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 a pig to over heat.

Various ways to shade: Porky hiding in the plants, Hansel under the shade sail, and Porky getting a drink from the pool that has an umbrella over it. There is also a lean to in the background that provides shade.

Outside pigs should always have plenty of shade. The shade can be from plants, a lean to, a tarp, umbrella or a type of shade sail. They also need 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. For the new pig parent it can be a challenge to get your pig into the pool for the first time. I cut out an opening with a pair of scissors so that the pig can easily get in and out. The pool doesn't need to be filled to the top. Just a couple of inches of water is more than enough for the pig to cool itself off and will make cleaning a bit easier on you.

Porky likes to be half in and half out of his pool.

On those really hot and humid days we hose down the ground (NOT the pig) 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.

 Most pigs are not fond of being hosed down, though there are 2 here that will let me do it from time to time. If squirting your pig with hose please watch where you are pointing the hose. The belly area is what we want to cool down NOT their back. Watch not to get it in their face or ears. Water in the ears will give them a head tilt.

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. If you have a pig like Hansel he will wake up from sleeping to get a drink from a freshly filled bowl or pool.

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.

If you think that your pig might be over heating (breathing heavy) 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/tepid towel or water on his belly and behind the ears if he will let you. I have had two pigs this year so far that have needed cooling down. They would not let me put a towel on them, but slowly run the hose on their belly and thus cooling them down and wetting down the ground at the same time.

Encourage them to drink WATER...only adding some Gatorade or Pedialyte as a 50/50 mixture if necessary. Offer goodies like watermelon, Popsicles, frozen grapes and ice cubes in water as summer time treats. Note these are not meant to cool off a pig that is over heating...but as a treat.

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.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Territorial Pigs and Children

I have had a couple of people ask me about biting pigs and children so thought I would post some info I have saved on this subject over the years. There are as many methods as people you might ask. So you have to see which method might work best for you.

I am a firm believer that our pigs need an area to call their own in the house where we do not bother them. It is their safe place. When Z&F were alive it was their sleeping area. For Oshay it is his crate. Crate training him was the best thing that we ever did.

I do not have children in the house so can't give my personal experiences, but will tell you what others have used and what works for them.

Phyllis wrote: We have all said it more than once...pigs don't like company very much. They don't like strangers as a rule and it gets worse as they grow. They are territorial by nature and this is part of them being a pig. My house pigs are the same way and once in a while they even challenge me.

There are two schools of thought on this. One is ....the more company you have, the more different people she meets the better and try to teach her that it is OK.. My school of thought on this is to give her a space of her own, her own private place that no one is allowed to go except you and her.

I would give her her own place before company comes and tell the company that this is her space and don't cross the line into it. I well remember when my grandkids were little and because of my pig they had to learn to walk on top of the furniture to get from one room to the next!  It was almost like he knew that these were little people and if he charged them they would run...which is exactly what he did! We found a safe place for him and it worked great even though he was away from everything until they were grown up enough for him to consider
them big people.

Before my husband had his stroke Arnies biggest thrill in life was chasing my husband around the kitchen table!! (Hubby would throw Arnie a treat not to chase him. Ha! What he ended up doing was rewarding Arnie for his bad behavior.) Even if hubby was outside Arnie would look him up and make him run. It does no good for you to correct him unless its you the pig does it to. Those being chased have to stand their ground  and deal with it themselves and that's hard for kids to do so just put the pig where she doesn't have to defend her territory from the start.

Sandy wrote: Now that my P&B are four, they are actually better with people.  But that's because I read on the lists that it would be good to have people come in frequently when they are young to try and get them used to it.  So we did. We practically pulled people in off the streets for a long time. Bessie didn't like it when she was young.  We had Thanksgiving dinner here one year, I think the pigs were 1-1/2 or so.  Bessie stood in one doorway and yelled at everyone the entire time. My MIL came over from England when the pigs were around 1-1/2 or 2. Bessie gave her a hard time, never hurt her - we didn't allow it to get that far, but made her opinions known.

