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Intact Pig Behavior

Intact pigs simply do not make good pets. These pigs are burdened by a heavy hormonal load which affects them far more than intact dogs or cats. When pigs are rehomed or introduced to a new home, these hormones compound their natural behaviors and adjustment issues. Give the pigs a fighting chance at a happy life… Spay and neuter BEFORE placing them for adoption.

Common Behaviors of Intact Pigs

Persistent Escaping
Damage to Fencing
Wandering Off Property
Chasing
Humping
Ejaculating On Toys & Furniture (Males)
Moodiness
Aggression
Charging
Biting
Head Swiping
Urinating In Inappropriate Places
Failure to Toilet Train
Excessive or Painful Rooting
Breeding Through Fences or Baby Gates

Females

Females that have not been spayed will go into heat approximately every 21 days. During these heat cycles they are fertile. Their instincts and hormones combine driving them to seek a mate for breeding. This time is very difficult to keep them contained. They will use great force to break out of their fencing in search of a mate. Even housetrained girls will dribble urine and have frequent “potty accidents”. Unfortunately their hormones are stronger than their training. During these heat cycles the females become sexually frustrated. They may chase people or other pets in an attempt to relieve their frustrations. Theses females are well known to hump their family or inanimate objects such as dog houses. Excessive rooting or nudging at their owner’s legs is a painful reminder of their heat cycle. The female’s mood suffers terribly overall, with common owner’s complaints being snappiness, biting, charging, and head swiping. In addition to behavior, a female’s health is at risk while she is intact. She is prone to fatal uterine infections and tumors. The solution is to have her spayed. The earlier she is spayed, the easier it will be on her.

Males

Males do not have monthly cycles as females do. Instead males are overrun by hormones on a daily basis. A male pig that has not been neutered is referred to as a boar. Their sexual frustration builds leading them to hump and ejaculate on people, other pets, toys, or furniture. Boar’s tusks grow at a much faster rate than neutered males (barrows). This hormone fueled growth leads to long, dangerously sharp tusks. These tusks can pose a serious threat from moody pigs that intend to prove their dominance over other herd members (including humans) or potential threats. These males will also urinate as they please in order to spread their scent – which comes from a horribly foul smelling precipice gland. Boars carry a horrid pungent musky odor making indoor accommodations unacceptable. Even in an outdoor environment this boar odor is unbearable to most families.

Why Did Other Pig Parents Spay or Neuter? Testimonials

Lydia Weaver: Pearl is a great example of why I now insist on spaying. She was six, but had never, ever been a problem behaviorally with her heat cycles. Most of the time, unless I just paid very close attention, I didn’t even know she was in heat.
But we were really beginning to see the need for spaying, so I decided to have it done. First, since she was a chunky girl, she needed to lose a few pounds. I took a few months but by early summer I had her slimmed down to a svelte 300pounds. For her, this was lean.
Before I could get an appointment to spay, however, she got sick showing classic urinary tract symptoms. She’s posture but either not urinate at all or urinate very little. I called my vet, as this was the July 4 weekend, and we put her on amoxi. That seemed to fix it up, until she was off for a few days, then it came back. We were suspicious something else was cooking, but we opted for a round with baytril plus amoxi, which was pretty much a smoke, fire, and Jell-O approach.
Again, she got well, was back to her sassy self. For about ten days to two weeks.
Then our snowball rolled directly into the fire.
She came in with pus dripping from her vulva, not eating, and had a fever.
Well the pus was a sure fire give away. we were dealing with a pyometra at least, possibly more than that cooking in there.
I was on the road to UT with her at 7am the following morning after talking with Dr. Van Amstel. She was admitted, a thorough work up ensued including ultrasound.
The news was not good. She had fluid outside the uterus, which indicated a peritonitis, pyometra, plus several tumors.
Dr. Van Amstel is a straight shooter which I always appreciate. In her favor was her young age and the fact she was not obese. Because of that, he was willing to progress with the spay and flushing to help with the peritonitis, but was absolutely direct that her odds were 50/50 at best.
She did survive the surgery and it was worse in there than he’d thought. Her fallopian tube had literally disintegrated from the disease process, allowing the bacteria to seed the peritonitis. Several small tumors were attached in the uterus and ovaries, and she had adhesions to the intestines and bladder.
This was a critically ill pig.
They flushed the abdomen profusely with saline then antibiotics, kept two iv lines going and had her on narcotic pain meds plus two antibiotics and uristat for the bladder discomfort.
Ever the Queen, Pearl woke up and physically seemed okay, though she would not eat. Dr. Van Amstel, knowing pigs as well as he does, felt that she’d probably eat if I offered the food, so off I drove the two hours back to UT.
She cleaned up every bite for me, and let me remove the iv lines in her ear and front leg. There is no way you’d think she’d just come through such an invasive surgery, but she just sprang to life, eating everything in sight and asking for more.
He held her another couple of days, doing a couple more ultrasounds to make sure the fluid was not building back up in that abdomen, then gave the okay to pick her up. She still got injectable meds for several days, then oral meds for another week after that, and had pain meds for several days.
She healed beautifully, but truly was a 300 pound miracle sauntering about. That’s about as close to death as a pig can be and not actually tip on over.
And that sealed the deal for me. Unless there is some drastic reason that prevent spaying, it gets done. We now know that almost 100% of pigs that are not spayed will develop reproductive disease or cancer at some point in their lives and it can begin much earlier than Pearl’s case did.
Spaying is essential, both for behavior issues as well as long term health.

