Fair Season is upon us, and you’re probably getting ready to show all your livestock. When it comes to showing pigs, however, there are some things you need to take into consideration. Your pig doesn’t just have to look good to score, it has to behave appropriately as well. Taking some time to properly prepare your pig for its time in the show ring is a good way to make sure your pig not only looks the best it can, but is on its best behavior as well. Here are some tips to follow in order to have your best show possible.
It’s always good to make sure your have all your equipment on hand before you even arrive at the show. Be sure to have your box ready to go, preferably the night before, with these essential items included:
- Water hose
- Mild soap
- Work clothes and shoes for washing
- Wash clothes
- Water bucket
- Powder or oil if coat dressings are allowed in your show
Brushing Your Pig
Brush your pig daily for at least a month and a half before the day of the show. Pigs enjoy being rubbed and brushed, so this shouldn’t be a trial. Make sure you brush the hair in its natural direction. Light pigs may need to be brushed more often than dark pigs, as it will help toughen their skin and removes more dirt and dead skin, allowing their color to remain bright.
Wash Your Pig
Use a mild detergent to wash your pig. You’ll want to wash them one or two times before the show, as well as wash them the day before. Be sure that your pig has been washed often enough that it won’t be startled by it happening while at the show grounds. An upset pig is a pig that will get dirty a lot faster than a calm one. When it comes to using conditioners, there are some considerations to take. Oil-based conditioners will attract more dirt, and in hot weather may also clog the pig’s pores, causing them to become hotter. However, many oil-based conditioners use citronella, which is a deterrent to flies and mosquitoes. If you’re allowing your dark pigs to tan (in order to have a darker, more even coat), don’t oil them as this may lead to sunburn.
Don’t Get Water In Your Pig’s Ears
Water in your pigs ears will upset their equilibrium. This can cause some behavior problems, as well as health problems for your pig. Your pig won’t do well in the ring if its equilibrium is off, so it’s essential to be very careful when washing them.
Trim The Hooves
Pay attention to how your pig is walking. You’ll want to trim their hooves two or three weeks before the show, and be careful about how close you’re trimming them. Like a horse, trimming a pig’s hooves too short will cause them to go lame.
Trim Their Hair
Depending on the time of year, your pigs may have short or long hair. During these summer and fall months, it’s important to clip the long hair below the ears (an often forgotten part). Try to have all the hair clipped and trimmed a few days before the show, so that the coat has more time to acclimate and smooth out. A freshly trimmed coat has a tendency to stick out in odd places, much like your own head right after a fresh haircut.
Know Your Animal
Never take a pig you don’t know well to a show. Not only will you not know how they may react to the strange environment and happenings, but you won’t be able to accurately answer any questions that a judge may ask you. It’s best to work with your pig for months before taking them to any show, both in grooming and in training with the crop.
When it comes to showing your pig, the best thing to remember is that a happy pig is a pig that shows well. Pigs like being clean and groomed, and as long as you take the proper steps, your pig will be the best in the show. If you have any more questions about showing your pigs, or any other show animals for that matter, feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help you out.