• Teacup Pigs

  • So you want a teacup pig?

     

    Teacup pigs are a myth

    Teacup pigs are a myth. This is a piglet. He will grow up to be between 80-120 lbs.

    At Rooterville, over the past 25 years, we have taken in many “teacup pigs” after they have grown much larger than a breeder promised.  So we think we have good experience that can help you make the best decision for your family.  Please take a moment to check out what a “teacup” pig is, what to expect, how to care for them and how to make sure a pig is the right pet for you.

    First, can a breeder promise the size of a pig when grown and what happens if the pig exceeds the size they promise?

    A breeder is typically interested in one thing, getting you to part with your hard earned money to buy what you want.  People will pay crazy prices to get what they want, too!  So we recommend instead of supporting a breeder, why not rescue instead?  A rescue has every intention of putting the right pet into the right home and will likely adopt out an animal at a financial loss, just to make sure they get a great home.  A rescue will also be honest with you, if they feel a pig is not the right pet for you or your expectations are not grounded in reality, they will be honest enough to tell you.  Profit will be a breeder’s motive in finding a home, as long as the price is right, a sale will be made.

    Typically, when someone tells you to only feed a small amount of a particular kind of feed, a secret recipe, this is the first sign of danger.  Breeders will tell you to basically starve a pig to keep it small (teacup pig), that way, when you disobey this command, they can blame you for the animal getting bigger than they promised.  We know of one breeder who tells buyers to feed 1 TABLESPOON of feed twice a day!  Starving an animal, especially a pig whose world revolves around food, is criminal.  Hang the phone up on anyone who recommends small amounts of food.  Mazuri and Manna Pro make a quality mini pig pellet.  That is what your pet pig needs and the recommended feeding amounts will be listed on the bag.  Babies need more than adults and Mazuri even makes different formulas based on age.  We’ll talk about diet later.

    A pet pig is not full grown until it is 3 years of age.  At 1 year of age, it is about 2/3 the size it will be when grown.  Females can breed at 3 months of age and males, 8 weeks!  So don’t be surprised if you get to see parents of piglets who are very small.  That’s a common trick, showing parents that are not full grown themselves.

    An average “teacup pig” or mini pig will be 80-120lbs when grown.  There are some exceptions but they are few and far between.  An 80lb pig is about the size of a cocker spaniel and can be as large as a lab at the 120lb range.  If that is too big for you, then please adopt a dog or cat.  Beware of anyone making claims that their pigs will stay smaller than that!

    • What Type of Environment is Right for a Pet Pig?

    [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] Pigs DO NOT make good apartment/condo pets.  They MUST have outside time and though you can train them to use a litter box, you won’t be able to keep them indoors all of the time and they outgrow that litter box quickly.  Unless you adopt an older pig who is happy lying around most of the day, pigs need to get outside and have time to be a pig in a SAFE place.  A bored pig is a destructive pig and babies have LOTS of energy to burn.  Keeping an animal in a crate 6-12 hours a day is cruel.  If you work, a cat or fish will be the best pets for you.

    Pigs need to be outside, have shade, grass and a pond to cool down in.So, the best situation for a pet pig is a securely fenced yard with shade, shelter and a pool on hot days.  Pigs do not sweat so they must be able to keep cool.  A small kiddie pool is great for that.  We keep ours with a hose dripping so the water stays cool and makes a little mud area for them as well.  Keeping a pig on concrete is terrible, don’t do it.

    Pigs tip their water bowls over so an auto-water attached to a fence post or weighted bowl is ideal for them to make sure they have fresh water throughout the day while you’re away.  Feed stores sell black plastic bowls with double walls that are hard for a pig to tip but remember, black absorbs heat so never put a black water bowl in the sun.

    Dogs and pigs are not compatible and should never be left alone without supervision.  They may seem like best friends but eventually, the pig will try to dominate the dog and this will result in a fight which usually will not end well for the pig.  Don’t take that chance, we have seen and heard so many stories of tragedy from people who believed their pigs and dogs were best friends, even growing up together, and they come home to find the scene of a gruesome and horrifying fight to the death.  It just is not worth it.   Don’t be one of those tragic examples, keep dogs and pigs separate when you are not home to supervise them.