Fast forward to the piggies being almost three years old and we bring Lydia into the picture, she was 10 months old. Lydia had no fear, she laughed at them. Bessie used to nip at Lydia's toes when she'd be in her highchair, to scare her. She never hurt her, it was winter and Lydia had the pj's with feet on them. I would reprimand Bessie every time. She finally accepted Lydia. By accepted I mean she wouldn't nip her toes any more.

Now, however, Bessie and Lydia are great friends. Bessie used to be very nervous, very jumpy.  I worried about her with a loud toddler.  Our house is small, the pigs sleep next to my bed and they go to bed by 5 p.m. every day. Lydia can run through their screaming and playing all she wants. Of course at first the pigs went through the ceiling.  I spent a LOT of time with the pigs (still do) making sure they knew they were loved and not being pushed aside.  Lydia can even sit on them when they are laying down.

Porgy was Lydia's buddy almost from the start. He went through a period of challenging her because he's not the alpha pig. He would snurdle the front of her shirt, pushing her a little (very little, not even hard enough to knock her down and she's only 25 pounds).  I knew what he was doing.  He finally realized he wasn't getting anywhere.  I taught Lydia to say NO to him.  Now I have to un-teach her, she orders them around!

My point is, it can work with kids and other people, but maybe not with every pig, I'm not sure. We worked very hard at it.  P&B don't mind anyone coming into the house anymore. Sometimes they come out to say hi, sometimes not.

It can and does work. You just have to find what is going to work for you and your family.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pigs and Kids!

If you find yourself contemplating coexisting with pigs and children, take heart. . . pigs and children can live together in harmony, if you do your homework and follow some simple suggestions. Much like with our two legged children, consistency is mandatory when training a pig to be a house pet. Don’t forget, these precious porkers are not nearly as domesticated as dogs or cats, in fact the similarity to a dog ends with the fact that both walk on all fours.

Now before Porgy and Bess arrived, I joined a potbellied pig e-mail list. This was the single best thing I could have done. All I knew about pots was they were cute, I had NO first hand experience with pigs of any kind. I have just always loved them! I haven’t a clue what I would have done without these folks, some like to say they raised my pigs with me and I tend to agree! I was warned plenty to make sure a pig knows who’s boss and I really took that to heart. I tend to be a very strict disciplinarian, with my human child as well as with my pigs. Having said that I never laid a finger on either Porgy or Bess. These are very smart animals, they will catch on quickly. Use brains, not brawn. Pigs are herd animals, and will take top pig position if you let them. I taught my pigs that I was the boss with a combination of persistence (some call it stubbornness!) and a lot of love.

These two came to know me as their mom pretty quickly. I helped Bess especially overcome a lot of her fears by spending a LOT of time showing her things like the big bad gate to her pen was not a scary monster, the vacuum is our friend, stuff like that. We also spent a lot of time socializing them. When anyone expressed even the tiniest bit of interest in seeing the pigs, we scheduled a visit on the spot. We practically pulled people in off the street to visit the pigs. All the exposure to a lot of different people has paid off big time. We have had a yard full of little ones playing, petting the pigs, giving bellyrubs, the whole bit. Bessie was a very timid, frightened little pig . . . today she’s quite a brave little girl in comparison.

When P&B (as the list people nicknamed them) were around 2-1/2 years old, Jon and I went to China to bring home our ten month old baby girl, Lydia. Let me tell you it was very, very difficult leaving P&B for those two weeks! We arrived home at around 2:00 a.m. with Lydia. Her first reaction when Jon carried her into the house and she saw P&B - she laughed! This set the tone of her relationship with these two porkers. They of course were very wary, all these new smells and sounds to get used to.

