HOW TO CARE FOR A MINI PIG
There is a tremendous amount to consider when deciding to purchase a mini pig, an animal that will be living with you for the next 15-20 years.
This “caring for your new piglet” guide will walk you through the journey of mini pig ownership and assist you in determining whether or not a mini pig is a good fit for you and your family.
Before you buy a piglet, here are some basic questions to ask yourself:
1. Will a pig fit into my lifestyle?
2. Can I afford to take care of a pig, including food, shelter and proper veterinary care?
3. Do I have a veterinarian who has experience with mini pigs?
4. Do I have time to properly train my pig?
5. Does my community have zoning restrictions that prohibit me from owning a pig?
6.Do I travel a lot? If so, who will take care of my pig when I’m away?
CARING FOR YOUR NEW PIGLET
Piglet: 8 weeks - 3 months
Your new baby will obviously be frightened when you bring him home because he is away from his litter mates for the first time. Please follow these tips for a less stressful transition:
Place your baby in his new home indoors, a warm place away from drafts. I recommend using a a dog crate, as you can organize this environment, move it around, and it gives you easy access. You will need a litter box with pelleted pine horse bedding, along with 2 heavy bowls and a blanket for sleeping. You can also include small soft dog toys, too. Keep your baby in a quiet place for a few hours and let him adjust. Keep all other house pets away from him, too. He needs to bond with you first and feel safe before he meets the family dog.
If your baby has been traveling earlier that day, please make sure you have some Pedialyte on hand. A few sips will go a long way in preventing dehydration!
BONDING WITH YOUR PIGLET
Find a quiet room in the house that is a contained space, like a bathroom, laundry room or even the kitchen.
Sit on the floor and allow your piglet to come to you...and be patient. Food is always the best way to get your little guy on your lap. Remember, in the beginning, your will pig think that you are a predator and you want to eat him! Therefore, lure him with food and gently pet him from the side and work you way toward his head and neck.
Do not pick your pig up until he is comfortable being touched all over. And when you do pick him up, do it from sitting on the floor initially. And if he squeals (and he will), do not put him down...as that just reinforces the behavior. Wait until he stops and then place him back on the floor. Be prepared! PIGS ARE LOUD!
If he should run out of your reach, gently “herd” him quietly into a small space again. Do not chase your piglet...PIGS ARE FAST!
Always keep in mind that your piglet is just looking for security and love. Once he bonds with his new family, he will be sleeping on your lap in no time!
Teenagers: 3 months to 12 months
Pigs are eager to please their owners and respond to love and praise just like young children. Pigs are intelligent and learn quickly...they also have a tremendous amount of curiosity. Their first priority is to eat, so they never forget where you last moved the cat food bowl or where you keep the bag of dog food!
Like any teenager, they begin to test the boundaries, have selective hearing, and even ignore your requests. Please know that this is just a phase, and your pig will out grow this behavior. He is just testing his position within the family. With constant reinforcement for good behavior, this will resolve itself over time.
Some tips to help get you through the teenage years:
Play and exercise! Your pig needs exercise, either by you taking it for daily walks on a leash or having an area outside to run around, play, root and eat grass! And since pigs do root, please know that they can burrow under a fence and get out! Always reinforce around the perimeter to keep your pig from getting loose in your neighborhood!
Be consistent with your training. Decide how you want your pig to live in your house and follow through with your training and expectation. Also, make sure your entire family understands that they have to be onboard as well. You never want to confuse your pig.
Pigs are herd animals and you need to be in charge always! Since you control his food, environment and playtime, you can always use those tools to reinforce who is the boss.
Remind yourself that eventually your pig will grow up and the time and training you are spending now, will pay off when he reaches adulthood. Have a sense of humor and just enjoy your young pig’s personality and behavior!
Provide your pig with a sleeping area, free from drafts, with a bed or pillow and at least one blanket. Your pig will sleep under the covers all night!
Your pig will also need a fenced area to protect him from predators. Again, remembering that your fence needs to be reinforced around the perimeter, as your pig may try and burrow out.
During the winter months, when outdoors, your pig will need some sort of shelter from the elements as well as supplemental heating when the temperature dips below 30 degrees. I use infrared heat lamps...though, use caution. Periodically, check the temperature directly under the lamp and adjust the height accordingly. You don’t want your pig to get burned by the lamp.
Baby pigs can’t take the cold temperatures at all. If the temps are below 45 degrees, your piglet could die. Please keep your baby warm and dry until around 12 months. After that age, you can slowly acclimate your baby to colder weather. Wind chill makes the days cooler than the actual temperature read on the thermometer. And since a pig is not protected by fur, adequate shelter is necessary!
During the summer months, in addition to the above shelter, your pig will need plenty of fresh water and sunscreen applied, And most of all, a kitty pool in order for your pig to keep cool.
WHAT TO FEED YOUR PIG:
2 x a day - 1/4-1/3 cup of 10%-12% all purpose stock pelleted feed or even pelleted horse feed with no more than 12% protein.You can also use a 12% pelleted pig finisher as well. And free choice hay to munch on throughout the day.
In addition, I give my pigs cooked oatmeal a few times a week in lieu of pelleted feed. Slowly, introduce fruits and veggies into their diet as well. Bananas, apples, grapes, tomatoes are always a hit! Spinach, romaine lettuce, corn, green beans, or any low calorie veggies.
Up your feed gradually over the next 2 years. A full grown pig should get 1-2 cups of pelleted feed, free choice hay plus veggies and fruit as treats.
Please do not starve your piglet to keep him small. There are breeders who will tell you to do this! This is cruel...and even dangerous to your piglets health. And don’t let your pig eat everything in sight either (he will try!). Monitor his weight, make sure he gets plenty of exercise, and adjust his food accordingly.
You can give your pig a bath, but not more than once a month. Pigs have very dry skin and too much shampoo can make this condition worse. Unscented moisturizers can also be applied as well.
Provide your pig with a monthly “beauty” check by cleaning his ears, trimming his hoofs and you may even need the vet to trim his tusks.
Purchase a “2-step” dog harness that looks more like a figure 8 and has only 1 snap around the back. It is much easier for you (and your pig). You can eventually train him to just step into the harness. And then just buy a retractable lead.
NEVER USE A DOG COLLAR.
This could damage your pig’s trachea which could cause death.