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Pot Bellied Pig Health and Information Articles
Just a few of the articles Phyllis has written on the care and well being of Potbellied Pigs.

FAQS Center
Here you will find Questions that people like you have asked Phyllis over the years with her Answers.

Pig Picture Gallery
LOTS of pictures of pigs that call Pig Pals Sanctuary home.

Other Critters Picture Page
A few pictures of some of the other critters that call Pig Pals Sanctuary™ home.

King Charles and BinBin

Potbellied Pig FAQ's and Information

Below: General Questions

Q: Hello. Could I please get some information on pigs as pets. Preferably mini pigs. I have always loved pigs. I don't eat them, but I want one as a pet. How to buy one, where, etc. Your help is appreciated. Melissa

A: Hi Melissa, Yes pigs make good pets for certain people, but not all. A lot has to do with how you are set up to take care of one too. I see from your address that you have an apartment number....that is your first problem.

These pigs are not legal in most towns and cities as they fall back to the old blue book law against swine in the city limits. Very few places have taken the potbellied pig into consideration and changed the law defining them as pets rather than swine. I am assuming that you rent your apt. which means you would need permission from the land lord too which is sometimes hard to get. And what happens to the pig if you decide to move to another apt that doesn't allow them?

The Potbelly breeds and all miniature pigs are called mini pigs because they are smaller than a thousand pound farm hog not because they are little and petite. Average weight of the mini pig across the country is 80 to 150 lbs with lots going over that. Some sellers will lie and say that their pigs don't get over 50 lbs. DON'T BELIEVE IT!!!!

These pigs grow till they are three years old. While they may only be as tall as a Springer Spanial dog they have solid weight which makes them much heavier. Solid and heavy enough that after the first year most people can't pick them up. Makes vet trips very difficult and if you have steps you are in big trouble because they don't do steps well when they are grown.

They really need a walk out kind of door into a fenced yard for some safe "piggy time" and a place for potty time and time to walk around and graze and just enjoy themselves. (when they are grown they don't like a litter box anymore and need to go out for potty)

I don't like to see them go to homes where everyone works as pigs need the company during the day to keep them occupied and out of trouble. They go to bed at dusk so if everyone is working they have little time to be social. Please go to pigture pages and check out the pigs here at the sanctuary that were brought in because they lost their home to zoning problems or grew too big (or so their owners thought) and read some of the articles. I'm not trying to discourage you but you need the facts if your thinking of a pig as a pet. We have 80 of them here and have ten in the house....I think they are wonderful creatures but it does take more for them than dogs and cats.

Q: Hi! We adopted a potbelly pig Named Palace. She is a pretty pig. We owned a pot belly before a male neutered. But we had to move. Now we have 6 acres a home of our own. Palace may be pregnant and is very over weight. The lady we got her from said she would not eat pot belly pig pellets so she has had hog pellets the whole 1yr of life please send me any suggestions. And how long they carry piglets etc...any way I can tell. Also she is limping a little Concerned new pig owner??? Bobbi

A: Hi Bobbi, sounds like you got a sweet one. If your baby is only a year than you are lucky. As for being overweight...at that age you have time to fix it if its really a problem. Most pigs of a year needed the extra food to have healthy bones to hold them in their old age but fat is not good, plump is great!

The hog chow isn't the problem as all 80 of our pigs are on the hog chow maintenance food...not the sow chow or any of those with supplements for growth just plain hog chow. The problem isn't the feed ...its how much she was getting.

You can't cut her too far if she indeed is pregnant. The gestation period on pigs is three months, three weeks and three days. For this to help though you need to know when she was bred. Did she live with a boar? What makes you think she is pregnant or did the lady tell you she was?

The limping could be any number of things even the weight if she is really obese. Is it the front or the rear that she is limping on and are her feet in good shape. Check the dew claws and make sure they are not poking her. Let me hear from you.

Q: I have a large potbelly she is two and I have had her for about 4 months she is large I am guessing around 100 she was given to me I thought she was small but this week some people brought me three more pigs, they are poor looking, I think the largest one is 50lbs they told me she was due in a couple of months, but she isn't very fat. They told me they might need wormed what wormer do you use? I have lots of animals horses goats rabbits chickens birds and dogs.

Lot are given to me some I purchase at sales but I never owned a pig I really like Betsy and the lady who gave her to me was getting divorced and move to town the others I don't know them they heard I would take in animals and they just showed up with them in the back of a truck they are not friendly and they run and hit the fence when I go out to feed(the babies are 3 months) I put them in a kennel to tame them I was afraid to put them in the field I never see them again, do you have any suggestions on taming the little ones I will never find them a home the way they act. The seem to go crazy around people. I got a wild mustang who didn't act that wild.

