The pet pigs in this area probably give us some of the best data out there for working with the older pet pigs. They have been in the same home since their youth for the most part and have lived lives as house pets intertwined with their humans as close companions and friends.
Knowing these pigs has been a privilege and a learning experience. To have watched them go from the youthful days through maturity into the senior age and now some beyond, makes them very special.
Since we now know that the average expected life span is more like twelve to fifteen years rather than twenty years it gives us a new framework to think about. What is considered a senior and what is considered old? Just as in humans, it depends on the pig and as in humans the physiology of the individual comes into play. We change the care of the pig as the pig dictates the need for change.
The older the pig gets the more it slows down and the slower its body functions become. Remember the times when your friend was young and you increased the food so that he would have adequate nutrition to grow the bone needed when he was mature? Then you moved on to the worry that he might be getting too much and you had to watch the weight?
Well, you have come full circle with the old pig and it is time to start watching again. Not for weight gain but for weight loss. Old pigs take more to keep going than a you pig does. When a pig reaches the teens it is time to watch closely and be ready to up the feed rations again.
Their digestion is slower along with their ability to process the food given, so it's important to watch closely on these old guys and start before it becomes a problem for them. It can be told from experience that it is harder and takes longer to put weight on an old pig than it is to take weight off a mature pig.
This could be an important factor should your old pig become ill. They must have some reserve energy supply to work with if expected to come through illness with ease.