Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Potbellied Pigs

Potbellied pigs have been domesticated for over 10,000 years. Most are black and wrinkled with sneered faces and small ears. The adults grow to about 200 pounds. Some potbelly pigs have white markings on them, less wrinkled faces and longer noses. The difference is in the breed of the pig.

Potbelly pigs are sway-backed with short legs and a huge tummy. They are available in solid black, solid white, black and white, or a silver color. Their bristles are course and some have a mohawk-type styling that runs from the head to the back of the neck. These bristles can stand straight upright if the pig is upset.

The pigs have hooves that are basically two main toes and two dew claws. Potbelly pigs also grow tusks, particularly males, even if they’ve been neutered. Females also grow tusks but they remain small. They will become full grown between two and three years old.

Boars are fertile at a mere 8 weeks old and females are sexually mature at about 4 to 5 months old. They will mate with regular barnyard hogs or wild boar. Most potbelly pigs, if healthy, live to be 15 or 20 years old. Although the pigs are about the size of some dogs, they can’t maneuver as well and often have trouble climbing steps or getting in and out of vehicles.

Most experts recommend female pigs be spayed and male pigs be neutered. If not, females will become moody and loud. Males can become very aggressive and release a strong, unpleasant odor. Other medical concerns include yearly vaccinations, boosters, and annual worming. Some vets will not treat potbelly pigs, so call around in advance to find a vet.

Annually, potbelly pigs need to have husks and hooves trimmed. Vets generally take care of this type of maintenance but hooves can be done at home. Although pigs don’t get fleas they get plenty of ticks, unless treated on a regular basis.

Despite what many people think of pigs, they actually have no odor, unless it’s a male that has not been neutered. They are lazy, though, and require plenty of walking and exercise to keep them healthy. Prone to be fat in the belly area anyway, potbelly pigs that don’t exercise enough can become obese. Be sure to give them plenty of grass, fruits, vegetables and greens.

Although most potbelly pigs are extremely intelligent, they get easily bored, and can do quite a lot of damage if not supervised or caged when alone. More than one owner of a potbelly pig has come home to chewed furniture, broken dishes, and worse.

Many potbelly pigs seem happiest outside but can easily wipe out an entire garden in no time. Pigs naturally root and your garden looks like the perfect place to them. Fix a lot for the pigs, complete with small house, to get out of the sun, and throw in a playmate. It’s been well documented that most potbelly pigs prefer a friend, male or female. Siblings make the best pairs, though, since they seem to get along well and ease each other’s loneliness.

Pigs are omnivores and eat fruit, grains, meat, vegetables, weeds, even sweets. Pig feed is available at most feed mill stores, some pet food stores, and online as well. Pigs, like dogs and cats, can be trained to do some things. Offer food as the reward and you’ll be surprised at how much you can teach your pet pig. Potbelly pigs get along okay with cats, usually, but it’s not a good idea to leave dogs and pigs alone together.

Check zoning laws in your town to be sure you can have a potbelly pig in your neighborhood. Some city ordinances prevent the keeping of pigs in the city limits, potbelly or otherwise. Pigs make great pets for some people; you might be one of them. Find a reputable breeder and speak more with him about the pigs before making a purchase.

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