NOTE most of these photos of are babies who are not this tiny at this time..we do not adopt out tiny babies.. most will be at least 8 weeks or older..
Please tell us :
*where you live, house, land, housing, fencing
do you own or rent
*about your family, kids, dogs, other animals
their housing and lifestyle
*your normal life, schedule, how much time home or away from home
*what pets have you had in the past and where are they now? have you ever had to rehome a pet? why..
*who is your veterinarian
*anything else you feel might be important
info will be reviewed by our board and we will reach out for further info or to schedule a visit
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INFO BEFORE CONTACTING US
So You're Thinking of Getting A Potbellied Pig
March 17, 2012 at 8:14 PM
Are you sure you're prepared? Have you done research? And by this I don't mean on breeders' websites. A breeder wants to sell you a pig, so are they going to tell you about the negative things? No, they won't. Are there negative things about owning a pet pig? Yes, there are. If you want the whole truth, visit a rescuer's website, or ask a rescuer/sanctuary owner. If they've been rescuing pigs for any length of time, they will have seen it all.
The first thing you need to know, is there is no such breed as a teacup pig, micro mini pig, pixie pig, royal dandie, or any other of the multitude of names breeders give their pigs, to make them sound as tiny as possible. All of these pigs are potbellied pigs, sometimes called mini-pigs, not because they remain kitten-sized their whole lives, but in relation to a farm hog, who can weigh as much as 1000 pounds and stand waist high to a human. So if the breeder is telling you the cute little piglet you are looking at will only be 20 pounds full grown, they are LYING. I think this is the most important factor to remember when thinking about getting a pig. Are you going to be able to handle a 100-180 pound animal? This is not a large dog, who you can easily leash train, this is a solid, sturdy, opinionated, stubborn pig. Don't get me wrong, pigs can be leash and harness trained, but they are generally not going to follow you willingly down the road. It's like harnessing a cat. They have minds of their own, and if they get it in their head that they are going to trot into your neighbor's garden and eat all his petunias, are you really going to be able to stop him? Some breeders will show you the tiny parents. You need to ask- how old are the parents? Pigs grow for the first 3 to 4 years of their lives. If the parents are only a year or two old, they are NOT full-grown. If they are older, and still tiny, they were the runts of their litter, and runts are generally not optimally healthy. It is possible that by fluke, the pig did remain small-ish. Maybe 80 pounds or so. I've never seen a fully grown, healthy pig smaller than that. But- a pair of small-ish parents can still bear average sized offspring. Again- average being between 100 and 180 pounds.
Now, besides the size factor- do you have the proper facilities for a pig? A pig should never live in an apartment. They need a securely fenced yard, to be able to get outside and do the things a healthy pig needs to do, like root in the dirt, soak up the sun, and generally just be a pig. I won't say I disagree with pigs living in the house, I have 5 inside myself, and I would say they are quite happy with the situation. Pigs love their comforts, and a nest of blankets in a roomy crate or a quiet room can make them just as happy as a nest of hay in a draft-free barn. But they NEED to get outdoors time. They can be quite easily trained to use a litterbox. but it's much easier to train them to go outdoors. They won't like going out in the cold or the rain. Litterbox training is often hit-or-miss, some will never fail to use it, but others will be too lazy to walk too far. And the shavings make a huge mess. Are you willing to make a ramp for them if you have stairs? Pigs aren't the most graceful animals when it comes to stairs. A lot of people carry their pigs up and down stairs, but you can injure them by carrying them, if you don't have a good hold on their back end, you could injure their spine. Do you have a carefully manicured lawn/garden? You probably won't like a pig rooting up the grass or flowers to get at the cool dirt beneath to have a nap.
Getting along with other pets/children- pigs and cats are often very compatible. They're actually quite a bit alike, so they often find each other kindred spirits. Pigs and dogs on the other hand, can be very volatile. I would recommend pigs and dogs always be supervised. I've heard too many stories of dogs getting fed up with the pushiness of a pig and biting them. I've seen my own gentle dog, who loves everything and everyone, snap at one of the pigs. She's never connected, and actually gave the pig a big sloppy lick afterwards, but just think of the damage those teeth could do to delicate piggy skin. Conversely, a male pig with tusks can do a lot of damage to a dog too. But in the end, a dog is a predator, and a pig is prey, so be very, very cautious. Young kids can sometimes be a problem too. Pigs don't like fast movements, or loud noises, and kids are generally very good at both. Kids will want to pick up a young pig, something that pigs generally hate. A young child could be hurt inadvertently, with a pig just wanting to climb into their lap. I've been pinched and bruised by their hooves many times. So, along with dogs, kids too should be supervised around a pig at all times.
