There are few things in life so cute and yet so demanding than owning a pet pig. From their cute little snooters, to their moody mannerisms, this article will arm you with all the required information in order for you to make an informed decision if this is the right pet for you or not.
All The Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Pet Pig
Pigs are highly intelligent and get bored easily. A great idea to mitigate this is to get a variety of pet-friendly toys that can act as comfort and will also provide stimulation at the same time, like balls and interactive puzzle toys.
Pet pigs prefer a varied diet and grow tired of the same food. They need a diet that can be adapted regularly in both their tastes that they develop and their nutritional needs while growing!
There are many contradictory articles on the internet, and each person believes something different is good or bad for their pig – just like with their children. The best is to check in with the breeder or the rescue center you adopt you piggy from to see what they have been fed.
A good ratio is fruit in limitation – due to the natural sugar content, and as much fresh, wholesome veggies as possible to supplement a specialized mini pig feed. Other than the USA, potential pig-parents might find it very hard to find a feed especially aimed for mini-pigs. We have provided a basic diet plan later on in this article.
If your piggy is going to be an inside pig, you want to invest in a good quality pet bed that they can use for a long time. A bigger bed is better, so you don’t have to continuously buy another as your little one grows.
They adore soft blankets and love to climb underneath and cuddle with their owners or the other pets in your household.
For an outside piggy, you would want a safe place from the elements; therefore, a stable or a covered area where they can hide will be ideal and then kitted out with a bed and a few soft blankets and hay as well.
When the severe winter is upon is, you might want to consider keeping your pet indoors, if only during the night, but a heat lamp inside their den can do wonders as well if this is not an option.
Pigs communicate in various ways. They can grunt, bark, huff, and even pant. They are incredibly vocal and will try to communicate verbally as much as possible. They can get vocal for many different reasons and many different emotions.
For example, a grunt can be a sign of them being happy; continuous grunting can mean that they are trying to get your attention because it’s feeding time, and when they are content, they tend to grind their teeth as well.
Swine mothers call their babies when it’s feeding time and even sing to them while being nursed.
Grunting and making “monkey noises” that sound like “oof oof” or opens their mouths and an “ah ahhh ahhhh” escapes is generally when they are excited to see you and comes to greet you, especially if you have returned from going somewhere.
Generally, everything that is high pitched is not good! You can consider this getting yelled at! They will try to get your attention to demand food or tell you that they are anxious or stressed.
Pigs can tell you a lot by using their body language as well. A submissive pig will be relaxed and at ease with a lot of tail-wagging to indicate their contentment. When pigs are stressed or anxious, they tend to act out by coming across as aggressive. The best is to give them some space and to continue trying to build trust.
Headswiping is typically done playfully, although it might come across as a rapid movement. You will be surprised at how hard their heads are; therefore, they tend to swipe at you quite hard, but there is no reason to be alarmed.
When something smells really good in the kitchen, or it is close to feeding time, you might find yourself with a relentless piggy, grunting in high pitched levels and having balls of foam at the mouth.
They are known to have over 20 different types of vocalizations with different meanings.
Cuddling and Sleeping
As tiny and as cute as little piglets are, they can be demanding, especially when it comes to attention. Even though they might outgrow your lap completely, they will still want to try and climb into it for comfort. They love contact, especially when they want comfort or long to be in your presence.
Pigs are prey animals. Therefore they despise being picked up, but some of them tend to get used to it over time. If you feel up to the challenge of trying to get your pig accustomed to it, you can start off when they are super small.
You will pick them up for a few seconds at a time every day and then prolong the time they are in the air as time goes by.
Intelligence and Training
Pigs are some of the most intelligent creatures on the planet. They are super smart, and they love to be trained. Newborns can learn their names at the tender age of 2 weeks and even starts to respond to their name then.
Pigs love running, and their form of it is called “zoomies.” They love being silly and will run with you or chase you while exercising in the backyard. This makes them an excellent candidate as a workout partner.
They are super fast and can run, reaching speeds of 11km/h. What is your best time?
Busting a few myths about pigs
Micro and Teacup Pigs – Does not exist!
Be careful of some breeders that pawn of their piglet litters as being small and staying small. This is not correct! There is no recorded history of any breeder owning a pig that is fully grown (5+ years and weighing less than 35 pounds). The appropriate term to use here is a Mini Pig.
The term Mini pig refers to a breed (most commonly the pot-belly variant) that is smaller than size than their cousins found in the commercial animal husbandry field. Fully grown Potbelly pigs can grow between 70-200 pounds easily. So do not be fooled into thinking otherwise!
Pigs are not vegetarian
Like us homosapiens, pigs are omnivores. Be careful of the fact that feeding meat to pigs might be illegal in some countries, but it’s not toxic for them. In fact, they will be much more saturated on a varied and balanced diet, as they are very similar to us in the fact that they don’t like to eat the same thing over and over again.
Pigs are supposed to be fat
False! Pigs have a very similar system to humans and can therefore eat most things like us. However, there are definitely some exceptions to the rule. Most veterinarians will recommend you place a pet pig on the same diet as a human you would do meal prep for.
This will ensure that their diet and routine is controlled (trust us, they will ask for food the whole time and make their case against you when guests visit by making them believe otherwise)
Just as with overweight and obese humans, a pig’s organs have to work extra hard to cope with the added kilos, and it is also not good for their joints, as there is added pressure on their little legs and hooves.
Pigs don’t shed
They do; the amount that they shed is relative, though! Some pigs shed more than others. The reason for them “blowing coat” is to keep cooler in summer; you see, pigs don’t sweat. But don’t fear, their beautiful lush hair will return again in time for winter to keep your baby warm.
Pigs are aggressive
Wrong! They need to be trained and taught as to who the herd leader is since this is how they live naturally. They respond to commands such as “no,” etc. As a toddler, they are stubborn and will push the boundaries.
Never shout at a pig or hit them since this is when they will become aggressive. One method that works is to use a spray bottle and spray them when they aren’t behaving to deter their mischievous mood.
The final say
After reading this article, you will think twice about calling someone a pig and actually meaning it as an insult.
A self-confessed Zoophilist (animal lover) and practitioner of all things pun related, Sharmaine is one of our Word Sculptors and Eagle Eyes. When she is not pouring over content, she enjoys training her Potbelly and animal child, Scout!