BLACK BEARS sybils den
Welcome to Sybil's Den.  This site is meant for information purposes  on raising  pet exotics animals based on my experience.  There are care sheets for black bears, foxes, raccoons, emus, farm animals and domestic animals.   Also please find a very informative message board with a lot of great members.

For some of the species of animals I have or had information on, You will find their photo gallery.

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Main Care sheet

  PIG CARE SHEET        

Who ever said pigs were dirty?? Actually, they are clean. The reason some people think they are dirty is due to the fact pigs like to roll in the mud. but, they like this mainly in the hot summer months. By rolling in the mud, this cools them off. Pigs are extremely sensitive to heat and can suffer from sunburn and heat stroke just like a person can. Wading in water and mud helps keep the pigs from getting over heated, also helps control parasites.sows and boars
But, again, pigs do not like being in the mud 24 hours a day.

If fresh straw is put in their house (which it should be) they keep their house very clean, they do not urinate or
defecate in their house. So straw in their house will last quite a while. In fact, pigs prefer to sleep on clean dry straw at night.

I get upset when I see people putting pigs in dirty muddy houses, Pigs DO NOT like this..

Pigs do root a lot, this is why it is best to keep them by themselves and not mix them with horses, cows or any other animal.   We kept our pigs in a very large pen.

They never really had a mud hole in their pen. I have seen so many mud holes, that some people call pens. I find it disgusting. We use to grow corn next to their pen, when the corn was done, I would let the pigs in the corn patch. I see no reason, why people cannot rotate pig pens, as they do with cows. My thoughts on this is, the more confined and dirty a pig pen (or any animal pen) the higher risk for disease.

I was lucky and never had any disease in my pigs. Dave and Judy (male and female pig) lived to be 10 years old. which is about average. However, one mistake I feel I made, was I fed them too much. After 10 years, they got so fat, the male couldn't get up. I left him go for about two weeks with hope I could get him up, but he had to be put down.. There is one thing that does upset me, and that is seeing any animal in pain or suffering. I will try everything I can to help an animal, but some situations just can't improve.

Pigs like to scratch and be scratched. In some cases, it is an intense need caused by insects and skin disease. But mostly, pigs will rub against fencing, housing and everything else. Pigs like to play, they will run in circles and chase each other, barking and grunting in delight. Also, pigs like toys which can be anything from a old feed bucket, cardboard box or feed sack. A pigs interest span don't last long, and will get tired of the same toy quickly.
Mature Berkshires are medium-size, generally smooth, solid hogs. Berkshires are characteristically black with white white feed and a spot on of white on the face. The original Berkshires were reddish or sandy and sometimes spotted. The head is distinctive with a slightly "dished" face that looks like a pug dog. There ears are erect and the snout is medium in length. Chester are the most durable of the white breeds, favored by meat packers because of their excellent "cutability" They have lop ears. Duroc pigs are red in color, but the red shade could vary from a lighter color of red to darker.Durocs grow the fastest out of all the other breeds.
Hampshire pigs are America's most popular breeds for the pork industry. They are the leanest from all the other breeds.

Hampshires are distinctively marked by a white belt that encircles a black body at the front legs. Smooth in appearance with medium-weight bones and erect ears. Hampshires are alert and active and are good foragers
One of the newest breeds of swine, the American Landrace are descendents of a Danish breed imported in the early 1930's. They are white with large, floppy lop ears that seem to cover their eyes. Landrace pigs have the larges ears of all breeds.
Landrace pigs are noted for having the highest number of pigs per litter, high birth weights, and good milking abilities. Sows (female pig) are docile and easy to manage.
Poland China hogs originated  in neither Poland or China. They actually  originated Butler and Warren Counties Ohio. This breed of pig is the result of several crossings.
These Pigs are usually black but many are spotted with white.

