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Mini Pig Care and FAQ
Mini Pigs As Pets
My passion for the mini pig is one that spans over 25 years. The mini pig is a highly intelligent, playful, loving and clean animal. Like any pet, there are pros and cons to owning a mini pig. Mini pigs (minis) are incredibly social with other minis, humans and other species of animals. They are naturally curious and have an excellent memory. They are capable of learning tricks, being litter trained, and have even been accepted as service animals for people with disabilities. Mini pigs can be great indoor and outdoor pets. They love to snuggle up by your feet (or on the couch) and watch TV with you. They are happy to follow you around and be your little shadow. Being that they are so intelligent, be prepared to invest in some cabinet and fridge locks, as minis are capable of learning how to open cabinets and refrigerators in a matter of minutes. (Seriously, they learn THAT fast!) And their keen sense of smell will trigger them to learn how to manipulate cabinet doors quickly.
DISCLAIMER: The Possible Cons Of Owning A Mini Pig
Where there is a positive, there must be an opposing negative. Now, most interested buyers and breeders aren't going to like what the following information is going to say, but if someone's got to tell you how it might be owning a pet pig, it might as well be me. (Sorry in advance to my fellow mini pig breeders....or to all of the interested buyers who have been dreaming of the perfect mini pig.) The following information is not a typical experience for all mini pig owners, but it can, and does happen. (READ BELOW)
SMARTS = STUBBORNNESS
Mini pigs are SMART, smarter than your dog. (Sorry Lassie) With a little bit of practice, patience and endurance, minis can be trained to do tricks, get potty-trained and learn all sorts of commands. However, little piggy won't do much without a food treat available. Think of them as willing as dogs, but as stubborn as cats and you've got yourself the best of both worlds....a pig! They won't always do their tricks and commands without food. They are intelligent and can be mischievous and will try to outwit you, if they think they can. And sometimes, they just won't do what you want. (Kind of like kids) This includes going potty outside on a rainy or super windy day. Your pig might look at you from the corner of their eye and walk right back inside the house without doing their business outside. So until you and little smarty-swine have the whole potty-training gig down, have a litter tray in the house just in case.
WANT TO HEAR THE MOST ANNOYING SOUND ON EARTH?
Have you ever in your life heard the sound of a squealing pig who is either injured, scared or just wants to be fed? The sound of a pig vocalizing in such a manner, that it comes out in a high-pitched-gut-wrenching-squeal, has got to be one of the most annoying sounds on earth. Seriously, I'm not joking. Mini pigs will squeal to be fed when they are very young and untrained. Their mothers refuse to feed them when they "act up" this way, and you should do the same. DO NOT FEED YOUR MINI PIG WHEN THEY DEMAND FOOD OR TREATS BY SQUEALING! Don't give in, even if it drives you crazy. Just walk away and ignore them. (I know it's hard) Wait until little piggy has calmed down and then you can continue with praise and food. Not all minis will throw squealing fits. Sometimes this happens when they are introduced to a new environment and the piglet "acts out" just like a child would. The key thing is to praise with food and occasional treats when your mini is exhibiting "good behavior" only. They all have their own unique personalities, just as a dog or cat does, and minis can be trained to be quite pleasant indoors. Pigs are vocal animals and you will learn to discern their different grunts, snorts, barks, clicks and other normal pig sounds.
MINI PIGS ARE NASTY CREATURES, AREN'T THEY?
No, mini pigs like to be clean. They are cleaner (or as clean as) and smell better than a dog. They like their sleeping area to be clean and they will do their potty business in one designated area outside or in a litter box/tray. Mini pigs like to root around in the dirt and this is a natural and fun past time for them. They also enjoy a good wallow in the mud, but they love to clean off in their pools, too! You can give them other things to root around in like a "rooting box" filled with sand, or river rocks, and hidden treats for them to find. Because rooting comes very natural to mini pigs, they will do it for fun in your flower bed or in gardens. But they can be trained to root in a designated area that you approve of. When it is hot outside, they like to wade in kid-sized pools and cool off. They LOVE to eat fertilizer, fruit and veggies! So if you have a garden in your yard or on your property, make sure it has a proper fence around it to keep your mini pig out.
