Everything You Should Know About Having a Mini Pig
Did you know that pigs chew bubble gum like people do? And just like people they spit it out when they are done!
My friend Randi has a couple of adorable mini pigs named Philip and Kahlua. Kahlua is 3 and spent the first few years of her life in a house with six children and now prefers to live outdoors by herself. In fact, when she is indoors she knocks down chairs until she’s let out again. Philip is almost 1 and is the opposite. He prefers to be inside, and when he is outside he hangs out by the front door until he’s let back in. Although they are super fun, a pig is not something to be bought on a whim. Before you add one to your family, you should do your research because you could end up getting more than you bargain for—and I mean a lot more.
There are about 20 breeds of mini pigs that vary vastly in height and weight. For instance, a Juliana is around 40 pounds fully grown, but a 2 year old pot belly can reach up to 200 pounds. Also, a mini pig is anything less than 300 pounds, which is actually pretty small compared to a farm pig that can weigh over 600 pounds. In fact, pigs don’t stop growing until age five, so it’s tough to say how big your pig will actually be.
A pig is an adorable pet but requires a lot of work so make sure you can actually accommodate one before getting one. Philip was supposed to be a Juliana, like Kahlua, but at almost 12 months he’s already bigger than Kahlua, so his adult size is undetermined.
Pigs are not like dogs that can eventually be left alone at home while you’re away for a while. In fact, they’re smarter than dogs. They have the mentality of a very intelligent toddler, and like a toddler, they should always be supervised otherwise they can be destructive. When bored they often root through cupboards, knock over furniture and even tear it apart. They are very strong. They need stimulation such as toys that are safe if consumed and not easily destructible.
They are very social animals and usually need another pig, or other animals, to keep them company. Philip’s best friend is a puppy named Cashy, a Shih Tzu and Maltese mix, and although they get along together really well, they are never left unsupervised.
Pigs have a hierarchy system and will usually try to push you, or other animals, around so they can be at the top. Dogs tend to snap at pigs when they act this way and pigs will often fight back. Philip and Kahlua tend to fight when they are together because they are still establishing their hierarchy. You cannot show weakness because they will use it against you. It is important that you maintain the hierarchy or they will begin to rule your house
Pigs have huge hearts and they express their emotions more strongly than dogs do. Just like dogs, they are extremely loyal. However, they can also be brats who won’t follow the rules if you let them, and once they get away with something they never forget it and will continue to try to get away with it. If pigs are upset with you they will swipe their face across you to let you know they don’t like what you are doing. Kahlua will bite when she swipes, but Philip has never bitten anyone purposely.
Did I mention pigs are hungry all the time? You really have to learn to ignore them and only feed them at designated times to maintain their weight because they could literally eat all day long. They gain weight very quickly so they require a strict and balance diet. They can mostly eat what people eat because they can digest what we can digest. One thing you should avoid is anything with too much salt because it can actually kill a pig since they do not have the ability to process it through sweat glands like we do because they don’t have any sweat glands. They also can’t eat green tomatoes or the leafy parts of red tomatoes because they are in the nightshade family. Additionally, they can eat corn, but not corn cobs since it can block their intestines.
Philip and Kahlua eat things like low sodium dog and cat treats, Cheerios, granola, fruits, vegetables, nuts, chocolate, peanut butter, eggs, and oatmeal. Philip’s favorite is broccoli and Kahlua loves to eat pears. They also like to graze on grass. They receive treats throughout the day during training. Pigs can learn lots of tricks very quickly—with food as a motivator of course. Kahlua learned to sit in just 20 minutes and has never forgotten.
Pigs will try to eat practically everything you give them so make sure that everything they have access to is edible. Randi buys her pigs special food online that is all natural and unprocessed because processed food can lead to skin problems like flaking, dryness, redness, and itchiness. Since pigs tend to suffer from these skin conditions already, it’s best not to make things worse. In fact, she gives Philip a supplement in his food to help his skin. She also puts coconut oil on him once a week. Which he eats!
Kahlua moisturizes her skin daily by rolling around in her mud pit. This also helps to cool her off, since pigs cannot regulate their own temperature, and acts as sunscreen and insect repellent. Pigs need an outdoor enclosure so they can have mud pits, are able to root around in dirt, and graze on grass. They need shelter with straw to get out of the weather and stay warm. They also need a shaded area to stay out of the sun because they can suffer from sunburns. They need food, water, and toys. If your pig is going to live outdoors you need to take the time to give them attention daily because they are very social creatures. If your pig will be outdoors consider getting two pigs so they can keep each other warm in the winter and meet their social needs.
Pigs can be potty trained, but it’s a bit tricky. Randi tried potty training Philip with a litter box, but found that it only confused him. He began to think that any box was his commode. Now he just goes outside with the dogs. He has to be let out regularly since it takes at least a year for a pig to be capable of holding their bladder for long periods of time. He has an enclosure outside that he stays in during the day while everyone is gone since he is unable to hold his bladder.
Mini pigs make great pets as long as you do your research and you are prepared to meet all of their needs. Remember when owning a mini pig the best tool at your disposal is a lot of patience and a lot of love.
Would you ever consider adding a mini pig to your family? Why or why not? Leave a comment and let us know!