Pigs are difficult to handle when they panic. Knowing how to calm your pig will enable her to follow directions when entered in a livestock show, or while loading her onto a stock trailer. Lowered milk production and other health problems can arise due to stress. It may take up to a half-hour to calm a frightened pig. Stay calm and take steps to reassure your pig if she becomes panicked.
Know Her Stress Triggers
Pigs are intelligent animals, and they're sensitive to changes in routine. Livestock shows, veterinary visits, vaccinations, estrus cycles, changes in ownership or the introduction of a new pig can cause anxiety. Pigs may be frightened by yelling, thunderstorms, barking dogs or other loud noises. Excess heat is another stress trigger; pigs don't sweat and it's difficult for them to lower their body temperatures. Keep your pig in a cool, well ventilated environment.
Play Quiet Music
Remove your panicked pig to a dark, quiet spot. Play soft music to reduce stress and help acclimate her to noise. When placing a radio in her stall, keep it out of her reach, so she can't chew on it. Reassure and comfort her, speaking in a gentle tone. Avoid sudden movements, and stay beside her, where she can see you, rather than behind her.
Give Her a Blanket
Pigs enjoy rooting and hiding; they will wrap themselves up if given a blanket to play with. Wrapping your pig in a blanket during a panic attack may help her feel more secure. If your pig is young and small, try holding her in your arms and cuddling her like a baby. Give her apple slices, or another special treat, to help distract her from a stressful situation.
Walk With Her
To help keep your pig calm, acclimate her to unavoidable, potentially stressful situations. The more time you spend with your pig, the more secure and stress-free she'll be. Walking near her for several minutes every day, and letting her get used to your presence during different situations, will help your pig feel safe around humans. Pigs love having their backs and ears scratched; gentle words and occasional petting will help her look forward to human contact.
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Karen Mihaylo has been a writer since 2009. She has been a professional dog groomer since 1982 and is certified in canine massage therapy. Mihaylo holds an associate degree in human services from Delaware Technical and Community College.