We have decided to add a monthly blog addressing the top 10 searched terms/phrases for the website. This will obviously vary from month to month, but some are searched month after month and to be sure everyone's questions are being addressed, we thought it would be helpful to post a monthly blog discussing these terms and phrases. If there is information that you need or want, please let us know if it isnt already addressed on the website and we can build a page full of as much information as we can find about any particular subject. We add content to the website almost daily, so if you do not see it now, it may be added tomorrow.
Number 1 searched term: Pig penis. seriously? LOL. Well a picture is worth 1,000 words. You can learn more about pig anatomy by clicking here. Yes a pigs penis is shaped like a corkscrew. It is a sight that cannot be UNSEEN once seen.
Number 2 most searched term: Pig attacks dog.
This search is more serious. Intact pigs tend to be more rambunctious than a more mature of altered pig. A pig that is aggressively or even playfully trying to "attack" a dog is going to be a problem. This is NOT a safe situation. Family dogs, dogs that have grown up with children crawling around on their back, dogs that are normally very chill and laid back, small dogs, big dogs, lap dogs and really ANY dog has the ability to severely injure or KILL a pig. Especially a piglet. Please do NOT leave a pig and dog alone unsupervised. It's dangerous to have them together while you are standing there in some cases, it only takes a couple of seconds to change your pigs life forever. Please remember that. Dogs are predators and pigs are prey aninals. Click here to read more about the dangers of pigs and dogs.
Number 3 most searched term: Full grown chipmunk pig.
This is an easy one. A "chipmunk" pig is a pig that has likely been crossbred with a feral pig which is where they get the "chipmunk" stripes. There is no breed of pig called chipmunk. Feral pigs are small pigs normally and the stripes do not remain as they mature into adult pigs. But, again, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a feral cross piglet and the same pig as an adult pictured below.
Number 4 most searched term: My pig will not sleep in its new house.
Pigs are routine animals and naturally untrusting. New houses or crates or rooms will need time to be explored before your pig will likely utilize them. If you have a new house for your pig, be sure your pig is able to get into the house without having to duck down or kneel. Make sure your pig doesnt have to take big steps to get inside if it is off the ground, as this may literally be preventing your pig from being able to get inside. If the new house isn't on stable ground, your pig will likely not go inside. Structures need to be stable without any kind of rocking. Pigs like stability.
If there is a house outside your pig refuses to go in to and has been in there before and suddenly will not go inside, check the house. Be sure there are no spiders that may have bitten your pig. Be sure straw/hay or whatever you're using inside for insulation isn't full of mold or mildew. Be sure the flooring isnt slippery or contanimated with anything that is causing your pig to slip when trying to enter the house. Be sure to routinely check the outside structure for signs of other animals getting inside. There have been times when pigs refuse to go in outside structures because other animals have defectaed or urinated inside their bedding. (and other similar things)
Number 5 most searched term: Why does my pigs skin turn red?
Well, there are multiple answers to that question. 1st, is your pig itchy? Does your pig have a fever or any skin lesions? Is your pig eating, drinking, peeing and pooping ok? These are the very basic questions that need to be answered to narrpw that down to something more manageable. Red skin can be something as simple as sunburn (because pigs do tend to love to sunbathe) or something more serious like a skin infection or even parasites/mites.
If your pig doesn't normally have red skin and the skin turns red in color, there is an issue and that needs to be addressed. It doesn't mean it will cost you 500.00 in vet bills, but a vet intervening may very well save your pigs life. If the questions are all in line and your pig is eating, drinking and eliminating waste ok, then it may be parasite control that needs to be done to clear up inflammed or red skin. But this is addressed on a case by case basis. If there is a fever, this normally means there is an infection or at least a systemic response which indicates your vet will need to be contacted. Everything is not an easy fix and there are many issues we cannot help you with because a pig NEEDS to be seen by a licensed professional and treated with specific medications/treatments. Click here to read about common illnesses pigs may have or contract. Some of these illnesses/diseases do affect the skin, however, red skin typically indicates swelling and/or possible infection which could potentially be a host of things. Again, your vet would be the number one person that should be advising you with regards to your pigs health, but there are some non life threatening issues that can easily be addresssed.
