Pumpkins…the fall treat for potbellied pigs!

Halloween is almost here! This is the best time of year for potbellied pig owners, as your friends, family, and neighbors throw out their jack-o-lanterns and start prepping for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

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Pippy’s very own pumpkin; it took her 3 days to eat!

Pumpkin has huge health benefits for pigs; not only is it a good source of Vitamin C to boost immune systems, it’s rich in fiber as well; this is important to help our infinitely-hungry friends feel full longer! Pumpkin, when cooked and mashed, is also a good source of Vitamin A, a key ingredient for aiding vision in both humans and our porcine pals. Pumpkin is also a good option to aid digestion in pigs–when your pig has an upset tummy or is showing signs of constipation, feeding them cooked pumpkin works wonders!

So ask around this weekend for unwanted jack-o-lanterns; your piggy pals will thank you!

Fun Facts About Potbelly Pigs

Potbelly pigs make amazing house pets and companion animals. They are very intelligent, so training pigs to do tricks, adjust behavior, or use a litter box indoors is a relatively easy task. Since they are food motivated, using positive reinforcement with veggies as treats is a great way to train a pig. 984191_827869843919896_5933588227101658110_n

Here are some other fun facts you may not be aware of with potbelly pigs:

  • Pigs are incredibly compassionate and affectionate animals. They do well in pairs or multiples because they are herd animals by nature. Since pigs are intelligent, they can easily become bored and destructive when left alone. However, in a multi-pig household, you’ll find your piggies snuggling and always together.
  • According to Vegan Peace, a pig can run a 7 minute mile. With domesticated potbelly pigs, Scientific American estimates running speed to be about 16mph! This is due to instinct, as pigs are prey animals and relatively low to the ground. They must be able to outrun potential predators.
  • In 2013, an employee at a French pig farm went deaf due to listening to constant squeals from 4,000 pigs, causing regulations to be passed for farmers or workers to wear protective gear when exposed to noises louder than 85 decibels. It’s documented that a pig’s squeal can reach up to 133 decibels–compare that to a jet engine taking off at 120 decibels! (Source: thelocal.fr)
  • Potbelly pigs aren’t considered full grown until they are 2-3 years of age. While most of their growing is done by the time they are 1 year old, they still add weight up to 3 years of age. A domesticated potbelly averages 65lbs to 200lbs in adult weight. (Source: The North American Potbellied Pig Association).
  •  Teacup pigs are a complete myth. Breeders use terms “teacup,” “micro-mini,” “nano,” and “miniature” to sell more piglets. All potbelly pigs are born around 9oz, and can fit into a teacup; by the time they are full grown, reaching a maximum of 200lbs healthy weight, they ARE miniature compared to a full-size farm hog at 800-1200lbs!
  • Pigs are very good at recognizing danger or trouble. There are many documented cases of owners being saved from fires or dangerous situations by their pet pigs. In June 2014, a potbelly pig saved its family from a fire in Illinois; read the full story here.

 

2015 Calendar Photo Contest Winners

Well, folks, we had a ton of entries to our first annual Hog Haven Farm Calendar Contest! For that, we sincerely thank you. The 2015 calendar will be put together in the next few weeks, and all sales from the calendars will go directly to supporting the efforts of Hog Haven–especially towards the purchase of our property next year! Each month will feature two “pigtures”–we had so many cute choices, we had to accept more than one per month! If you submitted, check your inbox today for instructions for final, print-ready submissions for the calendar.

Some of our winning selection:

March

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Misconceptions about minipigs

In the 1980’s, potbelly pigs became the popular exotic pet in North America. This was due to the crazy desire for miniature pets–horses, goats, and pigs–and also in part by the importation of Vietnamese potbellies in 1985 by Canadian zoo director Keith Connell. In 1989, Keith Leavitt imported a second line of potbelly pigs from Europe to Texas; these two lines of potbelly pigs are known today as the Con and Lea lines. According to the California Potbelly Pig Association (CPPA), the vast majority of all registered potbellied pigs in the United States are traceable to these two lines.

Boris + Pippy
Boris + Pippy

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Pigs as Therapy Pets

In April of 2014, we were approached by a memory care facility in Littleton, CO about the possibility of bringing the pigs in as therapy pets for the residents. Many of these residents are in different stages of Alzheimer’s or dimensia, and of course we leaped at the opportunity to bring happiness to the facility! Starting in May, Pippy and Boris started visiting the facility on weekends. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience; the reception of visiting potbelly pigs has been incredibly positive, and Pippy and Boris thoroughly enjoy their weekly visits.Our pigs are very well behaved; they are both potty trained, and are incredibly social with strangers. This makes them a great fit for visits to the facility!

Boris getting some scratchin's from a resident in August 2014.
Boris getting some scratchin’s from a resident in August 2014.

During these one hour visits, Pippy and Boris get lots of attention, snacks, and extra belly rubs. It’s a wonderful feeling seeing the faces of the residents light up when the pigs come to visit! Pippy even dresses up on occasion, guaranteeing an extra smile (and sometime a treat!) from the residents. We are in process of setting up the pigs as therapy pets in other facilities, and welcome the idea of bringing them to schools and other organizations in the future. Education is key, and at Hog Haven Farm, we are dedicated to inspiring others to not only help these wonderful animals, but to teach others about how well suited potbelly pigs are as a family pet.

Pippy is dressed up and looking for treats with one of the residents!
Pippy is dressed up and looking for treats with one of the residents!

Currently, Pippy and Boris are not officially certified as therapy animals. With our community service hours growing, and consistently good bills of health from the vet, we are looking to have them certified by the end of 2014. If you or your organization would like Hog Haven Farm to pay a visit, please contact us at info@hoghavenfarm.org today!

Hog Haven’s first rescue: Pumba the Pig

In mid-August, Erin and Andrew decided to bring home their first rescue pig. Pumba was living north of Denver, Colorado, with a family who could no longer keep him. Pumba was born in April 2014, in Kansas, and adopted at roughly 8 weeks of age. His family starting bringing him to a farm vet, who poorly advised them on proper diet. Thus, Puma developed a weight problem and incredibly dry skin. At 4 months old, the time of the rescue, Pumba weighed approximately 25lbs and was larger than Erin and Andrew’s 10month old pig, Boris.

Pumba enjoying the back yard
Pumba enjoying the back yard

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