Originating in or around Yorkshire county, England, some 200 years ago, the Yorkshire breed was first called the Large Whites. Although white is still the predominant color, Yorkshires occasionally have black spots in the skin..
The longest of all breeds, Yorkshires have small erect ears and short snouts. Sows of this breed  raise large litters.
10 Percent of all hogs are purebred. These are called "seed stock". The remaining 90 percent are the product of a crossbreeding between a female of one breed and a male of another breed. The Hereford hog has white marking on a red body similar to Hereford Cattle. Several breeds already discussed, included the Duroc, Chester White, and the Poland China, were used in developing the Hereford breed.
The Tamworth is one of the oldest of all hog breeds with purebreds dating back 150 years or more.
A number of inbred lines have been developed from crosses of 2 or more breeds. These inbreeds have their own registration society but are not yet recognized as purebreds.
Pig Sounds
Pigs will make several different type sounds. The Shrieking squeal, is generally if they are in fear..
A bark or woof is when a pig is hungry.. The grunt noise, is a satisfied and happy pig.
Pigs will respond to your voice.
Housing Pigs

Good sanitation and management are needed for pigs.  This will help lessen any chance of disease.
A piglet will be able to squeeze through small openings, a 200lb pig can root under fences and break down their house. Pigs are very strong animals at maturity.

When building their house, they must be made of a heavy durable material. 
Feeding and Nutrition

Grains, most commonly corn, are the chief source of carbohydrates for calories and energy in pig rations. Other grains, such as barley, wheat and graining sorghum, can be used. A mixture of grains is generally preferred by most pigs. Although corn is a good food source for pigs.

Grains alone, even expensive wheat varieties are deficient in needed protein, vitamins and minerals.    A 14 to 15 percent protein level is adequate for the entire growing period.

Milk and dairy products such as whey, cottage cheese, yogurt and skim mild powder. Feeding hogs milk also seems to aid in the control of internal parasites.. Pigs seem to really like milk.

We use to supplement our pigs feed with ice cream and outdated bread. But, they still should be fed feed some type of grain.
How to tell how much a pig weighs

Wrap a measuring tape (sewing type measure tape) just behind the front legs to  the "heart girth" measurement. Then measure the pigs length down the backbone from ears to tail.

YOUR BASIC CALCULATION IS:    Heart Girth  X  Heart Girth  X  Length (divide by 400)

some people add 7 extra pounds if the pig weighs less than 150 pounds .
by this calculation to get a more accurate weight.

Sounds strange, but it will give you weight in pounds.
This calculation is accurate within 3 percentage points of the pigs actual weight.

Age of Sexually Mature Pigs

A Boar is sexually mature at 7 to 8 months and is considered fully mature by his first birthday. Full grown boars can weigh as 1000 lbs.. Boars are large and can be dangerous.. some people remove their tusks every 6 months or so.. Boars will eat about 4 to 6 pounds of 14 percent feed.

Young female breeding stock up until their second pregnancy are referred to as gilts. Many young females show their first signs of estrus or heat by 9 months of age.. However, stress of confinement or reproductive problems may delay this onset.. Some gilts may ovulate (produce eggs) but will not show heat after the first estrus, the female will come into heat every every 18 to 24 days. The heat period last 2 to three days. At this time, her vulva (external sex organs) will be swollen and reddish, she may have a discharge and might be restless, pacing and barking. At this period, the female is willing to be bred by the boar.
Gestation and Delivery

Pigs pregnancy (gestation) last for 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days or an average of 114 days.
Labor could last anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours with about 15 minutes  or more between birthing.   The afterbirth, tissues from the placenta which nourished the piglets during pregnancy, is delivered after all the babies have arrived. It should be removed and disposed of.
Prolonged labor is associated with overweight mothers, genetic problems and babies caught  in the birth canal.  It is recommended to be available at the time of delivery to ensure there are no complications.. Piglets are born wet and covered by a thin membrane. Most will dry quickly, especially in warm weather.  It is important that the piglet get the mothers colostrum for the first three days.

The teats closes to the mother's head give the most milk, and are usually claimed by the larges, most aggressive piglets. The runts and weaklings are often left with a hind teat. Supplemental bottle feeding could help the runts.

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