How long is pregnancy on a pig and is there any thing I should know. I have helped deliver many goats and helped with cows and horses but never a pig
thanks Jennifer

A: We use Ivomectin for worming and it also gets any mange or lice that might be on them. It comes in the injectable form but we draw it up in a syringe and take the needle off and either squirt it on their food or shoot it into their mouth. It works just as well giving by mouth as by injection with a lot less stress for you and the pigs. Its extremely safe and if the pig weighs fifty pounds I would go with two CC's in the syringe. Put just a tiny bit of water on the food, stir and squirt it onto that and they will eat it. The water helps hold it on the food.

Pregnancy is three months, three weeks and three days. Are the babies boys or girls? Boy potbellies can breed when they are only nine or ten weeks old and they will breed the mother and sisters if you don't separate them after the six week weaning time. Females have their first cycle at about three months so if there is a for real boy in this new group be careful.

Its hard to tame the ones that are three months but you did right by putting them in an area you can work with. If you have a stall to put them in it would help and all you can do is sit with them on the ground and feed them from your hand. Some come around quickly and some don't you will just have to see. Bless your heart for taking them in as they are wonderful creatures if given a chance. Keep me posted OK?

Q: I have been desperately looking for a piglet for my grandmother. I'm hoping to make it a special gift from "Santa". I've been looking for one for several months, with no luck. I'm hoping that you can help me. I'm from Alabama and I've been unsuccessful in my attempts to locate one here. I would love to have a piglet or older youngster. Thank you for your time!

A: Hi Nicky, We try to discourage people from getting a pig as a Xmas present for someone else. Xmas is always so hectic and the weather is bad and a pig is a full time job for the first couple of weeks. Not to mention that sometimes the person getting the pig isn't set up for one and really doesn't want one. That's why there are 74 of them here at the sanctuary.

It really works better if the person getting the pig has read all there is to read and has the facilities set up to take a pig in. On my web page is a good article titled "Thinking About A Pig?" it tells all the good and the bad about raising one of these little guys. They are wonderful for the right person but can be a burden for those that aren't.

I don't have any breeders listed for Alabama. The closest rescue or sanctuary is in TN. That one is named Sheperds Green but I'm sure Peggy Couey would tell you the same thing and for you to bring your Grandmother with you to see the full grown pigs that are mostly 80 to 150 lbs. Makes it hard to get them to a vet since they won't fit in a pet taxi and you probably couldn't lift them if they do.

They grow until they are three years old and they don't do steps well at all when grown. You also might want to check for zoning. If your Grandmother lives in a town or a city then chances are the pigs are not legal there.

What you might think about doing as an alternative is to paper wise "adopt a pig" from a sanctuary which means you don't get the pig but you do get pictures and updates on the pig you adopt and a beautiful certificate saying the pig is sponsored by ______ this can be had for ten dollars a month for helping the sanctuary with the cost of taking care of the unwanted pigs they have.

Q: Hi Phyllis, Dottie told me about you and said that you are the real expert. I need some advise. My husband, my pig and I are moving in a couple weeks to a new home. I want to know what I can do to make the move and change of scenery less stressful for our pig, Max. We will actually be renting a house that's only 20 mintutes away from where we are now, so it's not the trip out there that worries me. I know that pigs don't like change and I just want to help him adjust to the new house. I am going to take a week off from work to stay home with him after the move. Do you know anything else that we can do to make him more comfortable? Thanks for your advise, Tammy

A: Hi Tammy, I'm going to assume that Max is an indoor pet? The most important thing to Max is going to be his bed. So don't wash it before the move. Put it someplace when you move that he can't mess it up so it will be dry and useable at the new place. Don't feed him the morning of the move and wait a few hours after you get there....eating means home to a pig. Don't try to give tranquilizers etc for that short of a move. Sounds to me like you are a really good "pig mom" so I'm sure Max will do fine. Any more questions give me a yell! Good luck with your move and give Max a tummy rub for me.

Q: Hi....My name is Amy and my family & I just adopted our first potbelly pig. She is almost 2yrs old and her name is Penny. We adopted her from a pig sanctuary here in Maryland. She used to be an indoor pig but her owners gave her up for adoption about 1yr ago and she has been an outdoor pig ever since. We currently have her in a safe outdoor area but are interested in possibly bringing her inside. When we got her yesterday we tried to put a harness on her but she threw a fit!

She was once fully trained to be inside and walked and are interested in being able to take her for walks and bring her back inside before bad weather begins. She was heart broken that her previous owners gave her up and went into a depression. She got a reputation at the sanctuary for being so sad and not wanting to be around people or other pigs and just wanted to be by herself. That was until we came along!

