Years ago, when the potbellied pig craze started, they called them “miniature” pigs. Most people didn’t realize that these alternative pets may actually grow to about 250 lbs. People were surrendering potbellied pigs to humane societies left and right. Shelters didn’t know what to do with them and some rescues popped up around the country to help with the overpopulation.
Now, there are a bunch of smaller pigs that are being bred as pets. They don’t seem to have any hereditary issues like some animals that are inbred to create size, color or pattern morphs. And who can resist that little rubbery nose?
These miniature pigs are a nice alternative to the regular potbellied pig. Be warned however, you must be zoned appropriately to own a pet of this kind. You will pay a lot more for these tiny piglets. And, you will have to locate a vet in your area who can deal with your new pet.
Joyce T. Wells, of Angel Enterprise Farm says, “…take a yardstick and place it on the floor by your leg. Then look where 14″ and 14.5″ is on the yardstick. This is the estimated height of these piglets at maturity. Their weight, if healthy and lean, should be around 35 lbs.”
Training is Not Difficult
Teacup potbellied pigs are smart and can be trained like a dog. As with dogs, non-aversive training is recommended. Your piglet can learn to walk with a harness and use a litter box like a cat. Pigs are clean. Most people know that pigs are not dirty animals, but it bears repeating.
Pigs don’t shed like a dog or cat, so there is less hair to clean up around the house. Pot bellied pigs don’t really have “fur,” it is actually hair. But, like a dog or cat, they will blow their coat (lose a lot of hair) a couple times a year.
Teacup pot bellied pigs do not bark, but they do make squealing noises. You will need to learn how to interpret the sounds to understand the animal. As they grow, they need exercise so they do not become overweight — a problem with any pampered pet.read more about training by clicking here
Pigs do not eat dog or cat food. They need a specific pig diet that is a combination of grains, vegetables and a small amount of fruit. Snacks or treats can be given. Natural cereals, plain popped popcorn or crackers that are unsalted are recommended.
Wells says, “I feed my pigs a low protein stock, trying to stay below 10-12%… House piggies get veggies, cantaloupe and other healthy snacks.”
They are omnivores and will eat almost anything, but that doesn’t mean you should give them table scraps or other foods that are not good for them. If you offer them food, they will eat it. They do not have the ability to stop themselves from overeating – thus the phrase “eat like a pig!” An overweight pig is an unhealthy pig, so try to use praise and play as rewards instead of food.
A Happy Pig is a Healthy Pig
A nice soft place to sleep is mandatory for a teacup pot bellied pig. A little dog or cat bed, with a soft blanket on top will give your pig a nice place to snuggle for the night. These pigs do not like temperatures under 50, so you need to make sure that you keep them dry and warm.
Pot bellied pigs do have some health issues. Their body temperature should never go above 101. They can get a parasite called mange mites, which will cause their skin to turn red and dry. Vitamin E supplements will help with dry skin issues. They commonly get internal parasites, so worming about twice a year is a good policy.
Some people don’t want the traditional dog or cat pet. A teacup potbellied pig is a nice and interesting alternative. You are certain to turn heads when walking down the street with your harnessed pig! They are affectionate and active. And please, don’t forget the belly rubs!