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.

1 comment:

  1. Dont put ham over your children. What are you crazy. Keep the pigs in a pin in the yard. And your loved ones close. Just like dogs give a pigs an inch and they will take a mile. And just like dogs pigs can be distructive and can injure even kill. They are animals not humans. And if i had porkie pushing the kids onto furnature in the house he would be outside or dinner. just my thoughts

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