Dealing with aggressive pigs has become a hot topic among pig owners, it only happens a small percentage of time, but with the rise of mini pigs as a pet, we have seen this topic come up in groups a few times over the last few months and find that it's really hard for owners to seek out information.
What causes aggressive pig behavior?
There are a lot of causes and a lot of owners want to blame their breeders which is not accurate. Many people claim that pulling piglets from Mom too early causes it because then the piglets don't learn from their mothers. For many reasons piglets are pulled from their mom ), we try our hardest to leave the piglets with their moms for 4-6 weeks, longer if possible, but as soon as a piglet leaves their piggy herd and go to their new human herd, the human behaviors then become those of the piglet, so this theory is not correct. I have personally rescued 2 and 3 day old piglets, bottle fed them and they turn out to be the sweetest pigs ever, because I give them boundaries and they have to stick to those boundaries or their is consequences. Even if your piglet does not mimmick human behavior, it's cute to see a little piglet being naughty sometimes, we laugh and then the piglet acknowledges that it's "ok" to act in this manner. If the behavior is not stopped and the piglet disciplined immediately, you will have issues with your pigs behavior. When you are dealing with a pig, you are dealing with a highly intelligent animal, the fourth smartest animal on the plant to be precise (Humans, Chimpanzees, Dolphins then Pigs) so they learn quick!
The other thing is pigs can small/sense pheromones, so if you have a guest who is afraid of your pig, they know and unless corrected, they will take advantage of that scared individual. Teach them early!
There is a lot of common sense that needs to go along with owning a pig or any other pet (even parenting for that matter) and some people are not meant to be pet owners, if you are not willing to set boundaries and keep your piglet in those boundaries, you may consider getting a fish.
Why to pigs get aggressive?
They are herd animals, if there is new people in his/her house, they may feel that they will lose their position in the herd. If you watch a group of pigs, they are always making it clear what their position is. And as I mentioned above, it's become a game to them.
My Pig is aggressive, what do I do?
Many times when people contact me about aggression, it has been several months of this behavior, this is the wrong time to get help. You needed to start taking action on day one. This is not to say that it's too late to start correcting your pig, but the road to recovering is going to be a lot longer and a lot harder.
Example, I sold a piglet and 8 months later, the owners contacted me. When the piglet was cute and little they didn't think anything of the pig chasing dogs and roommates, at 9 months, you have a 20 pound pig who is strong and stronger willed. The pig would chase or charge visitors, kids and dogs, then turn around and put himself in a time out in his cage on his own! That is NOT punishment, that is a game. The pig was having fun, thought it was funny and to avoid getting in trouble he puts himself in timeout. (it sounds funny and I even laugh, but the problem is this pig is going to be 40 pounds in a few years and can cause some harm). This is like putting a 2 year old in timeout in their bedroom with all their really cool toys, I don't think so! This is where common sense is needed!
Here are some steps take from a book wrote by Priscilla Valentine to correct your pigs behavior. I am hoping to find a source for this book and put a link up.
1. Consider moving your pig outside, outdoor pigs rarely have this problem. The house does not become dominant and possessive over the house territory. You most likely will lose the intimate relationship with your pig, but most likely your pig will immediately be less aggressive because the house is not longer his/her home.
2. Exercise and Conditioning, Just like people, pigs need physical exercise.
3. She suggests making your pig more "wordly" stating that a confined pig is a bored, spoiled pig more likely to show aggression. He has narrow focus, is self centered and then becomes aggressive. Consider parks, camping, walks, schools, etc....
4. Consider getting another pig. Single pigs tend to act more aggressive and territorial. Your pig focuses just on it's human family and home. A friend will give him/her their own herd. And again, you may lose some of the close intimacy you have had with your pig, but overall your pig will be more enjoyable to be around and less aggressive.
5. Make their timeout area less enjoyable, away from the family and out of the area where he/she is aggressive.
6. Be consistent, pigs crave consistency. Make your boundaries/rules for your pig and stick with them and stick with your consequences, they are more like a 2 year old child than any other animal.
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