MINI PIGS ARE NOT APARTMENT PETS
Mini pigs need room to run around and play. I would not recommend leaving one in an apartment. Boredom can lead to destruction. They are super strong. Think of them as bricks with legs! Mini pigs need exercise every day to keep them healthy and happy. The exercise also ensures that your mini pig does not get overweight. It's good to take your mini for walks. I highly recommend that you have access to a fairly good size back or front yard. They love to graze on grasses, but please make sure that your grass is untreated. No pesticides of ANY kind if you are going to allow your mini to graze on grass in your yard.
TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE
Mini pigs are incredibly social animals (4th smartest animal on the planet) and love being with other mini pigs. They are herd animals. Minis will play, explore, root around, and even snuggle up in a little "pig pile" together. I highly recommend that you buy two mini piglets together, if you can afford to do so. They really do best when paired with a buddy pig. Who else is going to speak "Pig Latin" to them? *hehehe* However, if you do get multiple pigs, get them when they are both young. Introducing an older pig to a newly adopted brother or sister piglet could pose a BIG problem. Especially if they are both indoor house-pigs. If your mini pig is older, you might want to consider just having one super spoiled mini pig. Your first mini pig is probably quite content being "the only pig-child" in the household. Pigs have a hierarchy with each other that starts when they are very young litter mates. As they grow older, mini pigs can become very territorial. If you are worried about your mini pig becoming lonely when you are not around, I'd recommend a different species of animal. I've seen mini pigs get along very well with small to medium size dogs (SHOULD ALWAYS BE SUPERVISED). All of our mini pigs get along great with our cats. If your mini pig is an outdoor pet, they surprisingly get along really well with little pygmy goats. GO FIGURE! Please remember, however, that every situation is unique and not everyone's current animals are going to get along with their new pig. And that also goes for adding a new pig to your already established household of pet pig(s).
BE THE BOSS, APPLESAUCE!
Did I mention that pigs are SMART? They are incredibly intelligent, and because of this, they will try to manipulate situations in order to be the "boss hog" of the house. Just like with dogs and cats, you have to let your mini pig know who is running the show in your household. Be kind and loving, but for the love of hogs, BE THE BOSS! And never, ever, ever feed your mini pig tidbits of your own food from the table while you are eating (or your own plate of food)....NOT EVEN ONCE! Mini pigs should always be fed separately with their own bowl, in their own space. Don't share your food with them. They have an excellent memory and will remember that 1 time that you gave them food from your dish at the table. They will expect this kindness over and over and can become one of those whiny-squeal-babies who DEMAND food. If you are training your pig with treats, that's different. They are working for that specific treat or food and that is their time to impress you (or not) with their awesome learning skills. Praise your mini pig when they are displaying good behavior, and give a little scolding when they are being naughty little swine-sters. Ways to do this, is to use a firm tone of voice and say "NO," to whatever the bad behavior is. Never yell or scream at your pig. Have patience when working with your piggy. Clapping your hands and saying, "NO," to the unwanted behavior is really all you have to do. With especially stubborn pigs, sometimes a little shoulder shove is in order, or a pinch on the rear end works nicely as well. This is not abuse. Think of it more as "tough pig love." This is natural discipline that the piglet's biological mother would do to correct her piglets' naughty behavior. Mama pigs will nip at the air (near the face), shoulder shove their piglets and nip their hind quarters in order to establish who is in charge. Redirect your pig to do a good behavior and praise them for it when they carry out the command. You and your pig will figure out a good routine, and soon enough, your piggy will know the rules of the house. Love your pig, but STAY FIRM AND CONSISTENT.....otherwise, you could have a real dominance issue on your hands as your pig matures.
