|Sweet Pea my house guest|
Piggies are the cutest things ever.
But they remind me of fine wine you need to learn to appreciate and understand. Like training your palette for caviar. Not everyone just one day eats caviar and proclaims LOVE IT... You have to really learn to want to appreciate it, and learn all there is about what makes it so fabulous. Well, the same goes for piggy's.
They just aren't a pet for everyone. When I started researching these wonderful creatures 14 years ago, I learned that they were going to be high maintenance. I think the same holds true today. And now that i'm a little wiser, I'm a bit more discerning with regards to these wonderful creatures. Not everyone should have a pot bellied pig as a pet.
Back then my research didn't stop me from getting Ignatius C . Potbelly (iggy the piggy), but now 11 years later, (yes he's still here)... I can honestly say these guys are just not for all. And they should not just automatically become outdoor in the paddock pets. Not if you want to be able to handle them 10 years from now. In the beginning, they need constant correction. Constant attention. And constant care, so that they learn what it is you expect of them.
Over the years have wrote many blog posts about growing up with iggy. (see past posts here)
Look at how cute they are at this age. This picture below was of Iggy the piggy, his first month here... How could you NOT love that face. Get attached. It's easy.
|Ignatius C. Potbelly|
What isn't so easy is long term care of these masterful manipulators. What? How in the world could something so cute be so devilish? Hmmmm.
Add a dash of
cute + smart+ really really smart + devious + tenacious + obstinate + loud = pig
It also equals piggy parents that will likely give in and cower to their wants and their needs just to shut them up at times.... And yes.... I did it too! But learned early on that had to stop. I was willing to do what's right for the pig no matter the consequence.
There ain't a pig in the world that won't squeal like you are killing them when they don't want to do something. You can't strong arm a pig. Well, you can, but then phone calls from neighbors ensue. LOUD... piercingly LOUD. The only way to get a pig to do what you want is to outsmart the pig. And though one would presume how hard is that? try it.
One of the things about these guys is not only are they food motivated. but they literally live their entire lives thinking about their next meal. I've never seen anything like it. No sooner have I fed Iggy his full days' ration, and he is out rooting around for more. He is trying to figure out how to get to the front yard, so that he can get to the garage door because he knows I stack feed in there. And yes, he can open a 400 lb garage door with only his snout. He can also knock over a full refrigerator. Move generators. And if you aren't paying attention re-arrange the house furniture.
He tests everything. Everyday. For the past 11 years. EVERY DAY.
About 8 years ago it was time for piggy to go on a diet. I mean he was obesely going to die fat.... I had the 'genius' idea that I would make him walk for his food. So every morning before letting him outside, I would walk around the four corners of the property and hide nuggets of food. I did this for a few months. Just enough for him to realize he's got to work for it. Hence expend energy. Lose weight.
8 years later and he still goes to those exact same places I hid food, just in case the game has started up again. It hasn't. He's not deterred.
Pigs are a great pet to have on small plots of land, because they need the time to root around, and as long as you don't care about a few things. Screens come to mind. Fencing is another. Cute little potted plants is another. He's destroyed them all.
He also wants and always strives for top hog status. He's scared away more then I can count farm help. He likes to see who will stand up to him and who won't. The ones that don't, game on. He will chase them off the property. Great for home invasion patrol. Not so great when grandma comes to visit. And if you think an 11 year old geriatric pig can't catch you? ha.
What i'm trying to impart is that I think these guys are just amazing. But you have to be just as amazing to keep up. They aren't going to be like a dog. Once a dog is trained, thats pretty much it. Possibly a refresher course every so often ... With a pig? they will push you to your limits, daily. They will bully you, charm you, annoy you, till they get what they want, unless you set a firm and constant hand... They will try to outsmart you as much as you let them. And its your fault when you have this whiny, biting, mean, annoying pig 1 year after you got the cute, cuddly, funny, loves belly rubs piglet.
Putting a young pig in a paddock and thinking that this is going to be just like it is now in a few years is nonsense. They need stimulation. Constant attention. Human companionship... if you want them to be amazing pets in a few years, then you need to work with them at the size they are manageable, now.
And one healthy tidbit a parrot owner once told me that I utilize with all the animals here:
'Don't spend any more time & attention now on an animal you can't envision doing so for the rest of its life'.
Meaning don't be spoiling this pig at the onset, if you don't plan on dealing with a spoiled pig for the rest of his life. And while this is a simplification of training its a pretty true statement.
Why am I writing this all now? Well... you see.... there is this piglet that has been here for a few days and I'm remembering all the things I went thru with Ignatius. And pretty true to form this little girl is a devil.
But what fun!
Here is something I wrote eons ago about them:
other posts on iggy:
Here is an excellent link for more pig knowledge: