Pot-bellied pigs come in a variety of colors and sizes but no matter what shape or weight your pig is you should get him neutered and her spayed.
What Are Neutering and Spaying?
Boys get neutered and girls get spayed. Both terms mean to remove the gonads or reproductive organs. Common terms for spaying or neutering are "fixing" or "sterilizing."
When a pot-bellied pig gets neutered your exotics vet will remove the testicles (a castration), the reproductive parts on a male animal. The scrotum will remain but will shrink up a bit over time in a pig that is neutered at a younger age. Veterinarians need to be careful to close the inguinal ring in males during surgery because they will often herniate therefore it is important to find a vet that is experienced with pot-bellied pigs.
When a female pot-bellied pig is spayed her uterus and ovaries are removed (a complete ovariohysterectomy). Some vets only remove the ovaries and this is called an ovariectomy. Larger, fatter pigs are more difficult to spay.
When Should My Pot-Bellied Pig Get Fixed?
Your exotics vet may have a personal preference as to how much your pig needs to weigh or how old he should be before getting him fixed but a basic guideline is to wait until he (or she) is at least eight weeks old but no older than twelve weeks of age. Since some pigs don't grow as large as others it may be hard to reach a specific desired weight that your vet wants before your pot-bellied pig becomes hormonal.
Females will go into their first heat cycle at about twelve weeks (three months) of age and will become sexually active at about five months of age. Most people will agree that you probably don't want a hormonal, bleeding, pot-bellied pig in your home so it is definitely recommended to get your female pig spayed before five months of age. Plus, an older and larger pig will have more fat in her abdomen making the surgery much more difficult for your exotics vet.
Males can start humping and ejaculating at an early age so most owners prefer to get their little boys neutered as soon as possible.
Why Do It?
All pet pot-bellied pigs should get fixed as soon as your exotics vet will perform the surgery for a variety of reasons.
Health reasons are the most important reasons to get your pig fixed. Males can develop testicular cancer, prostatic cancer, infection, and enlargement if they are not neutered and females can develop uterine, ovarian, and mammary cancer along with uterine infections, cystic ovaries, and other problems associated with the reproductive hormones and organs.
Behavioral reasons to fix your pig may be the most obvious reasons for pot-bellied pig owners. Males will hump, ejaculate, mark their territory with urine, and can become aggressive if they remain intact (not neutered). Female pot-bellied pigs will go into a heat cycle and blood will actively drip every month if not spayed. In addition to the bloodstains around your house, their hormones will cause them to be quite unhappy (similar to a woman who is PMSing). They will also urinate to spread their womanly scent with the world and will pee right in front of all their favorite people. Both sexes typically make much better pets with better personalities once they are fixed and are less likely to roam or run away in search of a mate.
Reproduction is a big reason to get your pig fixed as well. There are plenty of pot-bellied pigs that are in sanctuaries, rescue organizations, and shelters and the last thing anyone needs is a bunch of pot-bellied pigs without homes. Breeding pigs is a huge responsibility, a lot of work, mess, and something most people don't want to deal with.