Feeding and vet care- You will have to find a supplier of mini-pig food, which isn't always readily available. You might have to ask your pet store to order it in special for you. Mazuri makes a great product, but there are others. Never feed them dog food. It has way too much sodium in it for a pig, and too many calories as well. Commercial pig (hog) food is often meant to put weight on very quickly, so be wary of anything that says "grower" on it. Fresh veggies are a great option, along with the proper pelleted diet. Fruit can be given as a treat. Many pigs are fed too many treats and become obese. This is extremely unhealthy for them, just as it is for us. They may even become "fat blind" when the fat on their faces completely cover their eyes. Their little legs are not made for carrying around a vast amount of weight. A pig should be sleek looking, and have a "waist" when looking down at them from above. Many vets are unfamiliar with potbellied pig care. Some don't want the hassle of dealing with a reluctant, squealing patient. Make sure you find a knowledgeable vet before bringing a pig home. You can likely learn to trim your pigs hooves at home, but it's a good idea to get a vet to show you how to do it right. A male pig will need his tusks trimmed as well. They also need to be spayed and neutered, just like any other companion animal. Tumours and cancers can result in an unfixed pig. An unspayed female will go into her heat cycle every 21 days, and she will likely be moody, snarly, and want to wander in search of a male. An unfixed male will have a strong odor, and may have "humping" tendencies, just like a dog. Their tusks will likely grow faster as well.
Personalities- A pig is generally not too taken with human companionship, initially. A piglet will have to learn to trust humans. A grown pig may trust some humans, but you'll still have to earn his trust as an individual. They don't just automatically love everyone, like most dogs, they haven't been domesticated for long enough. A piglet that hasn't been socialized will be very skittish, and it'll take a while for him to trust. Some pigs just never get the urge to be friends with a human. You will just have to love him on his own terms, and not let your feelings be hurt if he doesn't want to snuggle beside you. Some of them will love you unconditionally, and seek you out for belly rubs and companionship. Others just look at you as a food dispenser. They are not dogs, so don't expect them to behave like a dog. Though some, undoubtedly, do. You need to accept them for who they are- if they don't want to be petted and snuggled, just delight in watching their antics, relishing their food, and taking pleasure in the simple joys they find in life.
The law and your pig- Most large cities and even smaller towns consider potbellied pigs farm animals. Make sure you check your zoning bylaws before getting a pig. Many a pig has lost a great home because someone didn't check the laws, and a neighbor has called the authorities. It might be a good idea to check with your neighbor's regardless of the laws, as you don't want to bring a pig into a hostile situation. Many people still believe that pigs are dirty, smelly creatures, and don't want to live next door to one. Pigs are anything but smelly, and they are quite clean, though they do like to stick their noses in dirt and sometimes roll around in it. Some people just don't want to believe that, though, and are concerned about their property value going down with a pig next door. If you are renting- be CERTAIN to ask your landlord if it's ok.
Are pigs destructive in a home? They can be. A pig needs a lot of stimulation and company. If you're going to be at work for 8 or 9 hours a day, a young or very active pig will get bored. What does a pig do when he's bored? Anything he wants. He might root up your carpets, chew your drywall, rip wallpaper off the wall, tip over your plants and get into your garbage can. They seem to be perpetually itchy, and will rub on the corners of walls and furniture. If you're going to be away for long periods in a day, you might be better to put them outside in a secure enclosure, with protection from rain or extreme weather. I've always been worried about pigs digging under fencing and escaping, or someone, ( a meter reader, postman, etc) not latching a gate properly, so I'm more confident confining them to a room in the house that has been pig-proofed, with things left out for them to do. You can leave them with busy balls, lots of blankets for digging in, maybe some magazines or newspapers for them to shred. Some of them like throw pillows, and will actually throw pillows, literally. Most pigs are happiest when people are around, though, so the less time you can be away from them the better. Some people do crate their pigs, though I don't believe in it. If your pig was raised with a crate though, and actually goes into it for comfort and rest, you may be able to crate them for short periods.
In closing- the main reasons pigs end up needing to be re-homed are: Misrepresentation or misconception of size. Laws and ordinances against keeping swine. Destructiveness-(boredom) Lack of bonding with humans. Incompatibilty with existing pets, children.
If you really want a pet pig, take all these factors into consideration. And remember, pigs can live for up to 20 years, so it's a long-term commitment. It's a whole different kind of relationship than with any other pet. But it can be an extremely rewarding one.