Our plan of action was attention, attention, and more attention. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a 200 lb. animal feeling jealous of anything! I recall people at my workplace making comments like “boy are those pigs in for a rude awakening when the baby comes home, they’ll be going way down in the ranks in that house for sure” usually followed by laughter, imagining the pigs losing their happy home. I knew in my heart of hearts we’d make it work. For one thing, we don’t believe animals are disposable. For another thing, there’s no way we could part with these two piggers, they were firmly implanted in our hearts and souls. Absolute worst case scenario, we’d build a small heated building for them on our property if they proved to be a danger to Lydia. But I was out to prove the world wrong. (They don’t call me Nazi Mom for nothing!)

So we figured in our favor was the fact that I would be home with P&B all day now, as opposed to them being home alone during the work week. This had to be seen as a bonus in their eyes. It was winter, so we were all in the house all day. Did I mention our house is small? All they had to do was come lumbering out of their blankie pile and they could get at the least a belly rub or back scratch with my foot. Lydia was at a great age to introduce her to animals - she wasn’t afraid. She loved touching them and after a short while she would climb on them when they were laying down. Mind you she was very small, I wouldn’t suggest a heavier child do this.

VERY IMPORTANT POINT HERE: We never left her alone with the pigs. Ever. Pigs and kids is still a big unknown. To this day we are cautious, although not nearly as much as in the beginning. When she would be on the floor petting them and start to climb on them, if they moved at all we’d grab her. She never did anything that they minded, and that was key. We always kept their best interests at heart as well as hers. Another key thing - respect your piggy, allow her to have her space to herself. Pigs need to have a place to go to where they won’t be bothered, such as their blankie pile or in some cases their own room. Follow their lead when it comes to their space, they deserve it.

Each pig challenged Lydia in their own way. I discovered that Bessie was sneaking up on Lydia in her high chair and nipping at those little tootsies. Luckily it was winter and Lydia had sleepers on with feet in them, so she never was hurt, but she was startled when it happened and scared. I started making sure the high chair was in my vision if Lydia was in it. When Bess would start sauntering over to Lydia I would sit next to Lydia and pet Bessie on the head telling her what a good girl she was. She would whine, she really wanted to chomp, but she wouldn’t do it with me there. Eventually she gave up and hasn’t challenged Lydia since. A while after we jumped that hurdle, Porgy took his turn. He would charge at her, not full force mind you, I don’t think he really wanted to hurt her, he just wanted to take the spot of authority over her. Again I made sure I was right there when he was close so I could stop him and tell him NO, while pushing him back. The way to give a pig a meaningful shove is with your knee or shin, to their shoulder. This seems to get the point across to them. Porgy eventually got the point too, and hasn’t tried anything since. It’s pretty much mandatory that you teach your pigs that all humans are above them in the household pecking order, in order to maintain a relatively peaceful household.

Having pigs in the house with children can be a great learning experience. I feel we are raising one more pig lover to send out into the world as an advocate for these wonderful creatures. Children’s minds are blank slates when their born, and for some reason they will mistreat animals to one degree or another unless they are taught otherwise. We have taught Lydia from day one the proper treatment of all animals, especially our pigs. It is coming up on four years since Lydia joined our herd. She loves posing for pictures with the pigs in their Easter hats, birthday hats, and Christmas hats. The pigs of course know if they put up with mom’s silly hat business they get extra treats!

If you already have pigs when you decide to add a child to the mix, realize you will need to already have things under control with the pigs, and plan to devote enough time to them after the child arrives so they don’t feel put out. If you already have one or more children when you decide to get a pig, think long and hard about it. Do you have the time and energy to devote to a pet who’s temperament will be like a toddler, for upwards of 15 years? Pigs are a very big commitment. If you’re up to the task you’re in for one of life’s most rewarding experiences. Pigs are not for everyone; if you’re one of the lucky ones I’d say you are truly blessed. Sandy

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Yes, you should check with your local zoning board to see if potbellied pigs, or any other exotic pet, are allowed in your community/neighborhood.

