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.