How do I care for and look after a micro pig?
24 May 2019
How do I care for and look after a micro pig?
Micro pigs are specifically bred to be smaller than your average commercial pig. They are also known as a mini pig or teacup pig and they are bred from 4 popular species:
- Gottingen minipig
- Gloucester Old Spot
- KuneKune pigs
- Pot-Belly pigs
Pigs are a lot more sophisticated than they are made out to be from TV and films, or even as your everyday farm animal. They may seem scruffy messy and with little intellect, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Pigs are clever, inquisitive and each have a personality of their own, and since becoming domesticated they enjoy interaction with humans, making them a popular pet of the 21st century.
How big do micro pigs get?
The most popular question of them all! A domesticated pig specifically bred to be miniature, will grow to half the size of a commercial farm pig at most. As a fully-grown adult at 5 years old they will weigh up to 100 pounds, most in the range of 50-70 pounds and reach 18-28 inches tall dependant on the breed. We would recommend seeing the parents of the pig you are planning on bringing home, to see the full-size adult they come from. This will give you a better understanding of how big your micro pig will grow to. Be careful when buying a micro pig because the breeders might not be as legitimate as they say they are. Unethical breeders will breed pigs as young as 6-8 weeks old, which means your piglet’s parents may also be piglets themselves. Unfortunately, animal shelters are full of fully-grown pigs that have been miss sold as a micro pig, this is a very sad reality for thousands of pigs, so to prevent this and help combat dodgy deals, always do your research.
It’s also important to understand the needs and requirements of each specific micro pig species, as these will differ slightly between the breeds. You must consider the size of accommodation you have for your piggy, the safety and comfort of your pig and their lifespan, so as to provide the best care for the length of time needed. The average lifespan for a micro pig is 5 to 10 years, but if looked after exceptionally well certain breeds can live up to 25 years.
How much does it cost to buy a pet pig?
Miniature pigs range from £35 to £1,200, dependant on the breed, the breeder and other factors like age and trained ability. The average price of a micro pig from a reputable breeder is around £200 to £500. It’s also important to consider all of the feeding and living requirements for your pet pig along with insurance for your pet.
What do you feed a micro pig?
There are two different types of diets for a pig, the natural kind or manufactured pig pellets, similar to that of cat or dog food. You need to ensure your pig’s diet contains up to 12% of protein, along with a balanced diet of the foods listed below. Foods that are lower in calories can be fed in larger amounts, for example you can leave some hay and grass out for them to snack on during the day.
You can feed your pet pig:
- Steamed barley
- Green vegetables
- Cooked beans
- Brown rice
- Raw eggs
- Sunflower seeds
NOTE: Always cook beans, as a lot of types of beans contain a chemical that is toxic to pigs – cooking the beans neutralised that chemical.
For pet pellets, several pet food brands offer specialist pet pig foods and you can find these in farm shops and pet shops.
- Badminton Country Pig Nuts
- Allen & Page
- Dodson & Horrell
- Farmgate Sow & Weaner
- Rose Mill Farm
- Pig & Saw
Manufactured pet pig food is normally enriched with vitamins and minerals which might make it the easier and more nutritious choice. It will also have recommended amounts on the bag of the packet, against different ages and weights.
Do you have to neuter a micro pig?
Vets recommend female pigs to be spayed 4 to 6 months of age and male pigs to be neutered between 8 and 12 weeks; however, breeders often spay/neuter pigs’ way before that so that they can be homed by a family at the earliest date possible.
Having your pet pig spayed/neutered is very important as both males and females go through reproductive cycles that can cause them to exhibit aggressive behaviour including biting. During this time, pigs are likely to urinate anywhere and everywhere to attract mates through the smell, making potty training nearly impossible.
Can miniature pigs live inside?
It’s important to remember, although domesticated pigs aren’t naturally used to living inside a house; and this should only be done if you have sufficient space. Without the right space this could cause stress and other mental health problems in your pig, making they unhealthy and reluctant to eat which could also cause physical health problems.
You need to have enough space inside your house to differentiate and separate, sleeping, feeding and toilet areas for your pig, as they don’t like to use the same space for all 3.
It’s also a good idea to not leave them alone for extended periods of time, as this can create boredom and meaning they become restless and destructive to their surroundings. If you’re not planning on spending a lot of time at your house with your pig, you may want to avoid buying one; or if your circumstances change after buying your pig, maybe consider a companion for them to interact with while you’re gone; like another micro pig.
What’s needed for housing a micro pig outdoors?
The perfect outdoor set up for a pig is a safe large environment that they will feel comfortable in. The average pig enclosure should be a minimum of 35 square metres. Make sure it’s escape proof and has a shaded area as in the summer months pigs find it difficult to regulate their body temperature and have an increased risk of developing heatstroke or getting sunburnt. This space will provide them with the needed ventilation and cool environment in which to relax. They also need an indoor section with lots of hay in which they can lay in and keep warm and dry for the winter weather.
The vegetation surrounding your pig’s outdoor pen must be free of plants treated with chemicals and pesticides as well as toxic plants like rhododendrons.
Can miniature pigs live with other pets, like cats or dogs?
It’s advised that you should avoid owning a pet pig if you own a dog. This because they have a predator and prey like behaviour around each other and often end up fighting and never getting along.
Cat’s on the other hand have been seen to make good companionships with pigs, and they do enjoy each other’s company, as pets, not as roommates. So it’s best to keep pigs out of reach from other animals you keep as pets.
British Pet Insurance Services offers a range of exotic pet cover levels, insuring; lizards, snakes, tortoises, parrots, birds of prey and small mammals. With up to £5,000 vet fees and a range of optional extras, select the level of cover to suit your needs.Get a quote today