Julianne Clark: I took a nap with him on my bed one day and when I woke up he just all the sudden got “razzed” and before I could get him off, he jizzed on my pillow case, midair.
Yup. Decision made.
And new pillow case bought. Lol
He’s just an all-around better pig now.

Breanna Taylor: We spayed Latin due to aggressive behavior. She would bite our kneecaps and hump our legs. If on the couch she would bite our shoulders. She also would scream a lot and urinate in the house.

Rhonda Ogle Kunnath: I chose to spay my girl because she started getting aggressive at times and moody. With all the information I received from this group, I found it was the best thing to do. There was no real good reason to not spay her since I would not ever be breeding her. Doing so did help a great deal. She still has her moments, but I feel it’s more manageable.

Julie Romero: I got Hamlet when he was 4-6 months old. (Backyard breeder had no idea how old he was). Got him home and about an hour later realized he REALLY liked my leg. It was after 5pm so I had to wait until the morning to call the vet to make the snipping appointment. In those hours that followed I learned I have a very appealing leg to a horney young male pig. The vet felt so sorry for my bruised up legs that he neutered him that next day. I looked like a battered wife from the thighs down. Piglets are strong, determined and persistent.
Bentley came neutered, and Emily was spayed as soon as she reached the weight the vet wanted her at to spay. I was not ever going to breed so why risk the chance of cancer which is way higher in a female that is intact and unbred. It also is very unfair to make her be on the hormone rollercoaster every 21 days.

Emily Hawley: I had rodeo spayed around one year old. We had heard through blogs and educational sites that neutering male pigs was the best thing to do, but we waited. He rooted out of the fence that had fence poles in the ground at least 2 feet, escaped and before we could catch him got picked up by the local animal control. We got him back a hour later, but it was traumatizing for all of us. He also would be very aggressive and try to bite. After he’s been neutered no problems.

Ashley Hillyer: I had an unspayed female pig, who became very moody every few weeks. She would literally hump everything, wonder off, root at your legs, pee everywhere. I had a very difficult time. But she was my first pig, I didn’t even know why she was acting that way until I did some research. So with my male I KNEW he couldn’t not be fixed. On top of all that though, males get tusks smd have a stink gland. The neutering usually helps with the tusks and then the stink gland was removed. I couldn’t have a moody male with long tusks who smelled unbearable haha. So my male is fixed, and just a wonderful pet!!

Cortney Rahn: We spay/neuter all of our animals because I feel it’s best for their overall health. With Bit Bit (rescue we received around 3 months) his behavior was atrocious! Move the pig would only upset him more. He attacked everyone who came into the house. I couldn’t establish dominance or train him properly. Within 4-5 weeks of his neuter he was a different pig! A year later he is well trained and loving to everyone in the house including the kids!

Katie Hermanson: I planned on spaying Eleanor Pigby prior to getting her due to everything I had already read about the benefits: reduced risk of certain cancers, better temperament, and many others. After getting her and talking to my vet, he also highly recommended having her spayed for the same reasons. After she started going into heat at a few months old, she began having accidents around the house (spreading her scent for suitors I’m sure) which had never been an issue before. She was also much more moody and even started jumping up on people, mainly my husband, looking for a little affection. Needless to say, it was the best decision to make for not only Eleanor, but for our whole family.

Sara Ventimiglia: We neutered as soon as he was old enough. He constantly humped everything at 6 weeks… and THE SMELL!

Jenny Crigler Lawrence: I had Trixie spayed at 6 weeks old, for her benefit, and mine. I read a lot and educated myself on spaying/neutering, and the pros FAR outweighed the cons. She is now 7 months old and a wonderful pet with no behavior issues, and I don’t have to worry about losing my beloved pet to cancer due to not spaying her.