    Your pet pig will want to be with you when you are home so if you can, make sure they have plenty of indoor time as well.  Slippery floors are scary for them, so make sure you have rugs down where they can walk without fear of slipping and falling.[/read]

    • What are the do’s and don’t for pigs in the house?

    [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]  Don’t let the pig see where food comes from!  If they see you taking food from the fridge or a cupboard, they will begin helping themselves!  Always provide treats from a counter top, where they cannot reach.  My first mistake with my original pet pig was walking with her to the fridge and getting her a carrot from the drawer.  Before I knew it, she had figured out how to spare me the trPigs are eating pig foodouble and get her own carrots!   Pigs are very smart, don’t let one outsmart you!

    Don’t let them jump up on the furniture.  Jumping is not what pigs are made to do and they can break their legs jumping down from things like a couch or bed.  Never teach them to jump.  Not only that but its not so cute when a 50-120lb pig decides to jump up on the couch when you are on it!  OUCH!!!  Keep the piggy on the floor, they love dog beds and blankies to snuggle in and will be fine down there.  Use a ramp to help them get in and out of places that are too high for them to step up into.[/read]

    • How do pigs cope with the weather?

    [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] This pig stays warm in col weather with hay and an iglooCold—mini pigs do not do well with cold, they HATE it.  They are prone to pneumonia, which doesn’t show symptoms until its almost too late.  An igloo, well stocked with fresh hay is perfect for cold days/nights.  Here at Rooterville, we put blankets over the openings on the cold days and at night to help keep the wind out and the warmth in.  They work great and the pigs love them.  But, the pigs don’t like the hard plastic bottoms so if you get them an igloo, make sure its on soft ground with the bottom removed.  Sanctuaries love the bottoms for feeding trays, so think about donating it to one of them!

    Heat—We’ve talked about the heat a little already, this one is extremely important though!  Pigs cannot sweat, they can also become sunburnt.  It is important that they have plenty of shade in their yard and a way to cool off.  A kiddie pool with dripping water is perfect, some like the mud, it helps keep the bugs off of them too.  Flies are a big problem in the summer time, you can buy a fly repellent made for horses to help keep them at bay and even hang great strips made for barns to catch the nasty pests.  It is important to keep your pigs water out of the sun, where it will get too hot for them to drink.  Shade sails are inexpensive and easy to put up if you’re just a little bit handy.  Make sure your pet pig is protected from the weather.  Installing a large doggie door is a great way to let them have access to the house if you allow them to come inside when you’re away. [/read] 

    • How much to feed your Pet Pig?

    [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] Feeding too much is just as much abuse as feeding too little.  You’re going to have to find the sweet spot that keeps your pig in good shape:  not too fat and not too thin.  A well cared for piggy will have chubby jowls and their bones will not be sticking out.  Generally, a cup of quality mini pig chow twice a day is a good ration for an adult pig.  At Rooterville, we free feed piglets until they are about 6 months of age, then we cut them back to regular feedings.

    You want a piglet to be chubby and have chubby jowls.  If your piglet falls ill, they will need the fat reserves to recover quickly.  A thin piglet will die quickly if it falls ill, don’t let that happen.  Chubby babies are a good thing.

    Piglet Weight Healthy

     This piglet is a healthy weight.

    Obesity is a huge problem though, not just for people either!  

    When your pig is obese, it puts such a strainon their joints that they will become crippled and not be able to move, which exacerbates their weight issues.  They can also become “fat blind”, meaning rolls of fat cover their eyes so they can no longer see.  Pigs will eat as much and as often as you’ll feed them so please BE IN CONTROL of your pig’s diet!  Don’t let your pet become obese; once they are unable to walk due to obesity, you’re looking at having them euthanized which is an absolute shame.  Again, both starving and over feeding an animal are ABUSE, don’t be an animal abuser.

    A pig who is too thin will not have enough muscle or fat on their bodies to cover their bones.  They will look malnourished (because they ARE!), they’ll shake often and you can look in their eyes to see that they are suffering.  Don’t starve a pig,  that is the worst thing anyone could do to one of these animals!  Its shameful,  the people who post pictures and videos of pigs that are being starved to “keep them small”.  Don’t be one of those monsters. [/read] 

    • What to Feed?