There is NOT a listing of which cities/towns are or are not zoned. You will have to go to your local zoning department and check with them. Sometimes this can be done on-line, other times you will have to go in person to check.

If you live where there is a homeowners association you will also need to check with them. Unfortunately many places still do not consider potbellied pigs pets. In many areas they are pigs period (livestock) and are subject to the rules and regulations that cover farm hogs.

Do you rent? If zoned you will still need to check with the owner of the building to see if they will allow potbellied pigs as pets.

We have lived way out in the mountains and away from any population centers, we had no problems with zoning. But, there have been many heartbreaking stories of people getting a pet pig, becoming very attached to their pet, and then were forced to give it up because of zoning. The breeder, pet store, etc.. should make sure that you are zoned first BEFORE selling you a potbelly pig as a pet.

Contact City Hall and ask for the zoning regulations showing which animals are allowed as pets within city limits. Usually for a couple of dollars, they will be happy to send you a copy. Better yet, you should go down to them and see the ordinance for yourself and get a copy then. It's best to get it in writing so that you will have written back up in the future should you have any problems. Don't just take someone's word for it for the sake of the animal.

If you are not zoned, you have three choices:
  1. Do not get the pig. Some of the saddest stories we here are of people that had a pig, were not zoned properly, and someone (usually a neighbor) complained and the pig was taken away. Not only is this hard on the human, it is extremely hard on a potbelly. They become very attached and being ripped away from their home can be devastating. Please, do not take this chance!!

  2. You can move. Yep, this has happened.

  3. You can try to get your zoning changed. There have been successes around the country, and failures. But, more and more cities and towns are changing their zoning to allow pet pigs. Plus, the licensing fees are another income stream for the local government.
You must do all you can do to try and prove that your pet pig(s) are indeed commonly accepted household pets. Have your pet spayed or neutered. Establish a relationship with a veterinarian. Maintain your pet as a house pet, if at all possible. Most importantly be in compliance with your town's zoning. It is almost impossible to sway towns that want to not recognize potbellied pigs as pets.

Here is my friend Ann's story about what she and her family did to keep their 3 pet pigs.

My name is Ann, I live in Gerber, CA, located in Tehama County in Northern California. My Parents & I have lived in the area for over 5 years, 3 years ago they were given two wonderful potbelly pigs {Myrtle & Sweet Pea} and in May 2004 we adopted a third {Jasmine} from a sanctuary.

On July 20, 2004 we were informed that this area does not acknowledge potbelly pigs as pets {valued members of the family} they are considered just another swine and fall under the livestock regulations which require an acre of land per pig. We have about ¾ of an acre. We were informed that we had 10 days from the date the letter was sent to remove the girls from the property. The letter was dated and post marked for July 13th which gave us just 3 days. We were frantic!!

On Monday, my father made an appointment with the Tehama County Planning Director, we have been granted a stay till the issue could be brought in front of the Planning Commission for a vote in late September. The Director suggested that we check the zoning polices pertaining to Potbelly Pigs for other cities in California; however he did not pass on to my father how to do this. My father set about calling some of the cities around us and I sent an e-mail message out to several addresses that I found.

One of the responses that I received suggested the LexisNexis Municipal Codes Web Library - This is a wonderful zoning web site. My Father and I sat down and went through the cities one by one printing off every thing that pertained to potbelly pigs. We were surprised at all of the different ways that potbelly pigs were listed. Looking at all of the information that we had gathered we knew that the Planning Commission would not want to go thought the information page by page so I sat down and did what I do best, I placed all of the information on a spread sheet.

The first of September we presented the Planning Director with a huge binder. A cute picture of a stack of pigs graced the cover, then information that were provided by Phyllis with UPPR, letters from veterinarians, a definition of a pet and all of the information that we gathered from the internet. The Planning Director was surprised at the amount of information that we were able to provide him with and assured us that he would share it with the Planning Commission.

