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A few questions

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lisa4
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A few questions

Postby lisa4 » Sun Jun 22, 2008 10:25 am

Hello (new here) and thank you ahead of time to anyone who might be able to offer some advice regarding my pig Rose. My apologies, too, for the long post.

Rose is a year old on July 12. I believe she is a Yorkshire. She is a very sweet and gentle pig. She came to us last October after she and two brothers escaped from a farm across town. She lived in the woods by herself for 6 weeks (we figured this out after we finally found her original owners) until I finally caught her during a rainstorm (it took me 2 weeks to finally get close enough). She had pneumonia for which I took her to the vet and treated her for. She lived with us inside the house until January when she got too big and started knocking over things like the refridgerator. Her barn out back is about 16X12 and has a window I can put a screen in to keep it nice and airy and cool on these warm days. She also has an electric fence pasture of about 1/4 acre with apple trees and pine trees and plenty of grass.

My problem with her lately is that 1) I think she's getting too big and 2) she seems a bit depressed. We used to take her on walks every day but we had a run in with a neighbor who doesn't want her on his property so we don't dare chance the encounter again as he threatened to shoot her. We try to get out and spend time with her as much as possible but my dog Hank (who was her best friend in the house) got shocked by her electric fence and won't go anywhere near it even when I assure him it's off. She spends a lot of each day laying under the apple tree or sitting in her mud hole. I did put my garden alongside her pasture this year so I could talk to her when I'm out there.

***so sorry for the long backstory***

Anyway! I am thinking she needs company to stay with her. Should I get another pig? How would I go about introducing a new pig and will she like it? If I get a piglet, could she hurt it? If I did the heartxheartxlength calculations right, she is somewhere around 600 pounds. Is there another animal I could try as a friend?

Also, is 600 pounds too big for a pig her age? I work at a restaurant and feed her mainly vegetable soup, tomatoes and cheese bread (tomatoes and broccoli are the only vegetables she seems to like) that I can take home every night. I also give her an egg and a children's vitamin daily and whenever possible watermelon and strawberries (which she loves). We used to give her candy canes because she loved them but stopped a month or so ago because of her weight. I do mix about a half a cup of pig grain in with her food but can't do much more than that because she doesn't like it and won't eat.

Also (sorry) - my state doesn't have a rabies vaccine for pigs (my vet told me this). Are there other vaccines I should be getting her that my vet doesn't know about? She was wormed when I took her in for pneumonia.

I thank you for your patience with my rambling and my ignorance. This is my first experience with pigs and no one seems to know much around here about pigs other than ones they've raised to eat (which will never happen to Rose).
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Lasergrl
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Postby Lasergrl » Sun Jun 22, 2008 2:50 pm

well 600 pounds seems about right for a york sow. They are a lean breed so they shouldnt have any lard belly or jowls. A picture would help id her body score. As pigs get older they certainly dont do much of what they do as piglets. You may take this as being depressed, or perhaps she is bored. You can get her a friend. I have 5 pigs, 3 are pets, two are for meat. I have never had any fighting while introducing new pigs. They just seem to ignore each other. My pigs do not interact much together at all. They dont play together, or even hang out together unless sleeping. I dont think they would care much if they were alone. They do love human interaction and dog interaction much more.

If I were you I would get a companion pig. I am sure that even if they ignore each other, it is still some sort of mental stimulation, and some pigs do genuinly enjoy pig company. You can start with a piglet, but keep them seperated untill the new one is at least 30 pounds, so it doesnt get trampled and can fight for food. You can bond with it while it is smaller then that to have a easier managed pig. I recommend a gilt or a barrow, but not a boar with intentions of castrating him later. If you get a boar, even a tiny piglet can breed a big sow. If you dont agree with selling piglets for meat you will never be able to place them.
lisa4
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Location: Maine

Postby lisa4 » Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:27 am

Thank you, lasergrl, for this advice. I feel a lot better both about Rose's size and "depression" and about getting a new pig. Rose is not aggressive by nature so I can't see her suddenly becoming nasty because of a new pig.

She does have a bit of a jowl and quite a lot of sag to her rear. In re-reading the pig section on this site, I'm not sure if she's a York or not because she has fairly large ears and a long snout. I am cutting back on her bread though and adding more veggies.

I'll start calling around for piglets. The worst that could happen would be that I'd have to give it back. And yes, I'm going with a female (what's the difference between a gilt and barrow?). It's not that I don't agree with people selling piglets for meat (it's far better home-raising them, imo, than keeping them in factory farms), it's just that once I saw the piglets, I know I'd become attached and end up trying to feed 15 pigs for life, which would be impossible for me.

Have you ever had an older pig become aggressive? I've had quite a few people tell me that all pigs get mean when they get older. I've seen no displays of this at all so don't quite believe it.

So, thanks again - your help is much appreciated.
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Lasergrl
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Postby Lasergrl » Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:28 am

no, pigs do not become aggressive, like any other animal that is domesticated. Most people hand feed them to tame them, wich leads to getting bit. This is what most people are describing. We all know how they are about food, and if they expect food when you reach out they end up thinking your hand is food.
oh, and a gilt is a young female, a barrow is a neutered boy.

If your pig has floppy ears she is probably just a production cross. Some call this a blue butt, even if they dont have the blue over the rump. They are usually some mix of yorkshire and hampshire.
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ruscithil
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Postby ruscithil » Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:51 am

In Germany, pigs have to have pig company by law. They are social animals and obviously depend on a companion of their own species.

Concerning aggression, I heard that hand-raised pigs treat you as one of their own, but as they are huge and heavy, a friendly knock with their head might send you flying through the pen.

Our miniature pigs always wanted to bite me when I smelt of fox. But this is a natural reaction, of course.
And one of the females would try and mount everything and everybody when she was in heat. Her being a miniature pig, this wasn't such a big problem, however, it made cleaning their pen very difficult. With a larger pig, there might be more severe problems, but I suspect that there is always the option of having a sow spayed.

Other than that, there never was any aggression.
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Postby BB » Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:52 am

Sophia the pig has calmed down a lot when she got past her first birthday, before she was very hard headed (still is, but in a mellower way..) She is on her own too but her paddock boarders with the pens where I keep the geese, ducks and the emu, I always hear her talking to them. The place I've got her from has a buffalo with their pig and they really got a love/hate relationship going on.
I guess it doesn't matter what animal you gonna get as companion for your pig as long as she has got someone.
Sophia would be jealous hearing of the diet your pig is getting... :lol:

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