    [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] A quality pig chow will be made for mini pigs.  There are several on the market but the most easily found are Mazuri and Manna Pro formulas.  Pig eating peanuthayThey’ll have the recommended amounts to feed on the bag.  Follow that recommendation and also feed fresh greens, veggies and some fruit.  Don’t feed junk food.  Cheerios are ok in small amounts.  NEVER feed your pet pig dog food or corn!  EVER.   A big salad is just perfect for your pet pig.  Pigs that don’t get outside enough can benefit from selenium supplementation but you have to use care, you can over dose on it.  Once or twice a week should be sufficient to make sure your pet pig is getting enough.  We noticed more rooting behavior when not supplementing with it as selenium is found in the soil.  In Florida, our soil is deficient in selenium so supplementing our pigs’ diet with it stopped the excessive rooting.  But a pig will root and you’re going to have to live with that.  They’ll also eat  your plants, so plan for that!  Never put a ring in a pig’s nose to keep them from rooting, that is a natural behavior that they enjoy.

    We feed peanut hay and grass hay to our pigs, they love peanut hay and can eat it in unlimited quantities without gaining weight.  Hay and grass add fiber to your pig’s diet which is important for good health.  Fiber keeps them full and helps keep their gut moving.  It does the same for us!  Most people do not get near the amount of fiber needed in our diet.  If you cannot get peanut hay, don’t feed alfalfa instead!  It contains too much nitrogen and can cause health problems.  A good grass/timothy mix will be fine.

    Constipation can kill a pet pig and it is very serious.  Monitor your pig’s bowel movements to make sure they are going potty enough and it should be soft and large.  Small, hard balls of poop are a sign your piggy isn’t getting enough fiber and/or, enough fluids.  Older pigs may need something added to their water to get them to drink enough during the day.  Cranberry juice and sports drinks are good for flavoring the water to get them to drink more, especially on hot days.  Watermelons are great treats too, to keep them hydrated and provide fiber.[/read] 

    • Do Pet Pigs need supplements?

    [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] At Rooterville, all of our pigs over a year old get joint supplements.  We have found that by starting early, we are staving off arthritis til much later in the animals’ lives.  So find a good joint supplement made for horses or humans and give it regularly.  We like Grand Flex, Majesty’s Joint Wafers (but some pigs don’t care for the taste), but even human joint supplement will work.  Find a good joint supplement and make sure to feed it regularly, this will add years to your piggy’s life.  We don’t recommend supplements made for dogs, dogs are an entirely different animal than a pig, who is closer to humans and horses.[/read] 

    • Who Will Care for Your Pet Pig When it is Sick or Injured?

    [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] Unfortunately, most people don’t think about this until it is an emergency and then, imagine the panic when you cannot find any veterinarian qualified to see your pet pig?  It’s something you should prepare for in advance.  Not all vets will treat pigs, not many even want to.  Pigs are terrible patients, they squeal when something hurts or scares them!  If you’ve adopted from a reputable rescue, your pet pig should come to you spayed or neutered.  This is the first absolute MUST.Sick pig

    It is impossible to live with an un-neutered male pig.  They have one thing on their mind and they don’t care who or what they do it with!  And they stink, bad.  Yuck.  A pet pig must be neutered by a VETERINARIAN, not your friend who neutered farm piglets and wants to save you some money!  A pet pig is different from a farm pig, they do not have a lining separating their intestines from their jewels so they could herniate after an improper neuter.  That means their guts will come out the incisions and that usually results in a slow, painful death.  Next, it is just downright cruel to neuter an animal without anesthesia and pain medication.  If you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to an animal!

    Spaying:  Spaying is necessary, even though you may say that you never intend to breed your pet pig and you want to save the money.  DON’T !  You will end up spending lots more money down the road for an emergency surgery when your pet pig develops a tumor or infection.  Spay your female pet pig.

    If left unsprayed, your pig will come into heat about every 21 days.  When she is in heat, which lasts 5-7 days, she will be totally obnoxious!  She’ll nip and bite you and jump on you like an unneutered dog.  She may lose her potty training.  You won’t be able to stand being around her.