Our first meeting was on September 16, 04 after which Jasmine and I were featured on the front page of the local newspaper. That was not quite the end, we went back to iron out little details three more time before a final draft of what will become the Tehama County Zoning Code for Pot-Bellied Pigs could be sent before the Board of Supervisors.

On January 25, 05 the Tehama County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the following Ordinance:


NOTICE IS HEARYBY GIVEN that the Tehama County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 at 10:45 a.m., or as soon thereafter as may be heard in Board Chambers, 633 Washington Street, Red Bluff, California, on the following matters:

REZONE #04-10. (PLANNING COMMISSION RESOLUTION #04-2) – To consider amending Chapter 17.08, General Provision and Exceptions, Section 17.08.010. Additional Uses Permitted of the Tehama County Zoning Code; adding Subsection (1), Pot-Bellied Pigs as follows: 

1.    Pot-Bellied Pigs. As an accessory use to a detached single-family dwelling in a RE; Residential Estates Zoning District and an R-1; One-Family Residential Zoning District, no more than five Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs (sus scrofa) may by kept or harbored as a pet. In combination with dogs, no more than five animals may be kept, provided:

a.    The animals are regularly housed indoors, and when outdoors, are restrained by leash or within a durable fenced enclosure area, and
b.    Pot-bellied pigs over the age of four (4) months shall be neutered or spayed. Exemption for neutering or spaying will be considered by the County of Tehama Animal Control Department when presented with evidence authored by a veterinarian stating procedure would be detrimental to the health of the animal; and
c.    The owner has obtained a license issued by the County of Tehama Animal Control Department for the pot-bellied pig, which shall be issued only after proof of neutering or spaying had been provided. The licensure fee shall be equivalent to the dog licensure fee; and
d.    Tusks shall be regularly trimmed so as not to exceed one inch in length outside the outer lip.

According to the Planning Director the above goes into law after 30 days providing the are no law suites – but he was very reassuring that there were no further hurdles to get over! He then congratulated us on the good job.

I would like to thank every one that weathered the storm before us without their efforts we could not have accomplished what we did. THANK YOU

Please check your zoning before getting a pig for a pet.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Size, Weight & More...

This is one thing that can't be stressed enough. Please do not confuse a pigs size with his weight. Potbellied pigs are very dense. Thus, there is a lot of weight in those little bodies.

The average size of our pet pigs should be that of a medium sized dog. However, the average weight is around 120 - 150 pounds, with some weighing less and some weighing more. Just because some of our pigs weigh 200+ pounds does not mean that they are fat or overweight. Some are just bigger.

There are breeders out there telling people that if they don't feed their pig very much it will stay small. All this does is make for an unhealthy pig.  The same goes for over feeding your pig. And now we have come across a few vets that want a skinny pig and are telling people not to feed them what we would consider a normal feeding. Pigs are not skinny animals they are pigs and should be plump or that pot belly, hence their name.

Please don't fall for these so called Miro Mini, TeaCup, Royal Dandie pigs that some breeders are selling. There are now a number of web sites with info about these so called tiny pigs. Always remember that the breeder is interested in your money, not always the welfare of the pig.

This is my favorite example on feeding affecting the size of your pig. If you have a Chihuahua and feed it say 4-5 cups of chow a day it is not going to get any bigger. Fatter yes, bigger no! The size has already been determined by genetics. The same principle applies to our pigs. So why are so many people literally starving their pigs by only feeding 1/4 cup of feed a day? Because they were either told to or thought that would keep the pig small. We don't do this with any other animal, but for some reason think it is okay to do to a pig.

The first year of a pigs life is the most important as that is when they are doing most of their growing and building their immune system. This is why they need that pig chow. It has the proper amount of protein and nutrients. However, it doesn't help if they aren't getting enough.

We suggest an average of 2 cups of pig chow a day. If the pig is really hungry then you will up the feed. You are going to have to determine if he is really hungry or just being a pig. :)

This will not affect your pig’s size!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Is That A...Pig?