The owner of the sanctuary was amazed at how Penny fell in love with our family and always came out to see us, wag her tail, make happy noises, and followed us all over! We really love Penny and want to do what is best for her! If you have any suggestions please let us know! Thank You!!

A: Hi Amy, It's wonderful that you made a big difference in this young pigs life. My suggestion would be to just bring her in the house now and see how she settles in. Give her a blankie in a place that's kind of close to the door and see how she behaves. We have house pigs here that have been outdoors for years but the min. they come in they make themselves at home again and grown pigs are much easier to bring in than babies are. They are less likely to have bathroom problems and they value their time with you inside.

The harness training should wait till she is inside with you for a few days. We start by sprinkling food on the kitchen floor and while they are eating we get the harness on them. (if you run out of food put more down) once it's on just leave it for a few hours not doing anything else with it. Every morning put it on her and leave it most of the day if your there to supervise her (don't want her getting hung up with it on) after a couple of days you can attach a leash and let her pull that around with her for a while.

To teach them to walk on lead we again use food or rather treats of a good kind like animal crackers...when she starts fighting the leash just go with her but show her the animal cracker and say walk....after a couple of steps of her doing well give her the cracker....takes a lot of crackers in the beginning!! LOL.

We have ten pigs in the house here and only two are harness trained. The rest respond to my call and shaking a pan of pig chow to get them in and outside. If you don't have any big steps for her to have to navigate to go out it will help. They always receive a treat when they come in and for training we feed them breakfast outside when they go out for us. If you have a fenced yard it would be wonderful as you can always get her to come to you with food. If not you can set up a puppy pen or a small lightweight fence of a portable nature for temporary use.

This you put right around the door she will be using to go outside. I don't think she will go anywhere, but better to be safe than sorry. It may take a little coaxing to get her out and in the first few times but within a week she will be doing it for you if she is rewarded when she goes out and back in. Once she learns to walk with you on the harness if you don't have a fenced yard than you can eliminate the pen and just take her on leash to potty....but remember this winter it's you that will be out there with her holding the leash and waiting for her to go! (Thats a good reason for a fenced yard ...you can just put them out there and go back and let them in when they are finished.)

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Q: Hello, My name is Kelly, I live in Las Vegas, NV and am an owner of a 1 year old pot belly pig. He is very much my baby, he is well behaved, sweet and I love him very much. I care very well for him, he is neutered and he has everything a pig could want, including a yard, well balanced diet, toys and a loving family. However, he is becoming a lot to handle.

I have talked my husband into modifying our home in order to keep things nice and also have a happy pig. This has been done with baby gates to keep "Chauvie" out of the kitchen, removing closet doors that Chauvie knocks down, keeping remote controls and anything out of his reach, etc...But we are at a loss now.

We have recently been working on fixing up our house, and the pig is quite unaware of the value of things. He is potty trained, but since purchasing a new couch, he has taken advantage of the placement and when upset he goes potty behind the back of the couch. We have brand new carpet, and I think I got the problem solved by placing a rug there, however, Chauvie has also decided to try to scale that side of the couch and in doing so, has damaged it. (He is allowed where the people sit). We are not pleased with this development, and my husband wants to get rid of him.

I am a firm believer in modifying "our" behavior as humans, in order to ensure a successful animal. My husband also believes in this, however he is at the end of his rope. I want to get a table or something to put by the couch, but he is so angry, he is focusing on only the negatives of owning a pig. I don't want to get rid of the pig, and I am going to try to talk him out of it as much as I can, but I am afraid I may not be able to.

So I am requesting from you some information about how I would find a home that can provide my sweet boy with the life he deserves. I do live in Nevada, in a large city, and I don't think the lifestyle here is the best for him, but are there any rescues here for pot belly pigs? Do you make any arrangements to take in out of state animals? I love this animal with all of my heart and I don't want to see him live in a sub-standard (my standards) home or be abused or neglected like I hear about often. But I do love my husband also, and want to explore all of our options. Thank you for your time. Kelly

A: Hi Kelly, yes you're right most of the problems with pigs start with their owners. We have 80+ pigs here and have 12 in the house but our pigs are not allowed on any of the furniture period. Since your pig has had the benifit of such a good home I think there is still a chance for him if you will try a few things that I suggest.

First of all don't give him run of the house! Or at least not til you're sure you have the problem under control. We have two of them that live in my dinning room with a very sturdy gate up....they insisted on doing things that were not acceptable behavior. Like going in the floor in the living room or biting me when I walked through.

