Everything you Need to
Know about Pet Pigs and Keeping Pigs as Pets
Keeping pet pigs is rather fashionable
these days; mini pigs, micro pigs, tea cup pigs and even pot bellied
pigs are in. If George Clooney can have a pet pig then why shouldn't
Pigs are intelligent, gregarious,
greedy and hedonistic. They are also curious. Being both intelligent
and curious can soon prove problematic for those of you who are
thinking about keeping pet pigs. This is because they will soon find a
way to escape their enclosures, no matter how long you have spent
making sure they stay in! Once they have made the first great escape
they will try again, and again and again. So they are determined little
beasts but they will also give you much pleasure.
When keeping pet pigs you will notice
that your pigs love attention and will bask in being spoken to, enjoy a
scratch behind the ear and a good scrub down with a brush. However,
never slap a pig on the rear end, or on the shoulders. Your pet pig
will hate this, will be unforgiving to those who attempt this, and will
sulk for days, if not weeks.
KEEPING PIGS AS PETS And a Word of Warning
Keeping pigs as pets can
be fun, but
you also need to be careful with them when you feed them. Many a person
can relate a tale of losing fingers to pigs by leaving their hands a
little too long in the trough when spilling out the feed. A pig is a
voracious eater and being an omnivore will eat virtually anything,
including your hand if it is anywhere near his feed! So exercise
KEEPING PIGS AS PETS and a Pig's Diet
Pigs are also excellent
large litters which they are fairly good at in looking after, which
makes them a great source of extra income if you are thinking of
selling off the piglets from your pet pigs. They are also good as work
animals because their smelling abilities make them ideal for sniffing
out black gold; truffles.
If you don't have truffles don't despair as
you can use your pig as nature's plow for fields that need turning
over. In foraging for roots and food beneath the ground they use their
strong snouts to amazing depths in the soil and make subsequent
cultivation of that land very much easier.
However, if you find that pigs are really damaging the land that you
have put them on this
foraging activity can be curtailed by having a ring or two inserted
into the edge of their snouts. Although this is a fairly painless
process it should be carried out while the pigs are fairly young. Pigs
love to eat excess whey milk after you have made your cheese, they will
also eat vegetable scraps and spent veggie crops, and fallen fruit from
KEEPING PIGS AS PETS And Choosing What to Pig to Buy and Why?
Pigs come in all shapes,
sizes and different breeds result in different temperaments. The first
thing you should be deciding on is why you want to keep pigs for pets
in the first place. After that it then gives you direction as to which
pig breed would better fit your needs and the appropriate pig care your
pigs would then receive.
Pink-skinned pigs like the one in the
picture above suffer terribly from sunburn, and so if you don't have
any kind of natural or man made shelter for this type of pig, then this
breed would be unsuitable for you. Some purebreds are colored, like
the red Tamworth and Duroc
and black pigmented Berkshire and Large
Black. The Saddleback and Hampshire
are also black breeds but carry a
distinctive white belt over the shoulders and down the front legs.
Potbelly pigs are another firm favorite
when keeping pigs as pets.
Few people realize just how big pigs
can grow. Your pet pig could end up weighing in excess of 200 kg! This
is another reason why you need to make sure that those fences are
strong! If you choose a miniature pig as a pet their mature weight
range could be around 20 - 50 kg. Still no featherweight!
Your pet pigs are sociable animals and
therefore would prefer to be in a small group rather than being on its
own. Therefore it is advisable to get more than one so that they can
keep each other company. You will also find in doing this, that your
pigs will get up to less mischief as they will be less bored.
if you do decide to only have one pig as a pet, there are some
Firstly looking after one pig means that they become easier
to manage, especially if this is your first pig.
There will be no
jostling for position during meal times or bullying and fighting with
If you buy a single pig just remember to give it lots of
love and attention that prevent it from being bored, lonely and
KEEPING PIGS AS PETS and Choosing which Sex of Pig to buy
If you are thinking of
keeping pigs as
pets you are probably wondering which sex you should buy. Male pigs
that have not been castrated are best left as breeders rather than that
makes them very unsuitable. If you decide on a male pig, it should be
castrated. Female pigs make the best pets whether or not she has had a
KEEPING PIGS AS PETS and Purchasing your First Pet Pig
What should you be
looking for when you
are about to purchase your first pet pig? First of all you should check
with your local municipal council to see if you are allowed to keep a
pig in your area. After you have passed that important hurdle the next
step is to find yourself a reputable breeder who will be there for you
for after sales advice and general advice on pig care. Do not buy pigs
from stockyard sales or at auctions where as a novice you would not
know if the animal was sound and healthy.
In order for you to bond
with your pig
and vice versa you should be looking for a piglet. Look for one that
has no signs of ill health. It should be active, have bright eyes with
a moist nose and a shiny coat. The body should be long and slightly
arched, the chest wide and sides slightly rounded. The legs should be
strong and well placed with short and well-maintained
the number of teats that the pig has regardless of its gender. You are
looking for 12-14 evenly distributed and well shaped teats. After
looking at the physical aspects of your future pet pig you should be
looking at its temperament. If it looks at all aggressive, is snapping
at its siblings and other pigs and seems generally a bit on the wild
side, look for another that is better-natured.