Amanda Gass: I rescued two babies from a byb, they were both about 2 months old. The boy warmed right up to us and was constantly biting at our fingers and then we noticed he was mounting his sister. I called the vet immediately because I knew they needed to be together to be comfortable and feel safe. My boy got neutered right away. He is the most loving of the two, the best with the kids, he’s still ornery. My vet won’t spay a female until she is 12 weeks and she is about to be 16 weeks still not spayed, only because my hubby got laid off and just started another job. Or she would have been spayed the day she turned 12 weeks because she’s snippy with the kids here and there, and she enjoys peeing and not listening to me when she gets in her cycle. Plus my dog and my male love to “check out” her area and we don’t need all that.
PS. If it wasn’t for Jade and all her information my girl would have probably ended up pregnant and I would have been in way over my head!!

Megan Elizabeth Dennis: came fixed and we plan on spaying Piper to avoid any of the behaviors mentioned above…they’re our pets and we can’t house anymore lol

Shawna Moxam: The breeder we got our pig from spays/neuters pigs before she sells them. After reading up on it, I would’ve neutered our boy anyways due to behavioral issues.

Vicki Ann: Yes neutered ours.. Didn’t hump but boy oh boy the smell.

Jade George: Hammy was 6 weeks old when he was neutered. And he was humping everything even at 6weeks! That behavior stopped after his neuter and he was a much more mellow and calm piggy! Plus he stopped smelling musky after his neuter!

Jenny Crigler Lawrence: I had Trixie spayed at 6 weeks old, for her benefit, and mine. I read a lot and educated myself on spaying/neutering, and the pros FAR outweighed the cons. She is now 7 months old and a wonderful pet with no behavior issues, and I don’t have to worry about losing my beloved pet to cancer due to not spaying her.

Susan Jaisle: My male would emit this aweful smell (pheromones) and hump everything!

Anna Joelle Armstrong: My female pig would pee everywhere all the time and ever since I got her spayed she only pees in her litter box or outside.

Emily Wallace Anderson: The breeder of our pig only sells pets, so the choice to neuter was made for us.

Marah Hawkins: My girl was already spayed, thank goodness but, I would never have had an unaltered pig, much like I would never have an unaltered dog (or any other animal). It’s just all around better for them. Health wise for sure! My Mabel is already a handful, I can’t imagine if she were going thru her cycle too.
The boy we recently adopted was already alter as well. It was one of the cons for getting him!

Amanda Gass: I rescued two babies from a byb, they were both about 2 months old. The boy warmed right up to us and was constantly biting at our fingers and then we noticed he was mounting his sister. I called the vet immediately because I knew they needed to be together to be comfortable and feel safe. My boy got neutered right away. He is the most loving of the two, the best with the kids, he’s still ornery. My vet won’t spay a female until she is 12 weeks and she is about to be 16 weeks still not spayed, only because my hubby got laid off and just started another job. Or she would have been spayed the day she turned 12 weeks because she’s snippy with the kids here and there, and she enjoys peeing and not listening to me when she gets in her cycle. Plus my dog and my male love to “check out” her area and we don’t need all that. wink emoticon
PS. If it wasn’t for Jade and all her information my girl would have probably ended up pregnant and I would have been in way over my head!!

Natasha Duarte: I spayed my little princess because I believe that all pet animals should be spayed/neutered. I have always had dogs and cats and since I study a lot about animal behavior (specially dogs) I know this is the best for them once we decided to have them as family members wink emoticon

Lisa Rachelle: I chose to spay my girl. I went through 3 heat cycle before i did. Each of them were different. But all three she was peeing everywhere but her box. And pig pee smell is very difficult to get out of your carpet. My last straw she became aggressive towards her dog buddy, they were best buds. She would straight out of the blue go and attach my dog for no reason. Ever sense then things have not been the same and they are not allowed to be alone together.

Taryn Gaona: I spayed my female after going through 4 heats with her intact. It was so difficult. Biting, constantly going, couldn’t settle herself. She was like a teenager, full of hormones, and sassy and spunky. Not her normal spunky- a crazy spunky! I don’t regret my decision to get her fixed.

Kelsy Hagood: We decided to have our Ody neutered because he had major behavioral problems. He was very aggressive & would bite. We talked with our vet about it & he suggested neutering. We were told it would calm him down. It did in the long run. He was mad at us &…See More

Shannon Lees Wagner: I neutered mine to prevent aggressive behavior and to help with the smell. It has worked remarkably well.

