A/S/L? and More FAQs

  • How old was Lucky when we found him?

Determining Lucky’s age has been challenging, and since we don’t have any documentation on his birth, we have had to develop a best estimate. According to one Tractor Supply employee, he was 4-5 months however a second employee estimated he was only a couple of weeks. A vet from PetSmart’s Banfield Pet Hospital approximated his age at about 2-3 months, while our vet (an exotic animal vet) estimated he was about 1.5-2 months.

The Queensland Government’s website housed a chart that showed example growth curves for three herds. From this data, we can estimate Lucky was only a few days old. However, since he seemed have a decent amount of hair and a few of his teeth had already grown in, we thought be might be more than a few days old.

A growth chart published in a 1938 article titled A Normal Growth Curve for Swine from the Journal Hereditary, showed the average growth weight of pigs based on data from 457 swine. Based on his weight (approximately 3-4 lbs) Lucky was about a week old.

We guessed that Lucky was about 2 weeks old when we found him. 

  • What sex is Lucky?

Despite his nipples, Lucky is a male.

At first, we thought he was a female and we held a poll on Facebook to determine her name. The top two contenders were Grace (my suggestion) and Gurtrude and Gurty for short (my husband’s idea). Gurty won.

The mix-up came from more than looking at his nipples. From our research, we learned that like human babies, piglets’ umbilical cords dry up and fall off.

My husband who caught a glimpse of Lucky’s undercarriage thought what he saw was the area where Lucky’s umbilical cord had dropped off. However, it was in fact, Lucky’s boy bits.

We went back to the name debate and finally decided on Lucky. Prior to deciding, we ran another poll on Facebook and this time, we accepted suggestions since we didn’t like anything we thought of. At the time, my favorite name was Walter. We received numerous hog-related suggestions, such as Hamlet, Chris P. Bacon, and Kosher. After we chose Lucky, we heard the name suggestions Latke and Matzah Ball, both of which we liked although not enough to change his name… again.

Lucky the feral piglet digging in wood chips
  • Why was Lucky alone?

Pigs are pack animals and naturally want to be together. Since he was so small, we figured there had to be a reason he was walking on the road all by himself.

One guess was that Lucky’s mom turned him out for being a runt, or perhaps, sickly.

Another prediction was that something happened to his mom, such as she had been hit by a car or the victim of a hunt. Remember, even large hogs have predators.

We can’t be sure as to why Lucky was alone, although we were sure that he would perish and we couldn’t let that happen.

wild hog looking at the camera
  • Why does Lucky squeal and squirm when picked up?

Through evolution, pigs have learned that typically when they are lifted off of the ground, they are about to die a gruesome death, typically at the hands of another hungry animal looking for a meal.

Therefore, when they are lifted, they wiggle and squeal to get away from whomever – or whatever – is holding them. They try to attract attention and help, scare off their predator and cause enough of a distraction that they will be placed in the trust of gravity and once on the ground, they can escape.

Lucky’s imprinted on us and we have formed a bond. He often lets me hold him, unless we are going to take a shower. Lucky’s not thrilled about showering… yet.

Lucky the pig bottle feeding
  • Where does Lucky reside?

Lucky calls Central Florida home.

While we won’t ever replace his hog family, my husband and I have become his parents and our son and daughter have embraced him as another member of our family.

He has two four-legged siblings, Clover, a domestic short hair cat with thumbs, and Lola a hairless Chinese Crested dog. Needless to say, Lucky fits in well with our brood.

We’ve been longtime supporters and foster parents for the all-volunteer non-profit organization Poodle and Pooch Rescue. Once we settle into a routine, we will likely begin fostering special needs dogs again.

Lucky in Moana
  • What were Lucky’s Health Issues When You Found Him?

Shortly after we brought Lucky home, he started having diarrhea.

We did a little research to find out what could cause diarrhea and its health implications. It turns out, this is really bad for pigs. This frequent expulsion of bodily fluids is often fatal for feral piglets as they lack nutrients and suffer from dehydration.

From here, his health started to deteriorate and he entered the danger zone. We didn’t know if Lucky was going to survive, so we did some more research, ensured he drank his colostrum and milk, and took him to a vet.

The description of Lucky’s health issues and treatments gets a bit graphic, so I’ll stop here. If you’re interested in the details, read the post on Sick Piggy.

Sick ill wild hog recovering and smiling