KEEPING PIGS AS PETS - Pig Care and Feeding
When you are purchasing
your pet pig
ask the breeder what they have been feeding them and how much. This
will give you a baseline to work off, and any changes or additions to
the diet should be made slowly. The basic diet for a pig would be to
feed them a combination of household scraps or old crops from your
vegetable garden or orchard combined with pig feed or grain.
a pig should be given about 2 kg of pig feed or grain a day, and less
if you are supplementing with household or garden scraps. Pigs will eat
almost anything, as mentioned earlier.
Things that pigs don't eat
however, are citrus fruit, capsicums, onions, pineapples and some
brassicas. The feed can be given either all at once during the day, or
split into two and fed morning or evening.
Never give your pig salt. It will result in instant death! Nor should
they have dripping or fats.
Fresh, clean water should be
available to your pet pigs at all times, and make sure that the troughs
that you are using a strong. Concrete troughs that are heavy and
unmovable are ideal.
KEEPING PIGS AS PETS - Bringing home a Piglet
If you are bringing home
a piglet for the first time, place it in a
draught-free place with a good bed and a pan of water. If the piglet is
under 3 weeks of age, an infra-red lamp hung about 2 and a half feet or
more above the baby is a great assurance against cold nights and chills.
is the favorite food, skim milk, sour curdled milk or even whey is
loved by pigs. They also love bread, vegetable and fruit peelings,
barley or wheat which has had boiling water poured over it and left to
stand overnight - all in moderation.
Best to start your piglet
off on a little bread and milk or chicken mash with milk or water
first. Pigs adore sloppy food in which they can snort and gargle! Tiny
pigs will have to be bottle fed.
KEEPING PIGS AS PETS - Pig Housing
Pigs are often maligned
smelly, unattractive beasts. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes, they love to have the odd wallow in the mud bath, but then so do
elephants and warthogs, and they haven't been tarred with the same
Your pig will enjoy a bed of deep, clean straw or litter. If
there are other pigs present they will often be seen cuddling up to
each other in these situations. They are basically very clean animals,
and will not urinate or defecate on their bedding, but will do so in a
corner of their pen, away from their bedding.
You can even train pigs to poo in one place in the sty by simply
leaving a little soiled litter there as an example.
They also hate extreme weather
conditions, be it cold winds and draughts or soaring temperatures and
humidity. So ensure that their pens are draught-free and you are able
to get a good circulation of air when temperatures rise. Pigs will
tolerate temperatures between 12-26°C. Anything, either side of these
temperatures, and your pet pig will be in distress. This is why in hot
weather those mud baths are so necessary for your pig to be able to
cool down as he doesn't have the ability to do so through sweating.
Having said all that, a simple
three-sided shed is all that is needed for pig housing and to keep your
pig happy, as long as it faces away from draughts and prevailing winds.
Each animal should have about 8 square feet of space and the floor
finish should be a concrete screed that has been roughly finished so
that your pig has sure footing at all times. There should also be an
area in front of his pen that is adequately fenced off that is also
cemented to prevent muddy and smelly conditions. Here the pigs can sun
themselves when they need to, get some exercise and relieve themselves.
We have already touched on making sure
that your pigpen is secure, but this cannot be over-emphasized. If your
pig notices just a slight weakness in the fencing he will be out. And
for those of us who have had to catch a pig we all know that it one of
those impossible tasks that quickly degenerates into something from
Keystone Cops! One of the best options is to go with a breeze-block
wall around the shed with a sturdy pig-proof gate. Having wire fencing,
unless it is electrified, which is expensive, really isn't worth the
effort as it is largely ineffectual.
KEEPING PIGS AS PETS - Keeping your Pig in your House
There are people who
keep pigs in their homes quite
successfully. It may not be everyone's choice of household pet, even
for those who may decide on a mini pig soon realize that they can
get very big, except of course for tea cup pigs who don't grow very big
at all. You can see these lovely little mini pigs in a free video
However, for those who
have chosen this option your pig
is easily trainable with regards to using a cat litter tray. Pigs are
the 5th most intelligent animals in the world, and therefore getting
them to use a cat litter tray is no different to training a cat or a
dog. You use the same methods.
Start with some newspaper
and move it
closer to the litter box until the box is being used. Remember though
that the conventional cat litter box it too high for your pig. You will
need something that is more shallow, more like 2 inches, and your will
need to find these trays or suitable receptacles from your local
hardware store. They will get used to walking with a lead and harness
if you start with them at an early age.
KEEPING PIGS AS PETS - Enjoying your New Pet
Keeping a pig as a pet
is great fun and
they really do make wonderful pets. Each has a distinctive personality
and you will soon see this after bringing your pig home and getting to
know it. If you have the right type of housing, keep the litter clean
and provide the right food and exercise for your pig, you will have a
really rewarding experience. Pigs are generally hardy and have few
ailments and are very good at adapting to new environments.
Keeping pigs as pets is
and entertaining. So enjoy your new pet, give it lots of love and
attention and you will be loved in return.
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