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Thread: Senior Boar & Weight Loss (Eating Habit Changes)

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    Senior Boar & Weight Loss (Eating Habit Changes)

    Hey everyone, it’s been a little over a week since our senior pig of 5 1/2yrs (Nibbler) has completed his cycle of medication for a potential URI. The treatment appeared to be a success as he recovered rather quickly (no longer puffy in appearance, behavior improved, etc.). During the week of treatment he was averaging about 1059-1064g every morning with a little critical care supplementation of about 5ml morning/8ml nightly. We have a Ring camera set up at the cage to monitor his eating habits and chose not to offer more of the critical care because his appetite was back on track - we used it mostly to wash away the medicine although Nibbler seemed to really enjoy it.


    Fast forward to this week, it seems like Nibbler’s weight has slipped a little and it’s concerning me again:
    6/21: 1062g
    6/22: 1056g
    6/25: 1031g
    6/26: 1021g


    He is always given fresh hay (Oxbow Hay Blend) 4-5x a day and pellets (Oxbow Garden Select) daily as well. He certainly has no problems eating his treats or vegetables (bell peppers, baby carrots, and some kale as of late).


    Based on what I see eating-habitwise he seems to be becoming more selective of the hay. He appears to be spending more time digging through a nice big pile for the pieces he wants. Could it be that I’m over-indulging him with too much fresh hay, or could this be because of his increased pickiness due to old-age? Could it be because of a bad batch/batches of hay? I’ve seen pieces of plastic in the bag and it also seems to be more on the dustier side as of late. Anyways, I feel like I’m going through bags of 90oz hay for 2 pigs in 3-4 days time now.


    Hell, I’ve even bought different types of hay to try out (Botanical, Meadow Grass, etc.) but he seems to have no interest in those at all. Just last night I gave him a small section of Oat hay and I was surprised to see him pick at it for the first time.

    He seems to really enjoy his pellets, especially after hours – which got me thinking after reading one of the posts on here, that maybe I should scale back on the pellet portion or remove them after some time to give him the need to forage more for hay. Is this a good idea?



    Although there is a drop in weight, his poops are relatively normal in size, shape, and color. They can be slightly smaller in the morning but get bigger generally as the day goes on. I figure to mention that he still has not been re-introduced to his “no longer new” cage mate, Owl/Owlie as they both share a 2x4 grid fleece enclosure split down the middle. Could he be feeling crammed? Bored?


    I’m open to any suggestions, thoughts, and even others’ past experiences!


    Thanks!
    Last edited by PetFamilyBK; 06-26-21 at 12:19 pm.

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    Re: Senior Boar & Weight Loss (Eating Habit Changes)

    Senior pigs do gradually lose weight, but he may not be at that point yet. Most start around six years of age, and lose a little, plateau, lose a little more, plateau, etc. You can give him a vitamin C supplement to see if it helps.

    A four square foot cage is half the recommended size for a pig. Is there any reason he's not living with your other boar in a larger cage?

    An adult pig should get no more than 1/8 cup of pellets per day.

    The quality of the hay can definitely be a problem, and buying hay in small bags at the local store gets you the worst possible quality of hay for a much higher price than buying it in other ways. The cheapest way is to buy hay from a local supplier if you can find one. Even if you throw 3/4 of the bale away, you'll still spend far less on hay than what you're spending now.

    The second best way is to get it from an online supplier such as Small Pet Select, American Pet Diner, etc. While quire a bit more expensive than local hay, it's still less than half the cost of small bags from a pet store.

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    Re: Senior Boar & Weight Loss (Eating Habit Changes)

    Hi, we split up the boars because Nibbler was on the antibiotics for URI immediately after going through the bonding phase. I guess you can say it was a quarantine if you will. We were looking to reintroduce them and remove the divider on Friday but with the weight loss we were curious if that would be a good idea. I think maybe weíll do it tomorrow anyways and just see how it goes again.

    Iíll cut back on the pellets as heís getting a little over a 1/4 cup, and will look into a more large scale supplier.
    Do you think the vitamin c from the bell peppers isnít enough?

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    Re: Senior Boar & Weight Loss (Eating Habit Changes)

    Did he have any reaction to the antibiotic? That usually happens after a few days, but antibiotics can mess with digestion and appetite.

    Although peppers and the pellets have vitamin C, it’s still a good idea to supplement. Mine loves the Oxbow Natural Science wafers.

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    Re: Senior Boar & Weight Loss (Eating Habit Changes)

    Hi! As far as we could tell, no negative reaction to the antibiotics and Metacam as his poops looked to be of the ideal type and his behavior was back to normal. He actually couldn’t wait until I pulled out the medicine as he was practically throwing his mouth on the syringe. I bought BeneBac probiotic gel just in case but haven’t used it yet as it looked like everything was going well during the treatment and his fecal results from the vet were negative of any issues. I’m thinking of maybe giving it a try but I’ve never done it before and not even sure how much to administer.

    I’ve seen those Natural Science Vitamin C wafers at Petco and was thinking to get them, but never did. I’ll pick up a bag today and offer the wafers as treats. He usually jumps to the grid at any sort of bag crumbling so I’m sure he’ll have no trouble eating it.

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    Re: Senior Boar & Weight Loss (Eating Habit Changes)

    You don't have to split pairs of pigs because one is on an antibiotic. Anything one has the other has been thoroughly exposed to by the time you figure out he's sick.

    Don't just remove the divider. You need to reintroduce them as though they've never seen each other before, and put them back in a thoroughly cleaned cage that has nothing in it that smells like either pig. See http://guinealynx.info/introductions.html.

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    Re: Senior Boar & Weight Loss (Eating Habit Changes)

    Quote Originally Posted by bpatters View Post
    You don't have to split pairs of pigs because one is on an antibiotic. Anything one has the other has been thoroughly exposed to by the time you figure out he's sick.

    Don't just remove the divider. You need to reintroduce them as though they've never seen each other before, and put them back in a thoroughly cleaned cage that has nothing in it that smells like either pig. See http://guinealynx.info/introductions.html.
    So the thing is they have been together for a good 2-3 days before the antibiotics kicked in, then they were split up using a cage grid divider so they can still see and smell each other as well as squeak to each other. Since that is the case, you’re saying it would it be good to reintroduce them together on a clean set of fleece in their undivided home? Or someway else? Like another larger setup that would not be their home?

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    Re: Senior Boar & Weight Loss (Eating Habit Changes)

    The general accepted way to do it is in a neutral area that neither pig is familiar with. Once introductions have gone well, then you can transfer them to their new home ( in this case their current home) but it needs to have undergone cleaning so that there are no scents from either, or any other pig in it. This way it's "new" to both of them.

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