual purpose. The mud works as a sunblock and protects against bugs.

On those really hot and humid days we hose down the ground where the pigs live so at least the ground is cool. I have also keep a fan on low running to keep air circulating. It is not blowing directly on the pig.

Remember that the water coming out of your hose will be hot to begin with so give it time to cool down before spraying your pig or filling up pools or water bowls.

Keep an eye on your babies and stay cool. They won't feel like doing much, but then neither do I on those really hot days.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Sit: If he will jump for a treat, he will sit too. Instead of trying to put the butt down, stand in front of him and hold the treat lower than for the jump and more or less onjust above the snout. The head will come up and the butt automatically goes down. It may only be a partial the first time, but praise & treat him for trying. Try again making him get the butt down farther.

Another suggestion for sitting would be to get a wall behind you and hold a treat above your pigs head, not to high as you want him to reach up so that his rump goes down. If you hold it to high he will jump up for the treat. The wall behind him will help so that he doesn't back up and his rump will be forced to go down. If he succeeds say sit and treat him. Eventually he will learn to associate the word sit with the trick. If he doesn't do well with this, don't worry, not all pigs like to sit. I think it has something to do with their shapes, some like to sit, some don't.  

Wave: Get them to sit first. Then, while holding the treat in one hand, say "Wave" while using your other hand to give them a signal. I started with an upside down wave, briefly, then taking that hand and reaching down and tapping the back of her front leg. When he lifts it just a little, give him the treat and praise him.  Eventually, you can change your signal to look like you are waving at him.

It helps if you have a greedy pig.  Repeat four or five times in the morning and then the same at night. It doesn't take long.  Mine is always waving at me trying to get me to give him a treat. And it's hard to resist a waving pig.

Circle: Try teaching him to circle (or spin as some call it). I found this to be the easiest trick to teach. Get him to follow a treat until he completes a circle and say the word circle or spin and give him the treat. Eventually try to get him to do a circle just by saying the word or using a hand signal. Once he gets this down increase the amount of circles or spins he needs to do before you give him the treat (without making him dizzy, that is).

Have fun and be creative.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Teeth Grinding

The question is: My pig is chewing big time on the carpet and on one of the living room chairs. Is there anything I can do to get her to stop?

From the sound of things I think she is probably teething. They don't usually bother furniture but the carpet is fair game. There are a few reasons this may be happening so we can go through just a couple.

Is she a young pig? And probably the most important are you feeding her enough for her age?

Young pigs will sometimes go through a teething process and that's when they grit their teeth the most and find things to chew on just like a baby.  I give mine the large size hard milk bones a couple of times a day when they go through that stage. When Oshay was going through this it was winter and he loved chewing on ice.

If this pig is about four or five months old this could be the problem and it can be as late as twelve months old but she is also old enough to say NO to when she does it  and you should redirect her to something else.
Hungry pigs will also show this behavior and sometimes we forget that these are still babies at this age and need more food than an adult gets to grow the bone and muscle that they may need when they are adults.

We feed puppies well ....and kittens and foals and calves and all other baby animals and a baby pig is no different. Sometimes people misunderstand about not feeding too much and end up not feeding babies enough. If she is under a year I would also give her a children's vitamin every day and it can be a cheap generic brand of Flintstones.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pig Poop

Here are some suggestions for putting that pig poop you have so much of to good use by making your own fertilizer and going green.

Some say that you can't or shouldn't put fresh manure on plants as it is too strong. We have never had a problem with putting fresh pig berries in the veggie garden here at Pigs4Ever, but want to offer you some other suggestions.

The first is manure tea. You just soak some pig berries with water for a few hours, then pour away. Another way of making it is to let it air dry in a card board box for 24-36 hours before grinding, the ammonia goes away.  Grind to the consistency of peat moss or loose tea then bag. The tea infusion or elixir seems to work very well. Don't over dry the little things because then it is like chopping golf balls in the food processor and doesn't work.

Take the poop and put it into a big burlap sack. Tie it and hang from a stick stretched across a trash can full of water. It is sort of like a tea bag! After a week you start using (and replacing) the water on your plants.

Another suggests letting it age for 4-6 weeks then diluting with equal parts of water and apply to plants. Then add the contents of the bag to your compost pile.

Someone from Minnesota scoops up their pigberries all winter then heaps them in the  garden. So the berries are frozen, not composting. First thing in the spring till the whole mess into the garden...hay, old previously frozen berries and fresh berries. Works like a charm! Great interesting things that have survived the passage through the pigger gastrointestinal tract...last year we had some really nice acorn squash, compliments of the pigs.

My pigs have planted & fertilized their own watermelon all in one step. Another friends pigs have done the same with pumpkins.

 I could be wrong but I haven't found the poop "burning" my plants even though it isn't broken down into compost.  It breaks down naturally on the surface (it is a slower process).  I also put berries in my flower beds and at the base of some of my plants and trees.

If you want to use pig poop on new plants then you may want to use pig poop that is aged or has been composted as it may burn the young roots. How you use pig poop on established plants seems to vary depending on where you live. Here in Fla. I find that it breaks down fairly quickly. So it is put directly around the plants. In Idaho we did compost it before tilling it into the veggie garden.

Good luck and have fun.