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New pig

Warthogs, razorbacks, Potbellies, Bearded pigs, Any breed or species of Pigs, hogs, boars

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BlueBaby1023
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Re: New pig

Postby BlueBaby1023 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:31 pm

the_unstable wrote:I had the same issues - finding lots of information on inserting but not removal. I am worried about tugging at the ear tag too much since it's already so irritated and I'm not convinced it will budge that easily. We have some wire cutters, but they weren't able to leave even a dent in the ear tag. It's some seriously tough metal. At this point, I'm not sure the vet will be able to get it out, either.


That's generally because they aren't really meant to be removed... :lol:

Here's a bit of information since that does look like a sheep tag (it's a goat forum but goats can get Scrappie as well so they're tagged with the same system): http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/livestock-forums/goats/363680-scrappie-ear-tags.html

I honestly wouldn't wait, cutting it out will just reirritate it anyways, so it's probably best to only have it heal once. They mentioned on that link that one side of the metal tag should be thinner (the back if it was put in correctly), so it will be easier to use wire cutters on it. You might want stronger ones if the metal is really tough, but it is definitely possible to cut them to get them off. Like I said though, you will probably want two people for it to keep her still.
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the_unstable
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Re: New pig

Postby the_unstable » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:29 pm

They really shouldn't be inserted IMO...ragged, nasty, terrible quality metal for something that one must live with their whole life. I can't wait to get this thing taken out of her ear.

Reading the link you provided, it does seem one poster is talking about the type of ear tag my girl has, the kind that wraps around the ear with numbers on it. I don't see how they can see it's easy to remove...that's some really thick metal. I don't see how some wire cutters could get through it. I'll have to try out some different wire cutters we have to see if it works. I want this tag OUT. Her ear looks like it's very irritated and on it's way to infection.

Thanks for doing all this searching around, I do appreciate it :)

Here's some other pictures of her:
Laying in my lap enjoying a belly rub (such a ham, pun intended) -
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Grazing in the lawn -
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Napping in the litter box...
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And here she's saying "What, you thought I'd actually pee in here?" As you might have guessed, litter training isn't going so well. We're working on limiting her space and trying to find a different litter box (bigger). We also have puppy pads to prevent messes all over the floor in the meantime.
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BlueBaby1023
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Re: New pig

Postby BlueBaby1023 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:58 pm

They can definitely get infected, especially if the ear is not sanitized before insertion. Unfortunately, like I said, most of the time industries don't use tags on pigs because pigs are really good at chewing tags out of each others ears (also why they dock tails), which can lead to infections, torn ears, etc.

Scrappie tags are meant to be permanent because Scrappie is the Ovine (sheep, goats) form of the prion that causes Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (aka Mad Cow Disease), which can mutate between cattle and sheep, as well as people. Most developed nations are on their way to being certified Scrappie free, thus negating the need for Scrappie tags, but the US isn't quite there yet (maybe another ten years or so). With such a serious disease with human health concerns, it's risks far outweigh the risk of a torn ear from an ear tag. But, they really aren't meant for pigs, and whoever put the tag in clearly didn't really know what they are doing.

Not a problem, I like helping if I can! Besides, she's such a cutey. :lol:
4 Fancy Rats
2 American Guinea Pigs
1 Holland Lop Rabbit
1 Rex Rabbit
2 Ferrets
1 Lutino Cockatiel
5 Mixed Breed Cats
1 PitxLab
1 Great Pyr
1 Greyhound
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Ash
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Re: New pig

Postby Ash » Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:20 pm

Aaw. I love that last picture where she's looking at you! I'm sure it's a pain, but it is very cute that she uses her litterbox for a bed. I'm excited to see what she'll look like when she's grown up, and see what size she winds up being. I've never really been all that interested in piggies, but your little gal is softening my heart, lol. I wish they always looked like piglets.
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broski1984
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Re: New pig

Postby broski1984 » Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:46 pm

Many flockswaps and auctions will require all pigs be tagged. A lot of the auctions don't do them properly, making the wound bigger or the tags fall out.

