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Tips For Making the Most of Your Relationship With Your Pet Pig

Let’s start this with an assumption or two. First that you’ve got a couple of pigs, please – these guys need company, preferably porcine, and will get bored, fed up, depressed even, when they get lonely. Second that you’ve really thought through the pig ownership and all that entails before you went out and purchased the new pet/s.

Pigs are intelligent animals – more so than dogs. They get most of their information about the world around them through their nose, which they also employ as a very effective combination plough/cultivator. They use oral communication, barking like a dog, grunting (like a pig!), and squealing in a sometimes-alarming way. There is nothing a pig likes doing more than messing about – in fact I’d say that one of the most suspicious things you’ll ever come across is your pigs nose down with their backs to you: what have they found / broken / killed / beaten up / dismantled or destroyed?

Your relationship with your pig is like that that you enjoy with your dog – the difference being that a dog will generally defer and cower in the light of your superiority – something that a pig won’t recognise. To him, you’re an equal, a sort of upright pig. Thinking about it, he’s not too far off: witness drunken idiots in town of a weekend – ignorant, inclined to filth, all sexed up and liable to get violent and or destructive for no particular reason. Also think about some phrases we use liberally – “filthy swine”, “chauvinist pig”, “as ignorant as a pig”, eating like a pig, and living in a pigsty. Physiologically we are very similar, even using heart valves from pigs in human bodies. Their insulin was used in the past for human diabetes control, and the ‘Micro-pig’ has been developed for medical research purposes.

Enjoy watching your pig, he’ll not cease to amuse. He’ll always be grateful for a new cardboard box to tear to pieces, or for something new to check out and chew to bits. He’ll like the odd windfall from the garden or the discarded cabbage leaves from your harvest (which will have been especially good thanks to your buddy’s input of plough and poo). Scratch his back, rub his belly and sit down with him in some clean straw. Pigs snore, they enjoy physical contact, and you could even train him should you have the time. Pigs have after all been film stars (‘Babe’ was played by 48 actors during the six months of production), drug sniffers (though they tend to grow too quickly and generally too big to be as useful in this role as our dogs), and of course the truffle pig. These are usually trained sows on halters seeking out valuable fungi up to a foot underground – the trick being that the smell of a truffle is the same as the sex hormone of a boar (and a human male too!).

Pigs, like dogs and men, have individual characters, some shy, some aggressive, some in-your-face, most temperate. So to get the most out of your pet pig, get to know her, treat her with respect, enjoy her company and character.