When my wife & I decided that we needed another pet we had different opinions. I wanted a dog, she did not! Period.

She pointed out that we had 2 loving cats, already. I pointed out that, even though they behaved more like dogs than cats, I needed a pet that was a little less aloof. In fairness, our cats, Gizmo & MJ, are unconditionally loving, do incredibly goofy things, and beg for food. I believe they have no feline role models to imitate, and , therefore are forced to behave like the dogs on TV. Yes, we spend a lot of time with our pets!

My wife glibly suggested a pig. She's from Texas. What a stupid thing to say - a pig! We live in Florida. A pig, hah!

So, ten minutes later I'm on the computer looking at piglets. Cute enough to melt the toughest heart! I had never seen a 'Pot Bellied' pig. Over the next few days I educated myself about this absolutely ridiculous animal. There is no shortage of information about them on the Internet. And, no shortage of horror stories from people who thought it would make a great pet.

From stories about biting, charging, and uncontrollable behavior to pleas for help from people who bought an 8 pound piglet and now had a 300 pound monster. So many people have to get rid of their pigs that there are sanctuaries all over the place taking them in. Worse, many more are being euthanized! So, here it was, we were not going to get a pet that we would have to give up later. No way.

But, they are so damn cute. I kept going back to 'pig' websites. I came to some conclusions about why people had so many problems. I figured that, being educated and patient, we could handle any animal. We had forethought.

Dawn, my wife, and I sat down and seriously discussed what would happen if it got too big for our house; what would we do if it were mean. We made a commitment to see it through, no matter what! I set off to buy a Pot Bellied Pig - hah.

By this time, I am an expert in pig info and quickly found a qualified breeder in Texas. After seeing pictures of 8 adorable pigs, one caught our eye. He was grey, with a white triangle on his forehead. He looked like trouble. She explained that he was 8 weeks old and had a little longer to wean. He had to be fixed before she would ship him to us. In 2 weeks we would pick up our new baby at the airport.

For the next 2 weeks we read everything we could find on the care, nutrition, and training of pigs. Here are some basics: They are very smart; they are easily house broken; they are very clean animals; they don't have dander or smell bad. We couldn't believe we hadn't gotten one before this!

The common mistake that I had read about was that people fed their pig like they would a dog - 2 meals a day plus treats whenever they begged. This was how you got a very big, mean pig - fast! Food is EVERYTHING to a pig. They will do anything to get it. If the pig thinks he can manipulate you and get it, he will. All of the biting and bad behavior that we read about related back to food. I've trained a lot of dogs; I had this licked before he got off the plane.

Palm Beach International Airport has certainly seen its share of celebrities, presidents, and socialites. But, I am confident few pigs have come through its well coiffed concourses. We were very curious to see how this would go.

We drove an hour to the airport to retrieve our adopted child on the appointed day. We parked in the express parking because we figured he wouldn't have much luggage. We were almost running by the time we found the right place.

Coincidentally, the place to pick up pigs is also the same place to report or claim your lost luggage. A half a dozen people were in line in front of us, alternately complaining and then berating the harried clerk behind the counter. It was an ugly scene for the next 30 minutes as we got closer to the desk. The line behind us grew. The clerk was a passive-aggressive, condescending, airline professional. Unflappable.

'I'm here to pick up a pig.' I announced proudly. The room was suddenly silent. 'What?' the clerk barked. I gave him my shipping receipt. He walked slowly to the back, in search of a pig.

'I bet that's the first time you've ever said that.' The eighty-year old man next to me remarked. 'No sir,' I replied, dead-pan 'I grew up here.' the room erupted into laughter. The scowls briefly went away.

The clerk arrived with a pet carrier that one of our cats wouldn't fit into. Squinting through the holes I could just make out a nose. Yep, that's our pig. Off we went with appropriate oohs and ahhs from our new supporters wishing us well!!

