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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.

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

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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: Pregnancy; Before, During and After

Q: Hello - I rescued a three year old female potbelly pig about a month ago. The rescue operation knew nothing about her except her age. She has a three inch scar on her belly so we assumed she was spayed. Yesterday I noticed her belly is nearly to the ground and her nipples are enlarged. When she rolled over I was able to express a little milk from a couple of her nipples.

I am a dog breeder so I am used to the birthing process but I have no clue what to do with a pig. Can you please direct me to any good articles on pig pregnancy, whelping (if that's what you call it) and piglet care.

She was in rescue for two months and I have had her for one month. Since she has milk, I would suspect she is due soon and I really need some help. I have a whelping box complete with a pig rail and some heat lamps but other than that I don't have a clue. I would appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you so much. Carol

A: Hi Carol, pigs are pretty much like dogs in delivery only easier. Babies are born with their eyes open and they are up and moving. My website has some articles on care of the pig and orphan piglets. Main thing is babies like it very warm and no drafts if possible.

Mom usually does a good job with delivery and much like dogs. Pigs will usually pass two afterbirths...one in the middle and one in the last. They don't have individual afterbirths for each piglet. My website is www.pigpalssanctuary.com and if you run into problems my phone number is 618 459 3619

Q: Please tell me how many babies does a pot belly have my pig is trying to have her babies now .

A: They can have any number of babies. First litter is usually 5 to 8 but there is nothing set in stone on number. You will know she is done when she relaxes and lays down with soft grunting noise to feed her babies. You will also see lots of afterbirth when she is finished. We always give a shot of Oxytocin at the end to make sure all is out.

Q: Hi, I have a pregnant pot belly and I don't know how to prepare for the litter. She had a litter of 10 last May but we didn't know she was pregnant and all 10 died in 12 hours. Mama pig is an outside pig and daddy is also in the pen. Do we need to move the piglets inside and if so what about Mama, she has never been in the house? How hot does the temp for them need to be? It reaches 90-1005 on a daily basis and as low as 65 at night. Please help me prepare for these babies!! :) Thank You, Claire

A: You really NEED to get daddy fixed or put somewhere where this doesn't happen. If she had babies last may than she got pregnant again shortly after she lost those ten. It would only take a short time to be over run with pigs if she should happen to have all live babies.

The male needs to be taken out of where she is when it comes close to time for her to deliver....some males are good with babies some aren't, but just having one more body in there would account for losing some of the babies. I wouldn't take mom or babies in the house if she isn't used to it but the babies need heat if they are going to be born outside close to winter or fall time. You can't give them nearly what mom does so it's better if she is able.... for her to raise them.

If you have her inside a good outside building without drafts and they are going to be born shortly than she should be OK. I prefer having them in a farrowing pen that we build that is 6x6 with rails along the sides so that mom can't lay on the babies. There are many reasons why some litters die shortly after birth. It could be mom wasn't knowing enough to know what to do or they got cold or even one of the species specific diseases that you would never know she had...like Parvo or PURRS which only shows up when pigs are born.

Boy pots are born sexually aggressive, they have been known to breed their own mother back at the early age of 8 or 9 weeks so you will need a place to separate them when they get close to that age into a VERY SECURE area. The females will come in at about three months or 12 weeks and brothers and dad will breed them. Mom will come back into season when these are weaned and boys and dad can breed her too.

So you can see the potential for way too many pigs being born. There are hundreds and hundreds of these poor pigs in sanctuaries across the country that have been left there by people who thought they wanted a pig. If you place any of the litter please make sure they are neutered first because the boys don't make good pets if they aren't done and they suffer all kinds of misery at the hands of unknowing people.

Q: We have a problem about our pregnant pig. She is mated on the 11th of May and due to give birth on September. But the problem is, our pig is not eating much, lazy to stand up and some white smelly mucous is coming out in her private part.

Can you tell us, what's wrong and what to do. I can advice my brother what to do next. Thanking you so much, Cristine

A: Get some antibiotics in her right away and check with your vet about problems. The antibiotics will help keep the infection down but its possible that she will need to be spayed ...ask your vet.

Q: We have a small hobby farm and were given a pot-bellied female pig that was dumped off near a farm by us. We worked with her alot and she became very tame. The only problem was she and our untied dog kept running away together. I am unwilling to tie the dog or keep the pig kenneld all day while we are at work. We put her in our pasture but she came thru the electric fence regularly (to be by the house and dog) despite several hieghts of electric rope. Another couple approached us about taking their male pot-bellied pig because they could not handle it anymore. Thinking maybe she would stay behind the fence with him, I decided to take him. It worked. But of course within 5 minutes they were mating. Now it's been 3 and 1/2 months since she would have become pregnant. I put her in the barn alone (without the horses) yesterday thinking she may have her babies. The male pig has found a way in and out because he is much smaller than her, but she is staying in the barn all the time. I have several questions

Should the male be kept away from her because he may kill the babies?

Should I keep her away from the other animals at this time?

