Here she is, Miss America-n Guinea Hog, Princess Peppermint! She came to us as “BJ” because she’d been born with a broken jaw, the runt of 8 piglets that had to be bottle fed on Owen Farm in Hopkinton, NH. After half an hour with her and the discovery that she enjoyed the peppermints I keep in my pockets for the horses, we renamed her “Princess Peppermint”, which lends itself to Pepper, Peppermint Pig(they’re an old-timey treat made & sold in nearby Saratoga Springs, NY), or Princess.
Pepper is a quick learner and I’d taught her to come when I call her name in about 10 minutes. She really likes Teddy Grahams – they’re excellent training treats. She grunts purposefully when you converse with her. The other animals, except for the sheep, think she’s jolly. The sheep think she’s some sort of beast. I have to admire the power she unknowingly wields over them. I’m wondering if I can get her to work the flock like “Babe…”
We’re hoping she’ll stay on the small side because we’d like for her to be a pet pig. American Guinea Hogs are known to be excellent foragers and after her time in the garden with a house of straw, she’ll graduate to a little house (of sticks) that I have on the edge of the woods near my chicken coops. I can’t move the house right now because it’s frozen into the earth, and heavy, but at night Princess Peppermint has been sleeping in the stall with our fluffy Lion Mane bunny – they make great sleep-over mates. There is not a house of bricks projected in her future, in case you wondered.
Pepper enjoys trotting alongside while we do the chores, squeals exuberantly at the thought of meals, and has excellent knowledge already of her territory. She’s showed us all of the holes in the garden fence, so that we could repair them of course, and naps in her little crate in the garden by day. She will climb into your lap to snuggle and loves a good scratch on her backside.
At this stage of her growth, she requires warm milk in her organic piggy pellets three times a day. We give her an apple, pear, or vegetable snippets for treats, keeping her busily occupied between naps and meals. She appears to campaign continually for food (no kidding), but is also happy to take walks. I look forward to nicer days and more outings as winter wanes.
Conditioning for the both of us. I’m wondering if I can teach her to fetch. I’ll keep you posted.