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Behavior Shy piggies


Cavy Slave
Dec 1, 2011
A bit of background info before I ask my question, if I may.

I have two sows, approx age of 15 weeks, sisters born from in the same litter. They are eating well, plenty of hay and pellets and love their veggie time. They were found seperated from their mother too early and were hand reared from an early ages.

Originally I had two seperate pigloos in which they seemed to both have there favourite. However, I rarely saw the pigs outside, they would run out fetch food and take it back to their house. Every time I walked into the room if they were out they would run off.

As they were chewing there plastic houses I then bought a wooden house for them to share. Majority of the time they are fine however sometimes one will not let the other into the house.

Once they are being held they want to quickly get off again and explore there surroundings.

So my questions are:

Should I get two seperate houses for the pigs?
How can I encourrage them to spend time outside their house?
Is it due to their age that they are so shy?

Thanks for your help
having multiple houses in the cage doesn't hurt unless there isn't enough room. i have a few houses in the pigs' cage. sometimes they share, sometimes they argue over the same house.

try placing food, water, and hay far from the homes. scatter any bowls or hay racks you have in various areas, so they have to move around the cage to find food or water. both of my pigs grew used to eating out in the open, however there are moments when my newest pig feels more comfortable dragging hay to the hut and eating it while being hidden.

as for shyness, it'll go away depending on the pigs personality and how much you handle them. i've had one of my pigs for almost a year now- she was comfortable with me almost instantly, laying in my lap and falling asleep. however it took her several weeks to feel safe enough to eat from my hand. my newest pig, however, ate out of my hand right away but is VERY lap and hand shy to this day (but she is getting better as the months go by).

as for them running off when you enter the room, it isn't anything personal! they are prey animals and flee if they feel there is a big, scary predator near them. over time they may get used to you walking in or reaching into the cage, however some pigs always remain skittish. try talking to them as you walk by. of course if they know you have veggies for them, then they may stand courageously in the open, wheeking at you to give them treats.

OH, and some pigs are more lap-cuddly than others. i find my guinea pigs are more willing to cuddle with me if they have wasted most of their energy exploring and running around.

hopefully i was able to ease your concerns- i realize i answered a bit more than you requested. ♥
Hi thanks for the reply.

Don't worry about giving out more information than needed, I'm new to all of this and I am more than happy to soak up information if it means the best for the animals.

The current set up is the house is at one end and there are various hidy places then the other end is a litter tray with wood shavings and food bowls and the hay rack and water. I've done this so that i can replace the litter tray daily and the rest of the cage doesn't smell as quickly.

After trial and error I now place the veggies around the cage to ensure that a) each pig has the opportunity to eat and b) it's a little more fun for them.

I was just concerned as they are happy enough having cuddles mostly (i hope).

My other concern was that they don't talk much. They seem to mutter to each other when eating but i've not heard them Wheek at all yet. Is this just them settling in?

Thanks again for your help.
I don't have much to add to Kieri's response, but to answer your last question, yes this is them settling in. Your pigs will start wheeking when they figure out their routine. My pigs didn't wheek at first, but after a month or two I couldn't run the water in the kitchen without them wheeking their little heads off.

Just take it slow with them and offer veggies as a treat whenever you can. I used to spend a lot of time laying in front of the cage with a leaf of lettuce in hand, just dangling it there. Eventually they will start eating from you hand and realize that the hand isn't going to eat them, and they will be more comfortable with you near the cage.
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