We got back to the care as fast as we could, eager to hold our newest addition. Dawn couldn't wait to be the heroine to rescue our little pig after the terrifying experience of having surgery and then taking the plane trip.

We got in the car, our very small car, and I set the carrier on my lap. Then I took the top off, so I could get a grip of the little guy. He was so cute that it brought a tear to my eye. He was 8 pounds of nose!

Now, 2 things are important to understand about Pigs. First, all of the sayings like, 'squeal like a pig' and 'that actor is such a ham' are based in reality and accurate. And, more importantly in this case, pigs have a gland like a skunk and, when they get truly scared, they will emit an odor similar to elephant urine.

As I grab our yet to be named piggy from his crate, he simultaneously starts squealing (like a pig) at the top of his lungs like we are stabbing him and hits me with his own personal stink bomb. Without saying a word I handed this thing to my wife. After a few minutes, in a blanket on her lap, he calmed down enough for me to drive home. The trauma and the smell of these few minutes evaporated when I rolled down my window to pay for the parking.

The kid taking money looked at me like I was handing a him a pile of poop. His eyes were watering from my new musk, but he looked down at my wife's lap and asked, 'Is that a pig?' I couldn't help but like him, even through the tears he smiled at our little lump of nose.

To read the rest of this wonderfully funny story please visit us at the Pigs4Ever story page.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

National Pig Day

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
National Pig Day is an event held annually on March 1 in the United States to celebrate the pig. The holiday celebration was started in 1972 by sisters Ellen Stanley, a teacher in Lubbock, Texas, and Mary Lynne Rave of Beaufort, Noth Carolina.

According to Rave the purpose of National Pig Day is "to accord the pig its rightful, though generally unrecognized, place as one of man's most intellectual and domesticated animals."  The holiday is most often celebrated in the Midwest.

National Pig Day includes events at zoos, schools,nursing homes, and sporting events around the United States. It is also recognized at "pig parties" where pink pig punch and pink ribbon pigtails are tied around trees in the pigs' honor.
According to Chase's Calendar of Events, National Pig Day is on the same day as pseudo-holidays Share a Smile day and Peanut Butter Lover's day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Madison's Law

I want to share a few of Madison's Law with you today as she passed over the Rainbow Bridge this morning. Madison had turned 14 the end of January. Never had the pleasure to meet Madison or her mom Barbara, but have known them for years from a potbellied pig e-mail list that I run.

Here are a few of her laws and I hope you enjoy them.

Article 126, Section 135: No pig shall be forced to stay outside in temperatures lower then 60 degrees F without the sun shinning and a deck to catch some rays on. And/or kept from said treats of any kind for a time not to exceed 2 minutes. Any human caught disobeying said pig "laws" will be punishable by a life long commitment of belly rubs, non stop treats, lots of love, and sentenced to cater to our every waking need for the remainder of said pig's life.

Article 158, Section 145.4: Any human talking on the computer to other humans about any such pig will be subject to scratching said pig until there hands fall off and/or allowing said pig to scratch his/her butt on the new dinning room table and/or subject to fines not to exceed as many treat's for that day as said pig wants.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monthly Special

Vitamin E & Selenium All-natural and recommended for all Pot-Bellied Pigs as a regular supplement. Correct formulation for the Pot-Bellied Pig. Strawberry flavored. Top dressing on feed makes it easy to use. Raises and maintains vitamin E and selenium at sufficient levels. Strawberry flavored. Reduces challenges from Capture Myopathy, White Muscle Disease and Porcine Stress Syndrome, due to stress. Aids in other stressful situations-e.g. moving, sickness, shipping, etc.

Combine with Hair & Skin Conditioner for optimal results in reducing your pot belly pig's dry skin.

Check out our monthly special and more products at our web site:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Purpose of the Blog

The purpose of this blog is to support pet owners of pot bellied pigs with helpful resources and inspiring stories. I also welcome comments from everyone to make this blog an active forum for discussion. Please feel free to share why you love pot bellied pigs!