I'm assuming that you work or something outside the home? Need to know that cause it makes a difference on how you handle this problem and do you have ANY one room that he could be in if you work and are gone all the time in the day? (No we aren't going to even give him the whole room so dont worry.)

What I would do if I was you is ask nice husband (or good friend) to build you a suitable pen of 4x6 (and these can be made attractive with the wooden lattice work outside or even the white picket fence theme etc.) Pen can be put on rollers so you can move it.

It has a floor in it and is only three or four feet high. Frame is 2x4's with heavy galvanized wire on sides and a doorway in one end. When you are not there with him to watch him that is where he would be. Put his bed in there and his water and bowl and ALWAYS feed him in there. This is not mean...and he will soon find that the pen is his security place and you will find him going in even when you are home with him to watch him.

I have a very good friend that has two pigs in her home and they just bought a new house and pigs were doing a lot of damage to the point that hubby said they had to go....but they built a pen that is very pretty in a corner of the living room and she is so glad that now the pigs go right there to eat and sleep even when the door is open and they don't have to. It takes a few days for them to get used to but then they really seem to like having their own place that is safe and secure.

It saved those two pigs from being displaced from the only home they had ever known and believe me it's very hard to find a home for the house pigs that is a good and forever one. I think our santucary is only one of two that take house pigs period...the rest put them out with other pigs to fend for themselves and it's very hard and stressful for the average pig. And even though I think we do a good job here it just isn't the same as being an only child in a home....there are other house pigs and limited time.

You would be doing him a wonderful favor by fixing him his own place and allowing him to remain with the people he knows and loves. When he is older you will have a sweet boy that you can try leaving out once again if you like...but he will be looking for that pen when it comes time to sleep for sure. Also you need to have a fixed schedule for his potty habits . My grown pigs go outside for potty morning and night at certain times.... babies of course take more often. I rattle a feed pan with some pellets in it and they follow me out the door (I sure hope your not going to tell me that this boy is going in a litter box) Grown pigs past a few months don't like litter pans and they need some time outside to snuffle and walk around and do their thing. In any case I'm sending my phone number if you want to talk about this in detail or if I can be of any help to you. I'm outside a lot so if I don't answer leave your phone number and I will get back to you when I come in. PH: 618 459 3619


Q: Phyllis, Wow, you are so right about the routines and things. Yes I do work outside the home, so Chauvie is left home, but he has his own room. (When we're done with the rest of the house, we're turning it into a study/piggy room, I'm not totally nuts!). We do close his door all day, and yup, he puts himself to bed most nights, if he's not snuggling with us on the couch. He's got his sleeping bag and pillow, rooting box, baby toys (xylophone, balls and things), and a couple of his favorites that he took from the kitties. I think he is a bit spoiled, but he is really happy. The vet said he has never met a pig with such a good temperament.

I agree, I have read so much about pigs before I got one, and I don't want him to be traumatized by a new environment, plus I know he is attached to his "people". Not to mention, in case you can't tell, he's my baby, and I would be traumatized! We didn't talk about it last night, but I don't think my husband wants to get rid of him either, I think he lost his temper and is just really frustrated. I think we might put a table behind the couch to minimize damage, I am sure when we've got time we'll get it all worked out. I figured out this morning why he tried to do that, one of our kitties this morning jumped up there on the couch right in front of him. This kitty is piggy's buddy, so I am sure he just wanted to try it.

When Chauvie is bad we sternly tell him no, or bad pig, and send him to his room for about a twenty minute time out. (Unless, it is our fault he "messed up" like if he gets ahold of something he's not supposed to have-books etc.) He knows then that we're in charge, and will behave the rest of the day/night. He has specific potty times too, he goes outside, he has a litter pan in his room, but if we're late from work he goes right next to it....he used to use it, now it's just the idea that hey, this is where we go if we can't make it outside in time. It usually only happens once a month. But he is very predictable, we have breakfast and dinner at 6 & 6, potty 10 minutes after, and one hour after that both times, salad at 8 p.m. potty right after, and one more time just in case before bed if he is up with us.

I am so grateful that you took the time out of your busy schedule to respond to me. I cried all morning thinking what do I do? I would like to keep e-mailing you if that is possible, you sound really nice, and I know you love piggies! You can imagine, here in Las Vegas, people tend to look at you funny when you start talking about your pig and whip out pictures! I do it anyway though, heehee! Also, as this is my first pig I don't know quite everything about them. But I do love him and want the best for him, and as you can tell, we have our trials...I just hope this is the last time I hear "I don't care, he's gone!"...how stressful. Ick. But thank you again, and I look forward to hearing from you!