What's the tag like on both ends? Is it a little "clip" that fits inside a hole? If so, they're easy to remove but she'll probably scream (which piglets do most the time, as I'm sure you already know!) and it may hurt her. Gently squeezing while "sliding" it back will usually make it release, and then you can pull it off.

If that doesn't work, go get a pair of small wire cutters or horse hoof nippers. The metal is usually very soft, and you can slide the tool right where the "clip" is (where it's thinnest), and usually break the metal and open it up. It's going to cause a lot of squealing and you may want someone to help you hold her, but one or the other should work. Give her a treat after, clean the wound, and she'll forget all about it.

It's best to do it now, before she gets big. You'll have a very hard time then. When we get baby pigs I always remove the tags; too many of them get caught on fencing/cages and rip it out. I believe it's technically illegal, though.


I'd also disagree that it is a sheep tag. Although some people use metal scrapie tags, it isn't common; the pig tags are metal and shaped like that, so it is more likely it is just a pig tag. Shame, because metal goat/sheep tags are usually flimsy and easily removed. Industries don't often tag pigs (and thus they're frequently removed), but like I said - auctions and flockswaps often require them.

A few years back, I got sh** from someone for not tagging piglets at a flockswap. They're getting strict.

As for her size, you can expect somewhere between 50-150 pounds, depending on how much you feed her and her genetics. A pig should be very "solid"; not squishy at all, although our castrated males usually develop some paunch anyway. Extra chins and a rounded stomach are normal, but "rolls" aren't.

She should be solid, but shaped like a brick or a potato. No indents, no visible hips, no visible ribs. It can be challenging balancing their weight. Obesity should be avoided at ALL costs, as it can cause severe joint, heart, and skin problems - and it's very hard to make them lose weight.

Most of our sows are between 50-100 pounds, but we've had a few that got bigger. They're smaller than dogs of the same size though, as they're very, very solid. My mother lives with a castrated male pig - and this pig sleeps in her bed - and he's about 110lb. Despite that, he's only about the size of a basset hound.

As for spaying her, most vets won't do it on animals over a year old due to having to cut through too much fat, at least in my experience - unless it is an emergency, of course. Some gilts/sows get nippy when in heat, and obviously they can't get uteran/ovarian cancer or cysts if they're spayed, but they don't smell or stop being house trained, so it is ultimately your call. Make sure the vet you go to knows how to anesthetize a potbelly pig; they can be challenging.
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Re: New pig

Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:22 pm

Great. Glad someone with more experience showed up :)

I'd say all of our sows got moody when in heat. It's not unbearable though just annoying. This one was funny though as she fell in love with the male llama in the zoo guess she could tell he was the only unnuetered male there. She was a total hussy with him and he just ignored her of course. We had to separate them when the fair started to avoid embarrassing families, lol.
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the_unstable
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Re: New pig

Postby the_unstable » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:32 am

Awesome, thank you everyone for so much helpful information! I have been giving her vegetables with her nightly meal. I can feel her ribs, but I cannot see them. I do worry I am not giving her enough. She gets about 1 and 3/4 cup of pellets total each day and some unmeasured amount of fresh vegetables (less than 1/4 cup packed in, probably). Her vet appointment is this afternoon, so fingers crossed that they can take the tag out. I will talk to the vet about spaying, but based what I saw online, it should be after her first heat cycle, which I assume hasn't happened. I do intend to have her spayed.

On another note, she used the litter box for the first time last night. I've also noticed that her hair has gotten so much thicker since I brought her. That first picture of the last bunch I uploaded makes her look so "bald". The others, you can see how much it's grown in.
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broski1984
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Re: New pig

Postby broski1984 » Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:58 pm

It's normal to be able to feel them, but not see them - that's how it is with most animals. Your vet can likely give you a better idea of her ideal weight, though.

It's also normal for their hair to thin at times; they shed (sometimes going almost completely bald) about once a year, and then it thickens back up. It seems not all pigs do this, as our farm hogs never have and some of our potbellied pigs don't either - but we've had four that do. Just giving you a heads up, so you don't worry if she does go bald.

