We all know the saying, “Good things come in small packages.” When it comes to this itty-bitty bundle of love, I need to modify those words to say, “really, really, realllllly good things!” Ziggy was born last month. He is almost almost 8 weeks old and weighs in at a whopping 1.5 pounds. Ziggy is blind.
PE🐽NY: Can you please describe your family? We live in Fallbrook, California. Our human family consists of mom, dad and three children: Ashley (13), Ethan (11) and Lucas (8). Our wild kingdom consists of: 4 goats, 3 ponies, 7 chickens, 1 giant sulcata tortoise, 3 dogs, 4 leopard geckos and 3 beta fish. Ziggy has ONLY played with our smallest dog, Zoey. She is a maltese-yorkie mix.
PE🐽NY: Have you always wanted a pig? Our small farm here in Fallbrook is always growing. My husband and youngest son were wanting a pig for quite some time. I was a little slower to warm to the idea because of how smart they are and I wasn’t sure I was ready to own one. One day I decided. We decided. We were ready and finally had the time to dedicate to such a brilliant animal. We had no idea how smart he would be. Ziggy was litter box trained at three weeks.
PE🐽NY: How old was Ziggy when you got him? We got Ziggy on Christmas Eve, 2015. We wrapped his carrier (of course with him not in it) and put it under the Christmas tree for the kids! All of the children were so surprised and happy! He was only three weeks old. We were told he was the runt of the litter and was not nursing with his mom anymore. He came from a breeder in Temecula, CA.
PE🐽NY: Did you know Ziggy was blind before you brought him home? No, we did not know he was blind. When we brought him home he seemed normal to us since we had never had a pig. My daughter was the first to suspect there was something wrong. We began to notice peculiar behavior in response to our presence. Ziggy would run in circles looking in the direction from where the sound was coming. As he began to have more freedom in small rooms, he would use his nose to bump into all of the walls and chairs to navigate. It started to become pretty obvious he could not see. His eyes also reflected white in photos.
PE🐽NY: What was the next step? Around five weeks, Ziggy had labored breathing and didn’t want to play. I knew something was wrong so we headed to the vet. They observed Ziggy bumping into the office walls while he was exploring. The vet sedated him so that he could run some tests and do a chest x-ray. Results lead the vet to presume that Ziggy may have had a fever when he was younger that dissolved part of his hip socket and could have also caused his blindness. He also had a partially collapsed lung. Ten days of a strong antibiotic had Ziggy feeling like himself again. As far as his dissolved hip socket goes, we have to make sure to manage his weight well and try not to let him on slippery surfaces where he does the “splits.”
PE🐽NY: Could the blindness be a genetic defect? There is no real way to know why Ziggy is blind. It could have been a birth defect or caused by an illness. I spoke with his breeder to let her know in case it was genetics. She said none of her other pigs have ever had this.
PE🐽NY: Ziggy came home with you at a very young age. Did you have to bottle feed him? Yes. I had to bottle feed Ziggy goat’s milk every four hours for the first few weeks until I was able to get him to drink out of a bowl. Goat’s milk is still a favorite of his today. He has now transitioned to youth mini pig pellets only. Since he is still so young, we really haven’t offered him anything else as far as snacks go. He eats four times a day now.
PE🐽NY: Where does Ziggy sleep? Ziggy has a large 6-sided baby pen that he can run around in. Inside of his pen there is crate that has become his little private spot. We also have a heat lamp in there for him.
PE🐽NY: Does Ziggy have any silly habits? He makes a silly sound when he is really happy! It sounds like a blend of laughing and panting.
PE🐽NY: What does he do during the day? I am a stay-at-home mom which allows me to be home with Ziggy almost all day, everyday. Ziggy’s pen is in our home office, which we are in and out of all day. Our children are home schooled so we are around the house for the most part. Ziggy loves to play with balls, toys and our smaller dog, Zoey.
PE🐽NY: What is the best part of having a pig? Ziggy is really fun to watch grow up, he makes cute sounds and loves to root on everyone. We love to watch his tail spin with happiness as we talk to him.
PE🐽NY: What has been the biggest challenge? His blindness. Considering we have never had a pig before, we are unaware of typical pig behaviors. We don’t have a baseline.
PE🐽NY: What is one pig fact that pig owners (and non-pig owners) would be surprised to hear? They can be REALLY noisy and when picked up their squealing is louder than a jet engine taking off.
PE🐽NY: Any advice for those wanting a pig? Do your research. Understand that every pig has the potential to be 200 pounds!
Sweet Ziggy. What a strong, brave and smart piglet you are. YOU ARE A PIG! PIGS ARE AMAZING AND SO SMART! Blind, schmind. Don’t ever let that stand in your way. We love watching you grow and navigate through this life and just adore your Instagram (@ziggypig) account. Tremendous blessings came your way when you found your family, and they found you. I started your story with a quote, and I will end with one. “Do small things with great love.” Thank you for being my Outstanding Pig of the Week. Love, PE🐽NY