Do they act different before they go into labor? Right now she barely gets up at all and isn't interested in eating, only drinking. How do I know she's not sick? Maybe this is normal?

We are having all the male piglets and the male pig neurtered. We don't want this to happen again. We are not selling the piglets but giving them away to people we know with the option of bringing them back if it doesn't work out. I love all animals especially these pigs. Any information at all would be greatly appreciated. Our vet really doesn't know a whole lot about these animals.

A: Gestation for her is three months three weeks and three days. It is not normal for her to not want to eat. A pig that doesn't eat has a problem. I would get her on some oral antibiotics if she will take them in treats and if not give her the injectable one. Yes the male needs to be kept away from her and she needs a place of her own at this time where she doesn't have to worry about other animals.


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Q: Thanks for the recommendation on the pig pool is on it's way as of yesterday. We had 7 baby piglets this morning to our great surprise! Sophia had never had piglets before so I guess that's why she didn't look huge like my friends pig did before our Sophia was born. We thought we were weeks and weeks away so it was a mad scramble to make her area more secure and get Dad into his own area. I have a couple of questions if I may......

1) Dad seemed OK. around the piglets but I didn't want to chance it. We gave him his own area right away. Is it usually best to separate Dad from the new babies?

2) Tonight my husband & I are planing on snipping off the two sharp teeth of each piglet with nail clippers. Any hints or is as easy as the feed store made it sound.

3) Can I continue to feed Mom her feed right in with the babies or should I pull it after she stops eating so the little one won't eat it? (Not that she usually ever leaves any after she's feed but I'm planing on increasing her amount while she's nursing)

4) Our feed store said they will take them at 6 weeks old (if we don't sell them ourselves that's where they will go) Do you agree with that date for leaving Mom? We will go by what you say.

Anything else that you think we might wanna know would be welcomed.

Thanks so much. Oh and we will be handling these little ones a lot so they get used to it, so when we find them responsible homes they well be nice little pigs.

Not that you haven't seen a million baby pigs but I'll send you a photo as soon as I take one.

A: Ok...guess Congrats are in order for grandma and grandpa!! Now for some of the questions. Yes the male should be moved out. Some boars do OK. but its chancy and better to move him. Have one out here in cyber space that left the male and he killed all the babies.

Snipping the needle teeth is NOT easy even though it might sound that way. It is better if you can put the mom outside as she gets terrible upset when those kids start screaming...which they do quite well. You have to hold the piglet, hold the lip up and make sure you don't get the tongue in there while clipping.

I have to admit that we didn't always do the teeth unless it was a very large litter as the stress was so bad on them and mom. Smaller litters didn't have to fight to find a dinner so they didn't need theirs done. The teeth don't bother mom so much but in large litters they would tear each other up fighting for their favorite dinner.

Yes you continue to feed mom in with the babies...this is how they learn to eat grain. They play in what she scatters and learn to eat pig chow this way.

The date for weaning is 6 weeks if all is going well. I'm not sure that I would like the feed store taking babies....thats not my idea of a good place for babies or checking out new homes. Of course I don't like to see babies being born period since I have 70+ pigs that were bred by someone than dumped when they grew up.

It is almost impossible to find the good homes for these guys. They are soo cute that everyone falls in love with the babies but they don't make the commitment to continue taking care of them when they finally grow to maturity. They find that its not easy to take a 150 lb pig to the vet, nor can a grown pig go up and down stairs anymore or they find that they didn't check zoning and the pigs aren't legal in most areas.

Its up to you to make sure these little guys don't end up in the pounds or in worse places after they are grown. That's why we don't adopt out here at the sanctuary...no time to do home checks for good homes and 8 out of 10 placed come back anyway.

If statistics hold true that means that 4 or 5 of your babies will be returned to you in the next three years as grown pigs and that's if they are lucky enough to be brought back to you and not given to every Tom Dick and Harry or left on the side of the road or in the pound or chewed up by dogs because people don't want to listen that grown pigs and dogs do not make good companions. Babies do OK. with dogs but once grown that is not the case. It is nature...dogs are predators and pigs are prey.

If you read my website than you know that these guys can't be neutered barn yard style. The testicles are too close to the body and it butchers them up but does not usually work on neutering. They also have an inguinal ring in there that must be sewn up or they herniated which can be fatal.

The little boys come out of the uterus looking for a girl and can produce sperm as early as 8 weeks and girls come into first heat at about 3 months. So boys need to be separated from girls and mom by that age. They will breed their mom or sisters if given the chance.

We don't recommend that anyone ever place a male that is not neutered as people will not put up with the smell or the actions of a little boar for very long and they sure don't make good pets unless fixed. A little boar will take off looking for a girl if given the slightest chance. This means that little boys are kept at home longer so that neutering can be done at about 3 months...most vets prefer that they be at least that age to go under the stuff that knocks them out.

Guess that's all I can tell you in one email LOL...let me know if you have any questions and stay in touch OK.?

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