Number 6 most searched term: Why does my pig not eat and just lay there?
A pig that isn't eating is most likely a sick pig. It is possible that a pig is not hungry, but to be completely honest, that is rare. If a pig has gorged on food, such as another pets food or the trash, your pig may have a belly ache and skip a meal, but a pig that is not eating is more of an emergency in my opinion. I would check for a fever and call your vet. To help you better determine what may be wrong, we have a health sheet that you can literally fill out to help you when you call you vet with answers to questions your veterinarian may ask versus you not having complete information. This form can be downladed and printed off as many times as you'd like. It is simply a form to help you gather information so you can look for common factors seen in certain diseases or to help you answer your vets questions. You can find that form by clicking here.
Number 7 most searched term: What causes black spots on my pigs body?
GREAT question! Pigs can develop freckle like spots that are nothgin to be concerned about. HOWEVER, pigs can also develop spots that grow and become asymetrical which need to be addressed. As we stated earlier, pigs tend to like to lay in the sun, we know the sun has powerful UV rays which can lead to skin cancer and your pig is no exception to that. White pigs are more susceptible, but ANY color pig can develop melanoma which will need to be removed and treated. It is highly treatable and often curable when treated in early stages. Cutaneous melonoma primarily appear on the skin and may develop metastases to lymphatic tissues and organs. This is a process you won't actually see on the surface, so any unusual spots with irregular borders need to be marked with a pen or marker (to detect growth or spreading) and maybe a phone call to your vet to make them aware and see if they feel like it is anything that needs to be addressed ASAP. They may have you monitor the skin for several weeks before they intervene or they may make an appointment for you sooner than later. These types of skin cancers can be genetic in nature, so be sure to ask about any issues with this when obtaining your pig. Some people will be up front and honest while others will not, so just know that it is a possibility. Not all cancers have large tumors on the surface, some grow rather quickly while others are doing damage internally that you aren't even aware of. Treat unusual lesions or spots as you would your child. If you would take your child to the doctor based on something you see, you should be doing the same for your pig. Click here to read more about skin issues and pigs.
Number 8 most searched term: How much should a ** week old pig weigh? (Multiple searches for various ages)
Each pig will grow at their own rate. Some pigs who have suffered from disadvantages such as the "runt" may be smaller than their siblings from the same litter. However, my vet told me that most pigs should grow at a rate of 1 pound per week for the first year. (which blows the 20 pound micro mini teacup pig myth out of the water) Even runts normally catch up to their siblings once able to eat a healthy portion of food over a period of time. Pigs will absolutely fight for the best milk producing teat and the stronger bigger pig normally has been feed with the best producing teat while the others fight for the less producing ones. Pigs have growth spurts, some have multiple spurts when they will grow substantially taller and longer over a short period of time. Please do not judge a pig based soley on weight though, pigs should be judged on their overall body score. The charts that determine healthy versus unhealthy or what a pig "should" look like aren't meant for piglets. Piglets NEED food to grow at a nice steady rate and develop a strong immunity and great bone structure. Restricting food at this stage can cause serious issues in the long run. Stunting the growth will eventually kill a pig. Pigs who are super tiny and a year old most likely will never see their 5th birthday and as we all know, healthy pigs that have been spayed/neutered and properly cared for can live more than 20 years, so a pig passing away at 3 years old is NOT normal. You can click here to read more about nutrition and pigs. If you want to see realistic sizes of mature or growing pigs, we have a page dedicated to that as well that you can see by clicking here.
Number 9 most searched term: Can mini pigs be outside during the winter?
