Oscar would like to wish all moms out there a very happy Mother’s Day! Oscar is especially grateful for his grandmas who love visiting and who make sure he never runs out of Cheerios and blueberries. Oscar is lucky to have the best grandmas a pig could ask for!
Oscar, Rylee, and family also send a very special Mother’s Day wish to those pig parents out there holding their ears through the squealing, chasing toddler pigs around to make sure they’re safe, and filling countless treat balls in an attempt to keep their pigs happy and entertained. We wish you a day filled with pig cuddles, snout kisses, and all the things that make pig parenting worth it.
Oscar was recently featured on The Painted Hoof website! The Painted Hoof is run by a wonderful artist named Dar who uses her website to introduce sanctuaries and rescues and offers her art to them for free to help them raise funds for their residents. Last summer, she provided several paintings of Esther the Wonder Pig for a fundraiser to help Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary (HEEFS). Her amazing paintings were offered as prizes in a draw for everyone who made a donation, and the money from the donations helped fund the sanctuary so that they can better help animals.
In addition to sanctuaries, she also features individual owners on her website and offers them a painting of their pet and allows them to share their story.We were lucky enough to have Dar feature Oscar on her website. She allowed us to share his story through an interview, and she also painted pictures of Oscar, Rylee, and Liam so that we could have them to enjoy. Dar took so much time to learn about Oscar and his personality, and her understanding of him shows in her paintings. She did an amazing job of capturing Oscar’s essence and spirit, and we are so excited about them. She also surprised us with a picture of Liam, our dog who passed last year, and it’s a painting that we will always treasure.
Dar has a huge heart for animals and for the people who love them, and her mission to help both is amazing and inspiring. She is using her art and time to make a difference in the world and to make it a better place for animals, both in sanctuaries and in individual homes, and we are honored we had the opportunity to share Oscar’s story on her site.
Oscar has struggled with several skin issues since we first brought him home. Oscar not only had mange, but he’s also had two staph infections on his skin. Although his major skin issues have been treated and have healed, we still try to take care of his skin on a daily basis to prevent future problems.
Even if a mini pig doesn’t have mange or any skin infections, dry skin is a concern for most pigs. We try to keep Oscar’s skin from getting too dry in a few different ways. We try not to bathe Oscar unless it’s absolutely necessary since bathing can dry out a mini pig’s skin. This is easy since he hates water anyway! Instead, we just wipe him down with a damp towel every few days to keep him clean. We also brush him gently but regularly, which helps exfoliate his skin and control skin flakes.
Another way we try to keep Oscar’s skin healthy is by using lotion and sunscreen. We have tried lotion, baby oil, and coconut oil on his skin, and all seem to work well depending on your preference. The trouble with external lotion and oils is that I had trouble getting them underneath his hair and onto his skin. Also, Oscar likes to cuddle, so sometimes I would oil him up and then he would settle in to cuddle, getting the oil all over me. It also makes him slick depending on how much and what type of lotion or oil is used, so I have a hard time catching him when I need to!
I still use lotion and sunscreen when necessary, but I came across a much easier internal solution that I use on a daily basis now to keep Oscar’s skin healthy: coconut oil treats. I got this idea from the awesome Peony the Pig and her mom, Lauren, and it’s quick, easy, and Oscar loves it. The basic idea is that you heat coconut oil, put it in a silicone ice cube tray, put the tray in the freezer until frozen, pop out the frozen coconut oil treats, and give one to your mini pig daily or every other day as a treat. The oil helps keep your pig’s skin healthy from the inside out, and it’s easier and faster than external lotions and oils. I make Oscar’s treats out of Spectrum Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil since that’s my preference, but it’s definitely not necessary to use that specific kind. Peony’s mom made a quick and helpful video on how she makes coconut oil treats, and she also listed detailed instructions in text next to the video, so definitely check it out if you’re interested in making coconut oil treats for your mini pig.
Watch Oscar eat his coconut oil treat. He loves them!
I put Oscar’s frozen coconut treats in a ziploc bag and then smash them into smaller pieces to add to his salad or his meals each day. He gets super excited about them, and his skin looks great these days. The coconut oil treats, combined with his brushing and occasional lotioning and sunscreen, seem to help keep his skin healthy and less dry.
If you haven’t checked out Peony the Pig, I highly recommend it. Not only is she an adorable, happy pig, but she and her mom have an awesome website, PeonythePig.com, where they feature outstanding pigs with interesting stories. It’s a great place to learn about other pigs and their families in an interview-style format. Peony and her mom ask questions that other mini pig parents will find very useful in learning about how other pigs and their parents live day to day. Definitely check it out!
One of our favorite things about Oscar lately is his Mohawk. Mini pigs have a strip of hair on top of their back called their Mohawk, and they raise and lower their Mohawks throughout the day for a few different reasons. The first reason Oscar raises his Mohawk is due to contentment. When Oscar gets a back scratch or a belly rub, the hairs of his Mohawk stand up. If I walk up to Oscar and start scratching him, I can actually watch his Mohawk slowly rise. I love it because it lets me know that Oscar is really enjoying his back scratch or belly rub, and I love knowing he’s happy.
The other reason a mini pig’s Mohawk stands up is due to aggression or fear. Pigs are prey animals, so their Mohawks give them protection by allowing them to appear larger to other animals when they are approached or challenged. It’s a really interesting form of protection, and knowing about this has helped me better understand Oscar’s state of mind. As I discussed in a previous post, Oscar and our dog, Rylee, occasionally challenge and snip at each other. Most of the time, it’s a quick snip and then they both move on. Every once in a while though, Oscar tries to instigate a more serious challenge. I’ve learned that I can usually tell by his Mohawk how aggressive he’s feeling toward Rylee, and that lets me know I need to stop what I’m doing and really pay attention to their interaction. I try to let Oscar and Rylee work things out between themselves because intervening seems to make things worse in the long run. Now though, I check to see if Oscar’s Mohawk is standing straight up when he engages Rylee in a challenge. If it is, I know to be prepared to step in since things could escalate more quickly.
Here is a video of Oscar’s Mohawk rising during a back scratch.
We are really enjoying Oscar’s Mohawk lately. It’s fun to watch his Mohawk hairs rise when he’s getting a back scratch or belly rub, and it’s also a great communication tool for when he’s feeling aggressive or fearful. Since mini pig raise their Mohawks for both contentment and aggression, it can be confusing at first to understand what your pig is communicating. However, once you get to know your pig, it becomes very easy to figure out what your pig is communicating through his Mohawk, making it a great tool for better understanding your pig and his state of mind.
We had so much fun celebrating Oscar’s first birthday! He got to open his gifts, a Bob-A-Lot food and treat dispensing toy, which he’s super excited to try and Meghan Trainor’s new single, No, since he loves tail dancing to her music. More importantly, he got his very own little birthday cake! I found a mini pig “ice cream” birthday cake recipe on the American Mini Pig Association website and decided to give it a try. It’s a frozen cake made of bananas, peanut butter, coconut oil, and oats, and I decorated the cake with Cheerios since Oscar loves them. I divided the recipe and used a jumbo muffin baking pan to make three smaller cakes instead of one large cake, and we put the extra two in the freezer for Oscar to share with Rylee another day. Since Oscar loves peanut butter and bananas, I suspected the cake would be a huge hit. He loved it! He made a huge mess, but he had a ton of fun!
Here is the video of Oscar eating his mini pig “ice cream” birthday cake. He liked it so much that he even cleaned his bib after finishing the cake.
Oscar even had a tail dance party to the new song he got for his birthday, Meghan Trainor’s “No.”
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