This will probably be the end of our pig age information here, at least
until we start finding 25 year old potbellies, but pig ages are of a
major concern for most of us. When we got our first pig companions, we
expected we would have a pig for the next ten or twelve years.
Considering that at that time they hadn't been pets in the United States
for more than a few years, nobody really knew. Many of those pigs did
die at anywhere from ten to fifteen years of age, but soon pigs at
eighteen or more years of age seemed to be around. At first
the ages seemed to be unlikely, and a close check usually showed that
the pig wasn't really that old. However, we are finding more and more
pigs that can be verified at over twenty years of age and many more in
their late teens. We personally, only have rescue pigs, which make
their ages hard to verify.
I don't know if Cooper is still with us in Colorado (see below), but he
would have turned 21 last August. Val Houghton of Oregon writes that
one of her papered pigs turned 20 this year on October 16th. Happy
Birthday, Zipper. We have a pig born with spina bifida (a spinal birth
defect) that we rescued on April 1, 1994. Reports from animal control
who had been trying to capture this deformed little feral potbellied for
nearly two years told us that he should be at least two. He was nearly
full grown, so we assume he is now going on at least 19 years of age,
and still fairly active.
One of our board members lost Vincent, who traveled yearly with them
across the country, at 19 years old. We used to try and apply the old
"dog years" rule of 7 dog years equal one human year, but I think 5
years or even 4 1/2 might be more accurate for potbellied pigs. Maybe
eventually as we learn more about caring for them it may be 4 years to
one of ours.
How old is Cooper?
Cooper was among the first pet pigs that joined CPPA.
Many years ago Cooper and his mom and dad
moved him off to the cold of Colorado,
and to add insult to injury, they build their house of straw.
Any pig knows better than that.
But the “straw bale” house still stands and so does Cooper.
Cooper’s mom Sandy writes,
“Cooper was born 8/25/89...Cooper went through a slim time winter before
last. He got very skinny and lethargic. I upped the amount of food I
was giving him, and he came through it. I had been feeding him the same
amount for years, and I think he got to an age that he needed more. I
still only give him the mini pig elder, alfalfa and fresh fruits and
veggies. He loves his bananas.”
So at over 20 years of age, Cooper is the oldest potbellied pig
that we at CPPA can personally vouch for.
One of our board member’s pig, Vincent, is over 19 and still going
strong, and another past board member’s pig, Bob, died at over 18 years
So the question of how long these wonderful critters will add
to the quality of our lives continues to be a question,
but the number keeps going higher.
the many of us with older pigs, Brett Johnson of Wisconsin sent us some
advice about older pigs with rapid weight loss as Cooper experienced a
couple of years back. Thanks Brett.
like to add a thought about Cooper that perhaps would help. We
recently lost our little guy just shy of 20 years old. At 18 years old,
our pig lost weight very rapidly. Fortunately, we had a team of vets
because we had taken him to the vet school at the University of
Wisconsin - Madison, for years. The doctors took blood, stool and urine
tests, and found that like older humans, his organs were leaking.
Sounded real scary but, it was a real easy solution (not a cure,
though). An anti-biotic for a week to make sure there was no under-lying infection and having him drink Ensure. In about 10
days his weight was back on. We then cut back on the Ensure - a cup
down to a half cup daily - and he lived for almost two more years."
"...pigs are very beautiful animals. Those who do not think so
do not look at anything with their own eyes but through other people's eyeglasses."
G. K. Chesterton