Part 1: Do Your Research!
Mini pigs are amazing pets. They’re incredibly smart. They’re loyal, protective, and loving. They’re highly trainable, they have iron stomachs so you rarely have to worry about them eating the wrong things, and let’s face it – they’re absolutely adorable.
That being said, pigs are not for everyone. They provide love and support, but they require a lot in return. Before you even start thinking about life as a pig parent, you need to do your research.
Firstly, you need to know what exactly constitutes a mini pig. Mini pigs, teacup pigs, micro pigs – whatever you want to call it – are simply small versions of potbelly pigs. Just like people, there is no “set” size or weight for a mini pig. If you are not prepared to have a pet who is anywhere from 30 – 100lbs, then a mini pig is not the pet for you.
Secondly, keep in mind that as mini pigs grow in popularity, the number of regular sized pigs being passed off as minis does, too. It’s not uncommon for a farmer to say that a pig is mini, lie about its age to make it seem smaller, and malnourish them until they are sold. Read everything you can online – here, here, and here are some great articles – before you even talk to a breeder.
When you’re expecting a baby, the first thing you’re going to do is find a gynecologist and have a pediatrician on lock before the baby has even entered the world. This should be no different for a fur child. While you may be able to find regular vets, you need to ensure your vet is not only well informed on pigs in general, but that they are also fully prepared to care for a mini pig.
Fun story – my roommate and I found out we were getting Puddle about 2 weeks sooner than we initially thought. We didn’t want to risk Puddle being given to someone else, so we accepted the challenge. We rented a study room at school to get everything prepared and ready for Puddle’s arrival. The most important thing we needed was to find a vet. Picture this: we both had notebooks filled with vet info we found online, each of our laptops were open as we frantically emailed every vet we could find, and we were both on our phones with vets asking them just how much experience they had with mini pigs specifically. Just to clarify a little bit – we found lots of vets who worked with pigs, but many of them did not have the tools or the knowledge to perform a neutering on a 2 month old mini pig. We ended up lucking out, finding a wonderful vet who has a great background with equine. They are absolutely fantastic with Puddle, and even had his baby photo on their blog for while!
You can also reach out to other pig owners to learn about trustworthy breeders. There is a big pig community on Instagram. Try searching #pigsaspets, #pigowners_unite, and #minipigowners_unite; these are just a few of the many hashtags you can follow. There’s even a Mini Pig Education Group on Facebook that you can join to talk to others who can help. Lots of the community members on both social media site are incredibly helpful, both in preparation for your pet and later on when looking for tips and tricks on raising your pig-friend. Reach out to them as a whole on Facebook, or to one pig-parent in particular on Instagram!
Mini pigs aren’t just curly tails and snout kisses, and that’s only partially because not all pigs have curly tails. Pigs require a lot of work, and the first step of that work doing your research.
Want to know more about preparing for life as a pig parent? Keep checking back here for the next installment of What To Expect When You’re Expecting… A Pig: Do the Work!