DON'T EVER OVERFEED YOUR MINI PIG
A good diet is an important part of raising a healthy miniature pig. True to the popular belief that pigs will eat almost anything....they will. Being a good mini pig parent means that you must monitor your piggy's diet and choose quality food for your pet. DO NOT EVER FEED YOUR MINI PIG REGULAR HOG/PIG FEED!!! This will make your mini pig very fat and unhealthy, YUCK! We feed Purina Sow and Pig Complete to ALL of our pigs and our piglets. We switched from Mazuri, to the Purina Sow and Pig Complete and have been pleased with the results. Our pigs have smoother skin, softer coats, shiny hair, and have put on healthy weight. ALWAYS make sure that your pig has access to fresh, clean water. Water is required to keep your pig hydrated and to help your mini pig cool down and to help your mini cool down in the warmer months.
Purina Sow and Pig Complete: http://swine.purinamills.com/OurProducts/SW/ECMD008311.aspx
Here's what you will need:
* Mini Pig Feed (Purina Sow & Pig Complete, Mazuri Brand, or whatever you choose)
* Vegetables (as a daily supplement)
* Timothy or Grass Hay for digestion
* Heavy duty food and water bowls
* Toys (Kibble Nibble Ball, squeaky dog toys, crinkle dog toys, nylabones, whimzees, etc.)
CAN I OWN A MINI PIG WHERE I LIVE?
GREAT QUESTION! It is highly recommended that you research the mini pig and brush up on your homework before you buy one. Just because they are small, does not automatically make them acceptable pets in all ordinances. Mini pigs are still considered a "livestock" animal in most areas. Your community might not allow you to own a mini pig where you live. Please inquire with your city hall, local SPCA or animal control and be sure that your community zoning allows you to own a mini pig, pot belly, teacup, micro or any other name they might go by. Once you've got that question answered, be prepared for the commitment of 15+ years of having a mini pig as a beloved member of your family. You won't be disappointed.
FIND A VET WHO SPECIALIZES IN EXOTIC PETS
Please find a veterinarian in your area who specializes in exotic pets such as mini pigs, reptiles and birds. Vet bills are more expensive for exotic pets, so be prepared for the potential additional costs. If you have a mini as a pet, you must get it spayed or neutered in order for them to act like pets. Buy responsibly when making your mini pig purchase. WE WILL CONNECT YOU WITH OUR TRUSTED VET FOR THE BEST PRICES FOR SPAYS. This helps with temperament and overall quality of life for your mini pig. If your mini pig refuses to eat, is running a fever or is not going to the bathroom normally. CALL YOUR VET!
TEACUPS ARE FOR TEA, NOT PIGS
I know the idea of a super itty-bitty-tiny pig that can fit in the palm of your hand is endearing, but no matter what a breeder "promises," your mini pig is eventually going to grow up......and grow out of that "teacup." A true miniature animal is based on their height and not by their weight. Nobody can guarantee the mature weight or height of a miniature piglet when they are babies. Why? Well, because the piglet is still growing and will continue to do so for the next 3 years of its life. Granted, most of their height growth will happen in the first year. Breeders can only estimate the height according to the piglet's parents and grandparents, and give you a good guesstimate in between the two. If the breeder knows the pedigree of the family, including the grandparent pigs, you are in luck! Piglets tend to carryover more of their genetic makeup from the grandparent pigs. Remember what I said about mini pigs being "bricks with legs?" They simply are. Their body mass is dense, and because of this, pigs are strong animals with stout little bodies. For example, a Chihuahua who measures 9 inches high, and a mini pig who measures 9 inches high, are not going to have the same weight. Not even close. So let's just get over the "guaranteed weight" theory. We won't make silly promises about guaranteed weight, but we will give you an honest guesstimate about probable height at maturity. Do yourself (and your future mini pig) a favor and conduct some research about the breeder you are buying from. If possible, visit their home or ranch and see the piggy parents in person. When in doubt, ask, ask, ask. A good breeder will take the time to patiently answer questions about their herd of pigs, past litters, current litters, future litters, the health of the pigs, pricing and any of your concerns. And if a good breeder is doing their job correctly, they will honestly be able to tell you if a mini pig is not a good fit for you as a pet. I would rather be honest and lose a sale than let one of my piglets be sold to a buyer who is clearly not prepared for the responsibility of owning a mini pig.
