Part 2- Acclimating a New Pig in Our Home
Introducing Samson! (Again!)
I will begin by reiterating that our new pig, Sammy is 5 months old. He had not had much human contact before we got him. Which has made making friends with him harder. It has required patience and lots of time!
Learning To Interpret His Body Language
Samson is a lot different from Hamlet. Hamlet needed us, he was a tiny baby and to him, we were his parents and only food source. Hamlet learned to love us very quickly without much effort on our part besides feeding him. We never really paid much attention to his body language because he always seemed happy and content.
Samson wears a sweet expression on his face all the time. Though I have learned that certain body language signs tell me he is not comfortable. When he is happy and feels safe, his tail swings loose and back and forth. Almost like a dog wags his tail.
I noticed pretty quickly that when Samson is tense or nervous, he goes to the corner of his cage where his bed is. When he is nervous he seems to twitch his tail back and forth quickly instead of the happy tail wags. I can also see a change in his breathing. When he gets nervous his breathing becomes elevated.
When he shows these signs, we know that we have pushed him a little too far out of his comfort zone and leave him alone for a while.
Short Sessions Frequently
We have found that since Samson gets overwhelmed easily that he does better if we work with him in many short sessions throughout the day. Instead of long extended sessions.
We work with him for 10 or 15 minutes and try to stop while he is still happy and trusting us. Then we let him be and come back to it in a few hours.
When we are working with him we encourage him to eat out of our hand. It did not take too long of us just sitting still holding out the food for his stomach to overcome his apprehension.
In the beginning, he would eat quickly and then go back to his corner where his blanket is. Now, he will rub his head on our hands. He will also let him pet us if we move slowly and don't startle him.
Letting Him Come To Us
At this point we always let Sammy approach us instead of trying to reach out to him. Just to avoid startling him. He is getting better and better about wanting our attention. We sit with the cage door open and wait for him to walk over to us. Then we will feed him some pellets or a healthy treat.
He is still skittish about us reaching for him too quickly but is getting better by the day.
Litter Training Update
Samson was basically litter trained as soon as we put him in his new cage. He has his "room" with his blankets on one end, his food dishes, and toys near that. Then his litter box is at the opposite end of the cage.
Luckily, his natural instinct to have a clean environment pretty much-made litter training a piece of cake.
Since he is still an intact boar, he is smellier than Hamlet was and the litter has to be changed every day sometimes twice a day.
Neutering is in the plan for Samson. He will make a better pet and be happier without all those necessary hormones running through his little body.
Our goal is to get him comfortable enough with us feeding him and touching him that having to put him in the crate for the trip to the vet won't undo all our hard work with him!
He is definitely old enough for neutering so we will be getting it done as soon as we can.
Sammy And His Toys
Another difference between Sammy and Hamlet is that Hamlet never paid very much attention to the toys we offered him. Sammy on the other hand really likes investigating toys and spends a lot of time doing it. It is fun to watch him be relaxed and have fun.
We know Samson is super happy when he does the tail wagging and runs back and forth around the cage. He then looks back to check if anyone was watching. Then he runs around again. It is so cute and he looks so happy.
So Far So Good With Samson
We learned a lot with Hamlet and we are learning a lot from Samson every day. Hopefully, by sharing my experiences it might help someone else who decides to take on a house pig. They are hard work, but well worth the challenge!