Pigs are highly intelligent and sensitive animals who need mental stimulation to keep them from becoming bored. Bored pigs can be destructive and display unwanted behaviour. But if your pig is entertained often, you will have a very happy pig. Here are 10 ideas on what you can do to make your pig’s day.
You might need to show your pig how to participate in the activities a few times, but he will soon catch on. However, when your pig has clearly had enough of the game, let him go.
1. Mud pit
Every pig should have a mud pit to relax in. The mud pit can be somewhere in your garden where it is safe for your pig. Dig a hole that is bigger than your pig and fill it with mud. To make mud, backfill the hole with a little of the excavated sand and add water. Allow him to roll in it and have as much fun as possible. A mud bath is entertaining and will cool your pig down on a hot day.
2. Rooting box
One of the most natural behaviours for any pig is to ‘root’– to nudge or push into something repeatedly with his snout. You can create a rooting box for him by filling a kiddie pool with hay, balls, some of his toys and a couple of treats. Let him get inside the box or kiddie pool and enjoy rooting while finding some treats.
3. Stuffed food toy
Kongs are ideal toys for pigs. They are durable and strong enough for pigs. Fill a Kong with some of your pig’s favourite food or treats. Let him play around with the Kong to figure out how to get to the treats.
4. Hidden treats
Use layers of old fabric or fold up towels and hide some of his treats in the folds of the fabric. Use a variety of food and treats, like chunky pieces of carrots or apples. Allow him to find the hidden treats at his own pace.
5. Ball sense
Pet pigs need exercise as much as any other companion animal. One of the activities most pigs enjoy is playing with balls. Get him a few different sized balls to see which ones he enjoys ‘kicking’ around the most. Make sure the balls are big enough so that he won’t swallow or choke on them.
6. Go for a walk
You can teach your pig to wear a leash and go for a walk. Start when he is very young and start with short walks. Allow your pig to smell wherever he wants to and be careful that he doesn’t eat anything that he’s not supposed to. Remember to take poop bags along and clean up all his oopsies.
7. Scatter feeding
In the wild, pigs forage for food all day long. So, instead of feeding your pig in his usual bowl, scatter some of his food on the grass. This will allow him to forage for his food – a very natural behaviour.
8. Frozen treats
Cut up some fruit into chunky pieces and place it in a bowl with water and freeze it overnight. This is a great idea for hot summer days. When the fruit or vegetables are solidly frozen, give them to your pig to munch on. You might want to move him outside for this activity.
9. Find the buried food
Another idea to allow your pig to forage for his food is to bury some of his treats or food in a part of the garden where you won’t mind him ‘unearthing’ his food. In the wild, pigs love to uproot the roots of plants and this activity will stimulate your pig’s natural behaviour.
10. Hanging treats
Hang a few treats, like chunks of watermelon, from tree branches around your pig’s area. Hang the treats just slightly higher than his head so that he needs to figure out how to get to them. This means he might have to stretch himself a bit, which is great exercise for your pig.