Lydia Weaver: Forrest chased all my cats trying to hump them. He was a three pound sex legend in his own mind. The cats were not impressed. They took to the back of the couch and loveseat and watched him pace below, grunting and grumpy because he couldn’t get to them.

Barber Serenity: I spay/neuter everything for their well-being and because it breaks my heart at all the animals that are needing homes, starving, neglected, or euthanized every single day.

Jennifer Goodman Stewart: I believe in spaying/neutering and when I was given Arnold at about 9 weeks old, I planned on getting him neutered but thought I would have more time. Within two weeks, he started trying to climb my leg, chase me around the house, getting aggressive. Well, when I got up one morning and the ottoman and the cat had been violated he went the next day to the vet. The cat is still in therapy. I will be spaying Doodles here soon, as I have no plans to breed, then hearing the stories about unspayed pigs having health issues and of course she is aggressive when she is in heat.

Greta Nelson: I choose to spay before we even picked up our piglet, through much research and education, we found it to be essential in the health of the pig, reducing her risk of cancers. We also decided we didn’t want to deal with piggy periods, or mood swings. We made the appointment for the week our pig turned 4 months old.

Kalyse Greener: To stop the screaming and peeing everywhere! My goodness she had a set of lungs on her!

Leah Keys Gray: Our first pig Gordy we neutered because we didn’t want unwanted male behaviors – that was first on the agenda- little boy was trying to “hump” the air! Second piggy came neutered….. rescued pregnant piggy Izzy- required all her babies spayed/neuter for #1 I am SICK & TIRED of so many unwanted babies- it breaks my heart! Boys were neutered prior to leaving and all girls were on adoption….. Mama Izzy ASAP after milk dried up- Health reasons and poor hormonal girl wanted to get it on with my Baconboy every month and he wasn’t receptive 🙈 I am a huge advocate for spay and neuter because where I live there are so many animals abandoned and euthanized……I will never understand!!!!

Brenda Cox: I chose to spay and neuter my piggies due to behavior issues as well as health benefits. Both of them peed in the house at times before their spay and neuter and my female was extremely moody. After researching, I knew it was the best choice for us and the piggies.

Charlene Czarnecki: I purchased a juliana/mini pig mix from Ahrens Hobby Farm located in Southern Illinois where Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky meet. He was 10 weeks old and April had him neutered and healed up before she let him go. She also only charged $50. I was grateful to have this done and I think as a breeder, she was very conscientious. Also gave me tons of paperwork on how to feed and take care of him. I have since learned so much more from this group and experience, but I had a good introduction to pig parenthood. So grateful for a responsible breeder.

Joan LaCount: I chose to neuter both my boys because through education I learned of the health benefits, and that they can have a boreish attitude and behavior. And I grew up believing that unless you have a pet for breeding purposes, it’s what should be done to keep from overpopulating which can lead to to neglected and abused pets of all kinds.

JoRene Myers Johns: I was not going to spay Bella but I had to because she got very aggressive every time she went in heat. Best decision I could of ever made for my baby. She had never ever tried biting since then, she is a princess…..

Jessica Wolfe: When I first got Red I wasn’t convinced I wanted to neuter because of all the horror stories about things going wrong. He was a sweet little angel until one day he lost his little piggy mind. He started swiping, being extremely vocal for no good reason, peeing in the floor and of course trying to have his way with everything in sight. I made a call to the vet after doing research on my own to go in and talk to her about it. She explained the entire process in depth which assured me he was in good hands. He went in one morning and about 3 days later I had my sweet little guy back. He obviously still can be a rambunctious but nothing like before.

Leanne Clouthier: Before we even decided to get Matilda I had read on MPE and various websites about how important spaying was for their health & temperament. We were never planning on ever breeding her anyways. Also, the breeder we got her from includes the cost of spay in the adoption fee, so it was a no-brainer really. I know you hear horror stories of things going wrong with a spay, however the vet who did it has done hundreds (maybe thousands?) and is the vet our breeder uses, so we were confident it would go well and it did smile emoticon

Kathrine Hart: We decided to spay Cleo after we found out she would be in heat every 21 days. Trisha and I have 5 grown daughters between us, and with the knowledge acquired from that, we determined having a piggy pmsing every 21 days was “so not going to happen!”

Tineatte Trina Percy: I will say that I did it for several reasons. Having been in rescue for years, I have always spayed, neutered my animals. Both for health reasons and so no accidents happen. It takes care of any nasty hormonal attitudes as well. Longer, healthier lives. Same for pigs. But, a baby, intact male pig is the most amorous, rutting animal. So I will say, neutering a pig is a definite must for same reasons listed, and to stop the little ejaculate incidents. Now that I rescued an unspayed female pig, same reasons again, but spay is so important for health concerns.