***If a breeder does not have time to answer your questions or invite you over to see the animals in person, buyer beware! In fact, buyer better be more than beware, buyer better be running in the opposite direction! Hehehe In all seriousness though, I sincerely hope everyone finds the pet of their dreams and has a successful story in the end.***
Our main goal is to breed quality pet mini pigs, which have been well socialized, loved and nurtured. We want all of our customers to be happy with their piggies. We also want our piggies to go to their forever homes and be spoiled rotten. If you want a pet that will weigh no more than 35 pounds...a mini pig is most likely not the right pet for you. Average mini pigs are at least 65 pounds at a healthy weight. And some can be much heavier. THEY DO NOT STAY SMALL. I REPEAT, THEY DO NOT STAY SMALL!
HOUSING YOUR MINI PIG INSIDE OR OUTDOORS
If you are keeping your precious piggy as an outdoor pet, there are some things that are "required" to give your mini the best possible life outdoors. Shade, an abundance of fresh water at all times, and preferably, a kiddie pool for hot weather. They love to sit in their pools, blow bubbles and wallow in them. It's a bit of an investment, but well worth it, and much cleaner than mud. Mini pigs like to stay CLEAN! They have very course hair, not fur. Yay, for the allergy sufferers! They "do their business" (poop and pee) in one designated area of your yard or their potty spot. (Unlike your average dog, who will poop and pee all over your yard in many spots) Even when piglets are first born, they will leave their nest to "do their business" away from where they sleep. Can you say, "This little piggy is SMART?" (How courteous!) During the winter your mini pig needs shelter to escape the harsh elements. If you live in an area that snows, I recommend a heat lamp for your pigs shelter outside. Just like humans, pigs don't like harsh weather conditions. They don't like super windy days or rainy days or super hot weather. Well made dog houses with a pitched roof are great! Small sheds or barns are even better. Pigs do very well indoors and are safest inside, but if you need to house them outside, that's fine too. Make sure they have plenty of straw for building themselves a cozy bed outdoors. Mini pigs love blankets and sleeping bags and will roll around and cover themselves up and burrow in the bedding to keep warm. You will need a well enforced fenced in yard. Wooden fences, chain link, field fence, or hog wire are all recommended. I've even used pallets as fencing and it works GREAT, and pallets are usually FREE! Believe me, if you don't have a well enforced fence, these animals are VERY INTELLIGENT and will escape your yard. If you are doing any kind of wire fencing, it would be wise to dig a trench under the fencing and line it with wooden studs (or more wire fencing of your choosing) so that they can't dig out. Mini pigs will see the signs of defeat and leave the fence alone if they know that they can't escape after several attempts. This sounds like you can't contain them, but honestly, you can. Just like you would for your dog or other farm animal, have the proper type of fencing designed for your pig. This is mostly to keep your piggy safe from other predatory animals in your area.
SPAYING AND NEUTERING IS A MUST IF YOU ARE NOT A BREEDER
If you are not planning to breed your mini pig, it is imperative that you have your mini spayed or neutered to promote quality of life and reduce the chances of cancer. An intact (not neutered) male has quite a pungent odor and is not desirable as a pet. Intact females go into heat (estrus) about every 21 days and can get moody, aggressive, humpy, anxious, forego their potty training and even try to escape to find a mate. Spaying or neutering will prevent unwanted bad behavior, pregnancies, a decline in health and help reduce the number of mini pigs that end up in shelters and rescue organizations. When purchasing your mini pig as a pet, we make sure that all of the little males are neutered before they go to their new forever homes. Our local vet at "Look Ahead Veterinary Services," in Oroville, CA will spay our customer's mini pigs at the customer's expense. Let us know if you need help making an appointment. Having a spayed mini pig makes a HUGE difference in behavior, keeping them on track with potty training and will also insure that your piggy is healthy and lives longer.
** Please remember, it's not a matter of IF you are going to spay or neuter your pet mini pig, it's a matter of WHEN? **
DO YOU SELL MINI PIGS WITH BREEDING RIGHTS?