Vegetables, fruits, and most anything people eat are fine treats for her. Avoid fatty foods, sugary treats and anything else people shouldn't eat much of, as well as pork obviously. Our pigs enjoy bread, fruits, vegetables, cereal, etc.

They also like some things you can't/won't eat, like carrot tops, banana peels, eggshells and gristle from meat, but those are probably not treats you want to give a house pig. In general though, it's hard making them sick; we even have one pig that will beg for beer.


Hope you enjoy her, they're great little pets.
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broski1984
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Re: New pig

Postby broski1984 » Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:58 pm

Oh, a suggestion;
If you want to walk her on a lead, do it NOW. Train her to a harness NOW and be consistent, else you'll never get one on her when she's older.
Trefoil
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Re: New pig

Postby Trefoil » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:51 pm

broski- any tips on housebreaking?
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the_unstable
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Re: New pig

Postby the_unstable » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:38 pm

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.
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broski1984
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Re: New pig

Postby broski1984 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:19 pm

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.
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the_unstable
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Re: New pig

Postby the_unstable » Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:23 am

Thanks again broski. Housebreaking is a work in progress. I think it's partially my fault as I let her roam the house more than I should.

The suggestion of bolt cutters inspired me to give it another try. Earlier this evening I borrowed my father's bolt cutters as well as a few pairs of tin snips. My boyfriend and I gave her some food and started to use the bolt cutters, but we were both nervous about cutting her ear. We tried the tin snips first and were surprised that it cut through the metal rather easily. We cut along the very bottom of the loop, as far from the ear as possible. She didn't have to be restrained for that, and she didn't snort or squeal.

After the pieces were separated, we tried to separate them to get them out of her ear, but were not able to. We ended up giving her more food, pushing the ear tag on the button side, and cutting along the back right next to the ear. She snorted a bit, but didn't quite squeal and definitely didn't scream. NOTHING like the vets office trip.

I am glad to believe that he wasn't causing her serious pain, but considering we actually successfully cut the ear tag without her freaking out, I still think he could have done things differently. It should not have taken but a moment to realize that the clippers he was using would not be able to cut through the metal. We were surprised the tin snips were able to do so. The piece going through the ear was harder to cut than the bottom of the loop of the tag. So, for anyone who has this sort of ear tag in an animal and wishes to remove it, tin snips will do the trick. I am relieved that we removed it. It was obviously bothering her as she was rubbing it on the walls and other objects and frequently flicking her ear around in irritation.

We bought a new harness today, but haven't put it her on yet. I figure we can save that stressful adventure for tomorrow.

Here is a picture of the hole from the ear tag. She was moving about a lot, so it was difficult to get a decent shot. The green next to her ear is a spinach leaf.
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BlueBaby1023
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Re: New pig

Postby BlueBaby1023 » Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:37 pm

Glad you finally got the tag out of her ear. :) Hopefully that heals up nicely! Broski is right though, pigs squeal a lot, even when nothing is hurting them. Here at the university, if you go into the pig unit and have to do anything with the piglets, you want some seriously soundproof earplugs. :lol:

Broski: I wasn't aware that auctions required pigs to be ear tagged. Kinda silly considering that the majority of the pig industry doesn't use them for the tearing, ripping, chewing, etc. problems that pigs can have. I've never seen any pig tags other than some plastic ones, so that's why I said it looked like a sheep tag to me. If you noticed, I thought it was plastic at first because I couldn't tell that it was metal in the first few pictures. :lol: Sorry that I was mistaken, it's kinda hard to tell details from a few images on my computer.
4 Fancy Rats
2 American Guinea Pigs
1 Holland Lop Rabbit
1 Rex Rabbit
2 Ferrets
1 Lutino Cockatiel
5 Mixed Breed Cats
1 PitxLab
1 Great Pyr
1 Greyhound
2 Great PyrxAnatolian Shepherds
2 Red Foxes
5 Goats
~100 chickens, ducks, and turkeys
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Ash
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Re: New pig

Postby Ash » Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:39 pm

That's great you were able to get it out! I'm sure her ear feels so much better now, and hopefully it'll heal up just fine. :)

Does she have a name yet? Or still undecided? :P
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