    Not only that, but unsprayed females are very prone to uterine tumors and infections which can be life threatening.  The youngest pig we have seen with a 35lb uterine tumor was only 3 years old.  Don’t take a chance, spay your pet pig.

    You MUST find a veterinarian  who will see your pet pig BEFORE getting one!  Please, this is only good sense.  If you do not have a vet, you could end up causing an animal that you love to suffer and possibly die.  Don’t do that to yourself or an innocent animal.  If there are no vets who will see pet pigs, there’s your sign that a pig is NOT the pet for you.  Heed it. We use Lake Area Animal Hospital. [/read] 

    • How do you keep your Pet Pig healthy?

    [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] A pig needs much less health care than a dog or cat, that’s the good news!  However,  they can still get sick or have health issues that will result in large vet bills.  So expect to make an investment in your pet pig’s health, now or later.

    Parasites:  Pigs are often sold by skanky breeders who keep them in filthy conditions.  They can come with a surprise, scabies or sarcoptic mange.  It is rather humorous when people call to dump their pet pig because they are “allergic” to it, breaking out with red bumps and itching profusely.  And their pig is itchy too, what a coincidence!  NO ONE wants to contract mange, especially if you have children.  Fortunately, it is easily gotten rid of if you catch it quickly.  Ivomectin will do the trick, you can inject it or buy a flavored paste that works well for your pig.  You will need to see your doctor if you have mites though!

    How to tell if a pig has mange:  Its easy to spot mange when you know what to look for!  Scaley skin, a rust color around the pig’s legs and ears, patches of lost hair, constant scratching, these are all signs of mange and it is excruciatingly itchy for the poor animal suffering from it.  Bathes with medicated shampoos, a good insect spray (like the ones made for horses) and Ivomec treatments will get rid of these little pests that burrow under the skin.

    Round worms, Hook worms, worms in general….  Yuck!  Pigs can get worms because they do root in the dirt.  So its important to check for them a few times a year by submitting a stool sample to your veterinarian.  We recommend testing for parasites because if we keep worming without knowing they actually have worms, we are making the worms resistant to the wormers.  That isn’t good.  If you don’t want to spend the money testing, then every 6months or so, worm your pig with a different wormer.  Rotating wormers helps keep the worms susceptible.   Ivomec and Panacur are two good wormers to use.  Your local feed store will carry them.

    Vaccinations:  Your pet pig will not need any vaccinations unless you take him to other places around other pigs.  Pigs are very hardy animals.  There is no approved vaccine for rabies in pet pigs.  Pigs rarely ever get rabies.  If you municipality requires it, your vet will know what to do.  Most do not.  If your pet pig is in a yard where he could step on a nail or get scratched by a rusty fence, your vet might recommend a tetanus vaccine.  But over all, your pet pig should be hardy enough to fend off any diseases on his own.

    Tusk Trims:  The male pigs get tusks, they cannot be “removed”, that is impossible without breaking their jaws.  The females also get tusks but they will never grow big enough to notice.  A male though, could grow an impressive set of tusks.  Rarely do a pet pigs tusks ever get sharp enough to hurt anyone.  The farm pigs and wild pigs do get razor sharp tusks because they have longer faces and more aligned bites.  Pet pigs usually do not have a proper “bite” to make the tusks wear in a manner that sharpens them.  Many people like them, they look distinguished.

    At Rooterville, we only trim tusks when they get close to puncturing the pig’s face.  We use an OB wire that you can buy online at any vet supply company.  They even have OB wire handles you can attach to keep from hurting your hands.  Its easy and inexpensive to trim the tusks yourself and only mildly annoying for the pet pig!  There are videos online but all we do is slip the wire around the end of the tusk and when the pig realizes there is something caught on his tusk, he’ll pull back and usually open his mouth to try and free himself.  This works perfectly in your favor as you can start sawing away with your arms until, in a split second, the tusk pops off.  Simple as can be but it does take some upper body strength!