A: No problem Kelly, you email or call anytime you want to. Pigs are my life around here. Wish you had emailed a couple of months ago cause we had a pignic in Reno in May and I spoke there on some of the problems and stuff. Met a few new pig people and got to see a lot of the older ones. We also have a pig list on the computer with nothing but pig people and most are one pig pet owners with a few of us oldie sanctuaries also.

Since you work it may generate too much mail for you and you might prefer the one to one contact and that's good too but wanted you to know that your welcome to join us if you want. You are in an area that has some pots. Dottie and Richard live in Reno and they have two house pigs and two outside pigs if you want to get in touch with people closer to home. Dottie has a good website at www.pigs4ever.com and both are very good with pigs and love talking about them. Don't ever feel that you are the only one cause pig lovers are out there. And yes Chauvie sounds a little spoiled...but hey....they deserve it!!! You email anytime you feel like it ok. I like to stay in touch with good pig Moms.

Q: I have a 5 yr old pot-belly that was a stray. He just showed up in our horse pasture one day. We located his owner, but PigPig didn't want to leave our horses (we tried everything) so we finally decided to let him stay. He "rooms" with our older mare. We've had him now almost 2 years and just recently his hair has begun falling out. He has a good body condition - not overweight or under, and he is getting plenty of water, exercise, etc. I first thought of a skin rash or infection, but his skin looks fine, not even dry or flaky. I'm baffled. Could it be a vitamin or mineral deficiency? I've looked all over the internet and have not found one thing to help. Any suggestions? Heather

A: This is one of the kinds of e-mails that I really enjoy answering
Heather. Your boy is simply blowing his coat. This usually starts at about two years of age or older. There seems to be no order to the falling out as some do it all over at once and others do it in patches that makes them look moth eaten. Some do it only once a year and some do it twice a year. It doesn't seem to go with the weather either as we have had bald pigs in the middle of winter. After all of it falls out he will start with a new one and it looks a lot like a crew cut in the beginning. If you pull on what he has some of it will come out in your hand and they seem to like it when you help them along....must feel good to them. Anyway your boy is ok ...just going through the process.

Q: I just got my baby, 3 days ago (6 wks. old), he was flown in from Iowa to Maryland. He's been doing so good, I am so surprised with how quickly he's coming along. He walks on a leash like it's the norm. He eats and drinks good, my problem is I notice when ever he urinates, it dribbles out, it's not a steady stream. And his last stool was softer then the last few, I don't have a vet yet, like I said I live in Maryland. Got any advice and do you know of any piggy doctors in MD?

This Lil' guy already stole my heart. He will get the best, if i can find it for him. I am feeding him only pig chow, not sure if its the same as what they had in Iowa, he may have eaten a few raisins my father inlaw tossed in his dish, but not sure. I'm really concerned about his urine. Can they clear up infections on their own? or do they need meds.? Thanks so much for any help you can give. Sharon

P.S Are they like dogs when their nose is cold and they wag their tails? I hope he's happy, how can I tell?

A: Sounds like your boy is doing fine. Young pigs sometimes do the dribble thing and a lot could be his water may have been restricted during his trip. No they don't cure urinary infections by themselves but you will know if this is a problem as he will do a lot of straining. I think a few days of unlimited clean fresh water should change this. Remember that pigs have little muscle control in that dept. and even older pigs just kind of stand there and it runs out...very little pressure with it.

Wagging tails and cold noses don't mean a lot with a pig. They wag when they are happy, they wag when they are angry, they wag for just about any reason. Of course we pig lovers prefer to think they are "happy" when they do it. If your boy is going out on a harness and is eating fine for you I would say he is happy. If you have any real concerns than take his temp. This is done in the rectum and should be between 98 and 101 for a pot.

Q: There was a small pot bellied pig in the feild right by my house. He was running lose for almost 3 months with no owner in sight. We put on the radio that there was a pot bellied pig in the area and no one responded. One day he almost got hit by a car in front of my house. I immediatly called my brother and recruited 10 of his friends and one of the farmers from up the road to help me catch the pig. We used to have a goat so I renovated the goat pen into a pig pen and he's been with us for almost 4 months now.

The question I have is how can you tell how old pigs are? I know with some animals you can tell by their size but I have no idea if you can with pigs or not. I think he is fairly young because his testes just droped about a month ago. At first we thought he might have been neutered but now we know he isn't. Any advise you can give would be greatly appreciated. I have no experience with pigs but I have been reading alot and definatly learning from him.

A: He is probably still very young but you need to get him neutered as soon as possible. If left unfixed they tend to push the fence and ride your legs. They only make nice pets when neutered.

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