There is no doubt you have seen teacup pigs, also known as “micropigs,” or “mini-pigs,” on the internet. YouTube is full of cute and hilarious videos of teacup pigs running around gardens, jumping into pools, and eating strawberries. They are quite possibly one of the cutest animals on the planet and you can adopt one!
Things You Need to Know Before Adopting a Mini-Pig
How Big Do Teacup Pigs Get?
Most teacup pigs are actually potbellied pigs that have been bred in an unethical way to try to keep them small. Most potbellied pigs, while generally smaller than other species of pigs, can grow to around 60-90 pounds.
Often, when a breeder shows you a photo of pigs’ parents it is a photo of potbellied piglets. Pigs can breed as young as 3 months old which makes the photos very misleading. Chances are, your teacup pig will grow much bigger over the years and you should be prepared for that outcome.
Are There Any Pigs That Stay Small?
There is no guarantee that any pig you adopt will stay small. While many breeders claim they are teacup or micro-pigs, neither are an actual breed of pig. It’s likely that your pig will grow much bigger than you expect.
Pigs that are advertised as micro-pigs have often been bred in unethical ways that try to stunt the pig’s growth. It is not natural for any pig to stay small.
Are You Allowed To Keep a Micro-Pig?
Depending on your local municipality, you may not be able to adopt one of these beautiful little creatures. It’s important to make sure you check with your local municipality first so you don’t have to worry about any legal issues.
You may find that in some cities it is illegal to keep farm animals at home. It’s always best to check first before committing to adopting a micro-pig.
They Can Grow Big!
One of the main reasons teacup pigs are put up for adoption is because they grew much bigger than the previous person responsible for them expected. You may have heard some stories in the media where a person’s ‘micro-pig’ grew into a huge 290kg pig!
When thinking of adopting a teacup pig it’s worth asking about its parents first to see how big they are or try to get some history of the pig’s family. This information is not always available or reliable so there is always a risk your cute little piggy may grow into a big piggy very quickly.
Do You Have the Right Environment to Raise a Pig?
Pigs love to explore, dig, and snoot around so it’s important that you have enough outside space for them to do that. Not having the right environment means poor quality of life for your pig and can cause your micro pig to become restless and reckless.
Mixing With Other Companion Animals
If you already have companion animals at home, you need to consider how your adopted teacup pig will integrate into your family. Pigs and cats mix quite well but pigs and dogs can lead to some unpredictable behavior.
Often dogs will attack pigs for no reason and pigs can do the same to dogs. If you are adopting a micro-pig and you already have a dog at home, it’s essential that they are supervised or kept separate at all times.
Suitable Veterinary Care
Before giving your teacup pig a new home you should make sure you have a veterinarian close by that is able to treat and care for your pig. Pigs can live up to 15 years old and they will inevitably fall sick and could get injured, requiring special treatment from a competent swine veterinarian.
Pigs also require vaccinations and are vulnerable to a number of diseases. Make sure you have a swine vet in your area that is able to provide all medical care a pig needs to be healthy.
What Type of Housing Do Mini-Pigs Need?
Pigs require a fairly large outdoor area to live in so that they can perform their natural pig behaviors like rooting through the dirt. When kept inside, your teacup pig could knock over your tables and chairs, leaving a trail of destruction behind them. Pigs are not suited to living indoors.
You will need to provide your teacup pig with an appropriate shelter outdoors. Pigs are vulnerable to the cold and hot temperatures so they need somewhere to seek refuge. You may want to also consider creating a mud pit for them so they can cool off in the summer. This is what the pig would do naturally to avoid insect bites and avoid sunburn. They also just enjoy rolling round in mud so it’s a nice feature for them to have.
It’s important to make sure that you give them bedding in their shelter too. They will need it for warmth and comfort at night. You can use a number of materials including straw, hay, sawdust, wood shavings or even some old blankets you don’t need anymore.
If you live in an area with natural predators that might want to attack and eat your pig then it’s imperative that you make their outdoor area secure. Wolves, coyotes, big cats and bears will be able to smell the scent and will come to investigate. You may want to install a high-security fence or pen for your pig to keep them protected.
It’s important to take the time to fully understand your pig’s dietary needs. Your pig’s diet can be complex and may take some time to get used to at the beginning when they are piglets. If they have not been properly weaned from their mother they will struggle to understand the difference between thirst and hunger. This can lead to eating disorders such as dehydration and anorexia.
As a piglet, you will want to focus their feed on nutrient-dense foods rather than the amount of food. This ensures that they are getting the right nutrients for essential growth. To work out how much to feed your teacup pig you should use Dr. Whittemore’s calculation:
Feed intake (g/day) = 120 × BW0.75
For every 0.1 kg extra feed consumed per day during the first week post-weaning, their body weight should increase about 1.5 kg at the end of the fourth-week post-weaning.
Once their growth period is finished it is widely considered that 150-200 g/day is sufficient after the post-weaning period. For a thorough guide to your pig’s feed, please refer to this guide.