Stewardship and Care of the Potbellied Pig  


The unhappy history of Pigs as pets

Pigs have been studied extensively in the last 10 years. The findings are no surprise to those of us who have lived with pigs for decades and seen their  intelligence at work.

 Pigs are as intelligent as humans and in many areas of testing, they out perform us every time.

To endeavor to hold them  as a pet is to demean what nature has created, a sentient, sapient being with as much intellect, emotional and social need as  most people  you will encounter in your life. They can be our companions and our friends if given the right opportunity and care, but not our property.

Use facts, not fiction, to lead your way in caring for any animal, but most importantly one who is  as misrepresented as the pig. Breeders and placement agencies  have reasons to disguise , bend, color the truth to further their own agendas, and pigs suffer every day because of it.

Shepherd's Green  publishes these pages is to help you find the facts you need.







     Pigs as companions, buddies, family members, [maybe even bridge partners if they didn't cheat ! ] explains the kind of relationships we find with our pig friends. Keeping them healthy and happy is the goal of any steward, especially when what they need is not something you want them to need. But listen with your heart and think about what you hear. His life depends entirely on your willingness to provide for him. He is not here on this earth to enrich your life, but if given the respect and care needed for his well-being, he will certainly do so.

About our new care pages:

For years vets and other sanctuaries have pointed their clients to our site as the most comprehensive and educational site available. You readers have reinforced this with your many emails of thanks. Over 100,000 times a year we have had visitors at our site seeking help.  With this demand for  factual information we have taken the old web pages and shredded them, building the new site from the bottom up to improve the navigation and depth of resources available.

  • Find what you need more easily and lead you to other areas of interest on our site and through links.. On the Table of Contents below,  just click the topic heading.
  • We will tie in more outside educational links to textbook information, broadening the information you have available at one site. Watch for the book symbol.  It will connect you to additional information.
  • As time allows we will be adding many more graphics and photos of every topic, from housing to health care to wild foods to better support the topic.
  • We  have included the full content of our  health training seminar, The Sick Pig, as well as topics prepared specifically for our Pig Wellness Series of electronic newsletters. (You can sign up on line to get started with health care topics here) . Old issues are archived here.



Some sections will show the UNDER CONSTRUCTION  symbol. Incomplete sections may not be published yet or be incomplete


The BOOK symbol is displayed beside a link that will take you to  in depth information on a particular topic.


Table of Contents   

    • I. Behavior

      • History
      • Wild vs Domestic pigs
      • Instinct and natural behaviors
      • The six Senses of the pig at work
      • Predator - Prey relationship
      • Interaction with domestic  animals
      • Interaction with humans
      • Effects of social lifestyle
      • Effects of aging


      II.  Environment

      • Housing
      • Grazing  and pastures
      • Water & Mud
      • Fences
      • Climate


      III.  Hygiene and Routine Care

      • A word about Germs
      • The clean bed
      • Hooves
      • Tusks
      • Dental
      • Eye and ear
      • Skin
      • Confining, loading and transporting to the vet
      • Limiting Stress: a factor in all health care


      IV.  Nutrition  

      • Basics of nutrition
      • Amino acid requirements of pigs
      • Dangers of supplements
      • Wild foods
      • Vegetables, fruits and meats in the diet
      • Dieting the fat pig
      • Adding calories to the diet of the thin or aged or sick pig
      • The effect of nutrition on healing
      • The effect of the diet in arthritis care

      V.  Aging  

      • How old is old?
      • Behaviors at various ages
      • When slowing down may be more than just age
      • End of Life needs








          VI.  Health  

      • Anatomy
      • Definition of  health
      • Vaccinations
      • Common ailments
      • Diagnostics
        • Parasites
        • Abscesses
        • GI problems
        • Infectious diseases
        • Dental problems
        • Head tilt
        • Dippity pig
        • Arthritis and joint disease
        • Osteo arthritis
        • Rheumatoid type arthritis
        • Septic arthritis (strep suis)
        • Age related conditions
      • Being Prepared

        Finding emergency help; It's a weekend! It's Christmas Eve!!

      • You and your vet
      • Surgery
        • Limiting stress
        • Anesthesia, tranquilizers and sedation
        • Spay
            • Why spay?
            • When to spay
            • Pre surgery procedure
            • Post surgery procedure
        • Neuter
            • Why Neuter?
            • The uncomplicated neuter
            • The cryptorchid neuter
        • Moving a pig after surgery
        • Aftercare
      • Charts and Tables
        • Moisture in foods
        • Measurements of medications
        • Pills, Info & ID
        • Spay Data
        • Tasty foods for the Sick

      VII. The Orphan piglet