Of course they can. A lot of pigs live outside full time. When given the appropriate accomodations, pigs can definitely live outside or spend most of their day outside. They still need outdoor time during the winter months. If you do not have appropriate outside accomodations, you can allow your pig to spend short amounts of time outside. Do NOT leave your pig outside in the cold with no way to warm up and no structure to block the wind. Pigs can get frostbite, pigs can get cold, pigs can get illnesses that derived from being outside in the cold temperatures. Start by having a good structure that is free from drafts with something on the inside acting as an insulator like straw or hay. Be sure that your pig is able to easily get access to this space by building a ramp or some kind of access that larger pigs can use. It is best to have houses off the ground or on a concrete slab for sturdiness. Pigs usually won't go into a structure that shakes. They do not typically like spaces they havent had a chance to explore. If you are using hay, pigs will eat hay (which is fine) but you will need ot be sure the hay isnt rotting away potentially poisoning your pig when they are eating it. Be sure to check the house often as stated above for signs that other animals may be entering, sleeping or using that space. Heat lamps can be safely used in large spaces, but using a heat lamp in plastic houses or when the space is limited can burn your pig or cause fire. There are heating/cooling systems that can be installed to provide your pig with heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. I purchased one from Climate Right Air which is a pet house heating/cooling unit. It was easily installed and sits outside of my pigs house like my household condensor unit with duct work from the unit to the outside of the house and vents on the inside. The unit I purchased was around 600.00, it wasn't the cheapest nor the most expensive, but middle of the line. It has the capacity to heat/cool up to 400 square feet which is plenty for the structure built for my pig and her outside time. Even without this type of unit, there are plenty of ways to winterize the space for your pig. Click here to read more about winter time issues and pigs including ideas on how to create a warm space for your pig.
Number 10 most searched term: Can mini pigs eat....(several different substabces/items searched)?
Pigs can pretty much eat anything humans can eat. Not everything is ideal or good for them just like everything available to us isn't good for us. Mini pigs should be feed a diet using a pelleted mini pig feed such as Mazuri brand (which is made by Purina), some people prefer Purina Sow, Champion feed brand is milled and sold by Ross Mill Farms, Manna-Pro is another well known brand of pig feed and veggies and occasionally fruits. Giving pigs candy and foods that are high in sugar content is setting your pig up for obesity early on and while it is super easy for pigs to gain weight, it is a much different rate for losing it. Pigs do not lose weight by exercising vigoriously. They lose weight by reducing the amount of calories they eat compared to how many calories they are buring off. Sometimes it is a matter of changing the times a pig is fed, such as feeding earlier in the day so they have the opportunity to burn off the calories, or reducing the volume fed. Increasing the roughage is a great way to provide essential vitamins while also increasing fiber which makes them feel fuller for a longer period of time. Roughage is also a great way to keep the GI tract functioning as it is supposed to. Low fat, low calorie treats can be used for training, but EVERYTHING additonal fed to your pig needs to be in moderation. Moderation is always key. Air popped popcorn is a great training treat, but your pig does not need handfuls of nonsalted, nonbuttered popcorn. They will usually do the same trick or same action for 1/2 of ONE piece of popcorn that they would do for a handful. Do not give alot of extras and then you will never have to reduce the amount later on. Click here to see a list of foods that are "pig approved" as foods that are not harmful for pigs. Again, this list is only a guide, you cannot feed your pig strawberries everyday for months and think that is adequate nutrition because it isn't. This is a list of foods that you can add to their meals IN ADDITION to the pelleted feed.
These were the most commonly searched phrases for the month of December. We will keep this blog going month after month to keep you informed of what is being searched. Some of the terms will remain the same, so we will likely include the phrase, but not elaborate every month. The website stores the information that is searched and gives us a list daily, so keep searching! If there is something particular that you want or need to know more about, don't hesitate to email us or contact us via our Facebook page for a more immediate response.
Our names are Brittany Sawyer and Nicole Cox and we are pig parents, pig advocates and also the authors of the "Dear Pig Whisperer" blog. Follow our blog that will feature topics to help you become the best pig parent you can be...along with some other fun things. We will also feature guest bloggers from time to time who want to share their life experience or knowledge with anyone who is interested in learning.