I am open to selling piglets as breeders, and their prices range according to size, color and gender. All future breeders are affordable. All piglets sold as future breeders must be paid for in full by 6 weeks of age. All proven breeding adults must be paid for in full once the sale is final. We must have a few conversations before I agree to sell any of our future breeder piglets or proven breeders. APPROVED HOMES ONLY. Please know that I will be incredibly selective about who I sell breeding pigs to. I am no longer open to trading pigs from another breeder’s herd, as we are ending our mini pig breeding program in June of 2018. I am, however, interested in helping other breeders obtain some of the smaller lines of mini pigs for their future breeding program before I close the doors on ours. All of my herd has been documented on Facebook with updates over the years. You can literally track the progress of our small breeding herd without confusion. Let's talk!!
HOW DO THE NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSITS WORK?
Retainer fees, also known as, Non-refundable deposits are required to hold the piggy of your choice. Non-refundable deposits of $75.00 (depending on the pig) will reserve and hold your piglet for you. If you don't fall in love with a current piglet that we have available, your deposit will roll over to a future litter so that you pick the perfect piglet of your choice. DEPOSITS ARE HELD FOR UP TO 4 MONTHS FOR YOU TO DECIDE ON THE PERFECT PIGLET FOR YOU. AFTER 4 MONTHS, YOUR DEPOSIT IS CONSIDERED A FORFEIT, UNLESS WE HAVE MADE OTHER ARRANGEMENTS. PLEASE BE 100% SURE THAT A PET MINI PIG IS THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOU. The security deposit ensures that you can pick your favorite pig (based on availability), get updated pictures and videos, name your piggy, have a piglet started on potty-training, and your piglet will be sent home with a socializing article written by Aura Aragon. Your piglets has been introduced to chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits and other pigs. Your piglet is usually ready to be picked up by 6-7 weeks old. Please be ready for them.
(If your favorite pig needs more work on their social skills, I will let you know. There is no deception on this farm, and if your piggy is sent home needing more social interaction, I will let you know in advance. All piglets come home with a socializing article and we will discuss in great detail and step-by-step socialization that might be needed.)
PLEASE READ MY ARTICLE ON SOCIALIZING MINI PIGS FROM MINI PIG BREEDERS, INC.
All visitation is now for seriously interested buyers, ready to buy or place a deposit on their piggy. Just like you, we have a busy schedule too, with family and full-time work. Please remember that we are a small hobby farm, and we do not make our living simply raising mini pigs. Please note that your piglet will be confused when they first arrive home with you. They might be a little scared and even skittish to their new surroundings. They've just been uprooted from their mom and siblings, and it will take them a little time to get accustomed to you and their new home. Be patient, as this is the "adjustment period" for your pig's new arrival. Give them their own space to get acclimated to, and give them lots of love and praise just for being so darn cute! They warm up quickly to their new human families, and in no time, you will wonder what you ever did without them in your life beforehand.
TO SHIP, OR NOT TO SHIP
As we phase out of breeding the mini pigs, we will not be offering shipping. You are welcome to hire a ground transport/pet nanny to have your pig shipped to you at your own expense.
OUR PROMISE TO OUR PIGGY CUSTOMERS
Our guarantee to our customers does not stop when you bring your piggy home. We are always just a phone call, text or email away to answer questions or concerns about your mini. We understand that life can throw some unforeseen events your way from time to time. And if you are unable to keep your pig for years to come, whether it be an unexpected move or other type of hardship, we will always take our beloved piggies back. You won't be refunded what you paid for the pig, but we will ensure that your pig will have a loving home either with us, or another loving family. (The pig(s) must be in good health in order for us to take them back, and I will require a statement from your veterinarian ensuring their good health, and at your own expense. Transport of the pig(s) is also at your own expense as stipulated in our contract) We go through a whole process before reintegrating and taking back our pigs. They must be inspected by our vet, vaccinated, wormed, and quarantined for observation and behavioral analysis. This all takes money, time and a lot of patience. Many breeders do not take back their pigs, or they will only take back piglets. We will take back any of our pigs at any age if you are unable to keep or care for your healthy pig. Please, if your pig becomes ill or injured, live up to your responsibilities as a good pet owner and take them to your vet. It's the right and humane thing to do.