    Tusks do not have any root in them, the root is actually at the very end of the jaw with the tusk running through the lower jaw bone, giving it strength.  This is why tusks cannot be removed.  So it won’t hurt your pig at all to trim his tusks.

    Here are a couple of things we’ve learned from experience over the years about tusks:  If you trim them to the gum line, you could cause more problems for the animal because the tusk could grow back straight up into the roof of the mouth, which is very painful and will cause them problems when they try to eat.  You’ll be trimming them A LOT if this happens!

    Just trim the tusk to the lip line, if you have to trim them short.  Leave some sticking out so it will continue to grow outward.  Or just trim the tip off to keep it away from his face.

    If your male pig doesn’t grow tusks that protrude from his face, BEWARE!  Those tusks are growing, we’ve found that if they push down from the top tusk, they may be pushed out at the root and cause infection and other problems for your pet pig that you may not even notice.  Its good to get their teeth checked every few years and look at those bottom tusks to see what is going on with them.  If they get an infection, pulling a tusk is difficult, to say the least!  You’ll need an experienced vet to do something like that.  And a patient one, as it will take time to work the tusk loose enough to remove it without breaking the pig’s jaw.  Its tricky. [/read]

     

    After all of this, Is a Pet Pig Right for YOU?

    Some people are going to do whatever they want to do without listening to anyone’s advice.  Don’t let that be you.  Ask your friends and family about getting a pet pig, see what their reaction is.  Do your homework!

    Let me say this one extremely important thing to you before you run out and get your teacup pig…..  In the event you can no longer keep that pig, what will you do with it?  What if it gets too big for you to handle?  What if you move, get married, get divorced, have kids, go to college or any one of the hundreds of excuses people have to dump an animal they expected to have forever???  Then what?

    Here is the truth:  THERE ARE FEW, IF ANY, OPTIONS FOR ADULT PET PIGS ANYMORE!!!!!  Did you get that?  When you can no longer, for whatever reason, keep your pet pig, there is nowhere for him or her to go.  NO WHERE.

    Do you know what that means?  You’re going to put your ad on Craigslist or SwipSwap or any one of the free ad places out there and you’re going to get a whole bunch of interest but not from folks wanting a used pet pig to be a pet!  People scour these places looking for a pig for their BBQ or freezer, dog bait (oh yes, people love to watch dogs tear a live pig to bits, its great family fun these days especially in the South!), target practice or even snake food!  Is that what you want for your pet?  Call your local shelters or animal control agency and ask if they take pet pigs, ask what they do with them when they get them.  Many places actually AUCTION THEM OFF to the highest bidder.   If they humanely euthanize them, they are in the minority.  Some will even let employees take them home to butcher them.  Nice….  But reality!

    Sanctuaries are full because too few people do their homework or understand what a lifetime commitment is.  They want something like it’s a toy to be thrown away when the cuteness wears off.  Unfortunately, few people see the value in supporting a sanctuary so space is always limited.  So please THINK carefully, before getting any “pet”, about what you’re going to do when you have to get rid of it or if you’re the kind of person who will stick by that animal through thick and thin.

    Here are some questions for you, if you answer “yes” to any of them, a pet pig is probably not the right pet for you.  Trust the truth!

    Do you have small children or plan on having kids?

    Did you want the pig to live solely in the house/apartment?

    Is your yard beautifully landscaped and maintained:

    Is your yard un-fenced?

    Do you have dogs that like to play?  Especially large dogs?

    Does it bother you to have an animal scream at the top of its lungs when being handled?

    Do you want a pet who will play with you?

    Do you want a pet who will take walks and go places with you?

    Do you want a pet you can take to the vet by yourself?

    Having a pet pig is like having a wild deer for a pet in many ways.  They may bond with you and be a great friend but at the end of the day, they are a wild animal and they will revert to their instincts to protect themselves, even from you.  They will run when frightened and will not come when called.  They are difficult to train for the average person.  Pigs are aggressively territorial.  They need room to be a pig and forage and express their natural instincts to be happy.  They will always do best with another pig for their companion.  Pigs are great pets for the right people, but terrible choices for most!  Visit a sanctuary and spend some time with pigs to be sure they are for you!  Please support your local sanctuaries, they are the only hope for these wonderful animals!