Brittney Nicole Sanchez: My male pig was sexually harassing my whole family. Nothing was safe. If you were on the floor you were fair game. Pretty much since the day we neutered him he has been a whole new piggy. Much sweeter!!

Jayne Brown: I had to my at 14 yrs old my girl started bleeding a bit on her bedding…she had to have an MRI and was found to have cysts on her ovaries. It was emergency surgery. And very costly. When I got her the vet said no need to spay an only piggy. Please spay.

Terri Lynne Dickson: I made the decision to spay Talulah Belle and Schnitzel based on what I had read on these pages – specifically the health risks when older and the ‘attitude’ when in heat. Dealing with a moody 100+ lb piggy did NOT sound fun! Not sure if it’s related but I had them spayed at 4 mo before their first heat and they are super mellow girls.

Leah Alessandroni: I was always planning on neutering my pig based on reading lots of different articles and hearing others stories. However, I was putting it off due to trying to make time in my busy schedule and he began showing lots of negative behavior most dramatica…See More

Dana Hodges: We fixed our pigs (2 females and 1 male) because we are very aware of how fertile pigs are! Plus there is already 1,000,000 pigs in this country that need homes. Better to not contribute to the problem.

Sherri L Boley: I had Perwinkle spayed mainly due to behavioral issues. She is the sweetest natured pig but when in heat she would, completely unprovoked and without hesitation bite the back of my feet, especially my ankles. Then after researching and realizing the female health risks with tumors & cancer, there was no doubt in my mind. She is a happier & healthier pig since. (So is mom) smile emoticon

Sally Larsen: I spayed my girl because I knew she wasn’t going to be breeding. I didn’t want to deal with a female pig’s mood swings and female issues. I had two female dogs almost die due to infected uterus so why risk putting my pig through that for no reason!

Tristan Lamb: I had my boys neutered because I was tired of seeing their corkscrew and I hated living in fear of getting too close to the ground! (If you bent down the boys would advantage and immediately knock you down to hump you) I spayed my Scarlett because she was living proof that there are in fact demons that come straight from hell! She would attack out of nowhere and was completely uncontrollable! She left me with a few battle scars before we could get her scheduled for her surgery!

Diane Gibbs: I have fixed all 3 of my pigs, two males and one female. The males for the obvious reasons. They were horny little fellows. I did not know that females could turn into she devils when in heat. She was chasing my dogs and biting them. When I got her fixed she was a completely different pig. Best $180 I ever spent!

Aimée Allison: We rescued Moose in January at 5 months old from his original owners who ‘couldn’t handle him’. He smelled so horrible so we bathed him the second we got him home. He continued to smell and ejaculate more all over the place. He also made a special loud oink whenever our spayed female went near him and she would lay down and ‘submit’ to his wondrous Perfume! Lol then there was the humping…
I could see why they didn’t want him, but I had him neutered two days later and he is the sweetest most docile piggy ever! Not one of these behaviors persisted after the neuter and he recovered like a champ! You wouldn’t even have known he had the procedure done!

Amanda Biebel: It took us a long time to find a vet who would spay our little girl- almost two years since we got her. It was never a problem until she started wandering. Once, it was just around the yard, but the very next time, she was two blocks over near a busy street, in someone’s garage eating dog food. It took us an hour to find her, and another hour to get her home because of her in-heat nasty attitude– which had also never been a problem. The vet hunt was back with a vengeance, and now, if she does break out of the pen (which almost never happens), she stays close to home.

Jennifer Grant: The smell…that was our prime motivator…he spread the smell of 1000 teenage boy armpits. Oh and the health benefits too…. smile emoticon

Rhonda Pace Hardy: I neutered number one for health number two helps with aggression and smell. Overall it’s the responsible thing to do. I didn’t want to have babies I have neutered male and spayed pig I did hers at 3 months old

Corey Lum Won: After getting Princess Mango we had an idea from a lot of our friends who raised pigs about the attitude of female pigs when we got her. They explained some horrors and some funnies.
We called our vet Dr Scott Sims who was more surprised that we had a pig than anything, but was willing to spay and said it wasn’t uncommon at all and a lot healthier for the pig.
We did have complications with her surgery and mostly her recovery but she’s still our pig and we still recommend spaying.
Neutering (or well castration) is very common here in Hawaii. A lot of feral pigs are actually castrated in the field and released. I prefer to neuter and would prefer a pig to be under during the surgery.
Neuters are so easy and if left alone the wounds will heal on their own. They’re great and I have never come across an aggressive male or horny male since then.