Trefoil wrote:broski- any tips on housebreaking?
In general, ours have usually picked a spot and gone there repeatedly and then we've put puppy pads/a litter box there. With the exception of one, all of ours have "gotten" that and the mothers will begin to train them to the same spot before they even are weaned.
As for actually getting them to go outside, most aren't very consistent on asking to go out, but you can work with them. Treats and praise when they go outside, treats and praise when they ask to go outside.
For trouble makers, who won't go where they're supposed to, changing out bedding, putting blankets everywhere else, putting their droppings in the box, etc. can work - but most pigs are pretty inclined to being clean, and unless the animal is intact (intact males are much harder to house break, but they stink anyway) or particularly slow, they generally will get it without much fuss.
the_unstable wrote:Thank you Broski! Excellent information! I do need to get back to putting that harness on her again. We took her out on it one day over the weekend and she was pretty stressed and ended up backing out of the harness. I am going to get her a different type of harness.
She's using the litter box more now, and making less mistakes. Around the house, she's started to stick to pretty much just one spot to go, and we keep a pee pad there, so it's been making things easier.
Her vet appointment was yesterday and that was honestly the worst vet appointment I've ever been to. The vet came in with some little pathetic clippers and my boyfriend held her while the vet tried to cut it. She just kept screaming, in a way I didn't know they could - at the top of her lungs, at a pitch that hurts your ears. Just screaming and screaming. And he kept trying to cut it. I figured it obvious after not that long that it wasn't even making a dent...My boyfriend kept saying "okay" and I was finally like "I don't think it's going to work". Shortly after that, he gave up.
It was just awful. Her ear was bleeding a bit after that, though not dripping. I'm not sure how much pain she actually endured, but she was definitely very, very freaked out. It was just terrible. I'm not really sure how I feel about the vet after that...The vet said he's going to have to try to use a different tool to remove it under anesthesia when I take her to have her spayed, so she'll have to have the tag for the next couple of months. I am worried that he still won't be able to remove it, and that he may have to cut her ear to get it out.
Just to say, don't entirely blame the vet for her screaming. Pigs have a lot
of natural defenses, ranging from thick skin to sharp teeth, but one of their most potent offensive moves is to scream like they're being murdered in an effort to scare away whatever may have them. So, while they'll do that when they're being hurt (mind, it's pretty hard to seriously hurt a pig) - they'll also do it whenever anything medical is happening, when they're getting their hooves trimmed, when they're getting a harness on, when they're being picked up, etc.
Some stop for some of those behaviors (your girl sounds like she doesn't mind being held anymore, which isn't all that uncommon), others don't. If it scares them at all, they'll scream, and they're not like dogs (or to a lesser extent, horses/goats/sheep/etc) where you can train them to just deal with things they don't like. Some vets can "sugar coat" things a bit better (give them feed while they work, usually) but most will just work quickly to get whatever done or ignore it.
With the harness, it's best to leave it on for a set amount of time, and just let them "struggle with it". Then, they don't think they can scream and have it taken off. Obviously, remove it if she looks seriously stressed, but otherwise - just let her throw her tempertantrum. They're very hard headed animals, so it may take her a while to get used to it.
As for the eartag, it may just have to stay in. Wire/bolt cutters could likely remove it, but barring that, once it heals, it's often easier just leaving it. We have one sow who still has hers, and it's just never been worth the hassle of removing it now that it isn't bloody.