Enrichment- Part II    

     Enrichment can be divided into categories based on ease and simplicity of implementation. Below are some of the enrichment concepts that have worked well for my own pigs. This list is in no way conclusive… new enrichment ideas from readers are welcome! The more reader input, the more it will benefit our pigs… If you have any suggestions, modifications or new enrichment items to add to this list, please contact us!

Enrichment 1 (under 5 minutes)-          

      Cardboard box        

          Stuff box with shredded or crumpled newspaper and a few treats (Make sure there are no staples or tape

              on the box).     

      Cardboard tubes         

          Stuff paper towel tubes, wrapping paper tubes or toilet paper tubes with shredded newspaper  and a few treats.     

     Paper grocery bags         

          Stuff with shredded newspaper or straw; add a few treats. If the bag has handles, it can be hung from a branch. 

     Browse holder         

          Stuff a braided rope dog toy with clippings of rose bushes or other favorite edible plants; hang from a branch.    

         During hot weather, flood parts of your yard several inches with the hose. It will provide your pig with a nice

              alternative to his or her kiddy pool!     

     Plastic crates         
          Using plastic milk crates or other crates with holes already in them, tie two together, to create a closed box

              and place a few treats inside. Nice alternative to traditional treat balls.

Enrichment 3 (greater than 15 minutes)-    

      Barrel rope pull         
          Using a 3” circular saw bit, drill a hole near the bottom of half of a wine barrel (available at nurseries as

              planters). String bits of firm veggies onto a 1’ length of rope. Place veggies inside barrel with rope sticking

              out of the hole. Pigs will have to pull rope to get veggies out of the barrel.     

     Hanging rope pull         
          Attach 3 strings to the outside rim of a large plastic flowerpot saucer and tie together (to allow saucer to hang

              from a branch). Cut a large 5” hole out of the center. Using thin rope with a knot tied at the end, string firm

              fruit or veggies onto the rope. Place the treats in the saucer with the ropes dangling down. Hang saucer

              from a branch so that your pig cannot reach the saucer, but instead has to pull the ropes with the fruit

              attached to get the fruit to drop to the ground. In the beginning, you may need to tie a few treats about

              halfway down the ropes so your pig will learn to pull on the ropes. As your pig gets the hang of this, you can

              raise the height of the saucer and increase the length of the ropes.  

      Sisal rope scratching post         
          Using any already existing in-ground post or old tree stump, wrap securely with thick sisal rope.     

      Brush scratching board         
        Buy 5 or 6 stiff bristled scrub brushes, and attach securely to a board.     

     Hanging coconut puzzle feeder         
          Saw an empty coconut shell in half. String both pieces onto a 3’ rope (so the shells close normally). Place

               treats inside shell, hang from branch.     

      Rooting pile          
          Hide treats in a large pile of straw or dirt.     

     Newspaper frame         
          Cut a piece of plywood to match the size of a sheet of newspaper. Cut four (1x2”) boards to create a frame on

               the plywood. Drill a hole in each piece of the frame, in order to attach the frame to the plywood backing with

               large lag bolts. Layer newspaper onto the plywood, with a few pieces of pig food in between the layers.

               Attach frame, to hold the newspapers firmly in place against the plywood backing. The pig will have to tear

               through newspapers to get to the treats. Make sure plywood is sanded thoroughly to prevent splinters!

      Food hide         
         Hide bits of food around the yard or under rocks or stones (paving stones and flagstones work well).    

           Spice pastes (cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg mixed with water) can be smeared around the yard.

               Fragrant and essential oils (lavender, spearmint, musk, peach rose, patchouli, etc) can be placed around

               yard or on toys. Perfume can also be used. Make sure to place these on objects that are too large for the

               pig to ingest (large rocks, concrete, fence posts). Also make sure to only use a very SMALL amount so

               that your pig doesn’t try to lick or eat the pastes or oils.     

      Plush toys/squeaky toys     

      Shaker cans         
          Fill cans or plastic containers with bells, coins or pebbles (make sure lid is very secure so pig cannot open

             container and ingest small objects).     

      Phone books          
         Place treats between the pages of old phone books.

Enrichment 2 (5 to 15 minutes)-    

      Treat jugs/barrels         
          Using any large, sturdy jugs (water jugs, old juice containers, etc), cut several holes large enough for treats

               to easily fall through. Place treats in container and let pigs roll until treats fall out.     

      PVC tube roller/ Suspended PVC treat dispenser         
Cut a 1 to 2 foot section of PVC pipe (4-inch PVC works well), cap ends. Drill large (3/4- 1” holes throughout

              PVC. Fill with small treats; let pigs roll PVC around until treats fall out. Alternatively, the PVC can be

              mounted on a board with brackets (see photos). Make sure that the PVC is still able to rotate freely in

              brackets. Pigs will have to turn the PVC to allow the treats to fall out.

     Ice blocks/rings         
          Using a large bowl, fill halfway with water; add a few pieces of fruit or veggies. To make an ice ring, place

               a glass in the center (to create the hole). Place in the freezer overnight. Once frozen, run under warm 

               water to loosen the ice from the mold. Ice ring can be hung from a branch; ice blocks can be placed on

               the ground or in a kiddy pool.  

California Potbellied Pig Association, Inc

     Hanging Mop         
          Using a cotton mop head, string cheerios, or clip small pieces of veggies throughout the mop. Hang the mop

               from a branch, 6-10” off the ground.