Having a mini pet pig can be a very fulfilling experience. Knowing the ins and outs of mini pig behaviour is the best way to prepare for mini pig parenthood! Knowing what to expect will ensure a happy and healthy home environment.
We will touch on a few "must knows", but we highly recommend that you visit the American Mini Pig Association for more info.
Pigs Are Very Intelligent!
Understanding a bit about their instincts is helpful. Just like us, mini pigs are Omnivores. This means that their instinct to find food is very strong. They love almost anything and in the wild they would spend a lot of time rooting around looking for food. Providing activities for them to relieve their natural instincts to root and rummage will help keep your pig content and happy and less likely to get into things.
Science says that a mini pig can have the intellect of a 3- or 4-year-old child. They learn things very quickly and you can teach them lots of tricks. They need lots of attention and they can get very loud when unhappy or bored. Mini Pig proofing is essential, much the same as it is for human baby proofing. They have been known to figure out how to open the fridge, cupboards, and clear low to the ground shelves.
A bored mini pig will get into things! Providing a proper sized crate for your mini pig is a good idea for when they are left alone for long periods of time.
By-laws & Zoning
Make sure to check your zoning. Unfortunately, not every city or town allow mini pigs as pets. We are hoping this will change soon. However, to avoid the terrible situation of having your beloved pet mini pig removed, it's best to do your homework ahead of time. There are some loop holes and we would be happy to chat with you should you have more questions.
Pigs Are Prey Animals
In the natural world, they are preyed upon by predators. The instincts of a prey animal are much different which is why mini pigs can be a bit shy in the beginning. They are unlike cats and dogs and can't be compared. They may take a little longer to trust and most do not naturally like to be picked up. It goes against their nature, and this is why they need a lot of handling, love, and patience.
Many people say, "my piglet screams bloody murder when I try to pick he/she up"! This is normal. They are indeed scared they will be carried off and eaten! They need time to get to know you and the best way to do that is to stay low to the ground. Even better, sit with them on the floor and let their curiosity take over. They will come along but it has to be on their terms. Once they have bonded their love is boundless!
Spay and Neutering
If you are intending on a mini pig as a pet, having them spayed or neutered is essential. The ladies come into heat every 21 days. Their heat lasts at least 4 days. They become hormonal, moody, their normal personality changes, and they go looking for "love" in all the wrong places!
The gentlemen are extremely smelly and can become aggressive. They only have one thing on their mind and that is to find the ladies, even if it's not a real mini pig lady! All of our babies go to their homes spay or neutered, micro-chipped, dewormed, and litter box trained. They are sent with a care package and their socialization is well under way.
Mini Pig Sizes
There is no such thing as a "teacup", "micro", "nano" or "pocket" pig! Mini Pigs do not stay tiny like the sweet baby pictures you see of them. "Mini Pig" is the correct way to refer to them. The average mini pig will grow to be between around 60 and 150 pounds and usually 15 to 16 inches at the shoulder. A mature 60-pound mini pig is very rare. Mini Pigs are heavily boned and muscled, hence reflecting their weight.
Regular sized pigs in the commercial farm industry can weigh up to 1000 pounds, so the mini pig is tiny in comparison. Mini Pigs grow until they are between 3 and 5 years old. Don't get a mini pig if you think they will stay tiny! They will not fit in your purse for the rest of their lives!
Proper Pig Handling