Introducing Piglet to Other Pets
When introducing to other house pets, start slowly and watch for body language. A dog should be leashed or behind a baby gate when first introducing. Pigs are social animals. They thrive around other animals and they need companionship, so pets are a very important part of your pig’s life. It is important that you trust the interaction between your piglet and said pets before ever leaving them alone together.
Many breeders recommend NEVER leaving your pig alone with dogs or other pets that can potentially hurt or attack your pig. Owners need to know their pets well and make decisions on when is a good time to allow them to run together and whether or not they can ever be together while supervised or alone.
Introducing Piglet to Older Pigs
Pigs are herd animals that enforce a strict hierarchy with herd mates. Adding a pig to the family can result in some temporary upset. The pig’s first meeting may result in a fight. In addition, established pigs may be extra grumpy or snippy with their family while they get settled with the new family addition.
Piglets should be introduced to older pigs carefully. In most situations, there will be a challenge by the older pig. It’s important to protect the piglet from harm, although this is a completely natural interaction for pigs and usually there is no harm done.
The least stressful way to introduce piglets is to use the barrier method. Keep the established pig and piglet separated by a fence or baby gate. Allow them to see and smell each other, but unable to hurt each other. There may be aggressive posturing, teeth chomping, foaming, pacing back and forth, mohawks, or charging the fence. This is ok as long as they are securely separated. Keep them separated as long as this lasts. It could be a day or two week. Let the pig’s set the timeline.
Once the pigs are not reacting to each other at all, you can remove the barrier. Their first introduction needs to be in a wide open space where they can get good footing. An outdoor fenced area is preferable. You can smear Vaseline on the pig’s ears to protect them from bites or scratches. On initial introduction, the older pig may charge, chase, or bite at the piglet. The piglet’s defense to this is to RUN fast to get out of the older pig’s way. This retreat will show submission to the established pig. If the floor is slippery or if furniture is in the way then the piglet will not be able to retreat as needed. This will cause more fighting and possibly injuries. This show of submission is necessary for the pigs to come to an understanding within the herd hierarchy. Once this is settled the pigs will quickly become best of friends!
Remember the scuffles are perfectly natural. Take it slow to avoid unnecessary stress and injury. If the scuffle is mild, do not interfere! The established pig needs to make it clear to the piglet that he is the dominant leader. This is the way pigs communicate. They will get it worked out and become lifelong friends. Continue to feed the pigs separately as long as necessary to ensure the younger piglet is getting his fair share of food.