Micro pig care advice: how to look after a pet pig?

Historically, pigs have not been kept for companionship and their behaviour and needs are likely to reflect that. Here’s what you need to know about keeping pigs as pets:

Micro pigs, mini pigs or teacup pigs are the terms used to describe pigs bred and kept for companionship. The four most popular species bred as pets are Pot-Belly, Gloucester Old Spot, Kune Kune and Göttingen minipigs.

It is important to know that micro, mini or teacup pigs are not breeds of pigs in their own right; they are pigs selectively bred to be smaller than commercial pigs.

Pigs are smart, inquisitive animals who like interaction and stimulus and are now a preferred pet by many households.

If you’re looking to get a pet pig. Read on to learn more about how to best care for your pig animal companion.

In addition, if you’re looking to get insurance for your pig, ExoticDirect is the only insurer in the UK that can cover up to £2,000 of vet fees for micro/mini/teapot pigs. Get a quote here

In this article: How big do micro pigs get? | How long do micro pigs live? | Can micro pigs be potty trained? | When can a pet pig be spayed or neutered? | Can mini pigs live inside? | Can micro pigs be left alone and for how long? | Can micro pigs climb stairs? | Can micro pigs live with dogs or cats? | Can micro pigs live outside? | What do you feed a pet micro pig? | How much food do you feed a micro pig? | How much is a micro pig?

pigletMicro pigs are selectively bred to be smaller than farm pigs

How big do micro pigs get?

A pet pig, selectively bred to be smaller, can grow up to half the size of a farm pig.

When they reach full adult size in three to four years, micro pigs can weight up to 150km/300 pounds, or over if overweight.

Some breeders say that the pigs will be 60 pounds/27 kg when fully grown. Seeing the adult parent pig can give you a better idea of how big your pig will be as an adult.

These pigs are called mini, micro or teacup, not because they are extremely small but because compared to a normal farm pig they are smaller.

The American Mini Pig association says that they might take longer to grow compared to commercial pigs. If this is the case with a pig that you purchase, you may not know its adult size until its fourth year.

Beware of unethical breeders – pigs can breed as young as 6 to 8 weeks, which means that your piglet’s parents might still be piglets themselves – a fact that an unscrupulous breeder might withhold.

Many owners, who acquired their pig seduced by the promise that it will stay small, have ended up giving it away when it grows to the size of an average pig. Pet shelters are full of such unwanted pet pigs.

So, considering the size and lifespan of a pet pig before getting one and whether you can provide a comfortable safe accommodation for it, will help you make a more informed choice for both yourself and the animal.

How long do micro pigs live?

According to the RSPCA, the average life expectancy of a micro pig is 5 to 10 years. They also say that micro pigs can sometimes even live up to 25 if looked after really well.

Our research found different figures, all spanning from about 5 to 25.

pigletMicro pigs need to be spayed or neutered in order to be effectively potty trained

Can micro pigs be potty trained?

Yes, they can. You can train them to go potty outside, inside or a combination of both, by using positive reinforcement such as treats and positive body language.

Training your pet pig to potty inside:

When you bring your pig home, allow it to first get familiar with a small area of the house. Position its litter tray somewhere away from the piglet’s feeding and sleeping areas. Pigs are clean animals and do not like going to the loo near their bed or near their feeding area.

You can use horse bedding pellets, pine pellets, wood pellets or paper pellets for the litter box. Use a shallow tray so it’s easy for the piglet to enter.

Never use, cedar pellets or cat litter pellets that have been chemically treated or produced. Stick to natural materials.

When little, piglets will need to go to the toilet a lot. At that age, they don’t yet have the best bladder control; so, when you first welcome your piglet into your home, try to put it into its litter box as often as possible. When it goes potty, encourage it with positive words and body language and feed it some treats.

Be patient and remember there will be accidents in the beginning. Don’t punish your piglet, continue with the positive reinforcement. Don’t let your piggy roam the house before it’s become accustomed to using the litter tray consistently. And even then, increase their range gradually as the new environment might be stressful to them.

If your home is big, you may need to have more than one litter tray in the house so as to make sure your pig will have somewhere close by anywhere in the house.

Training your pet pig to potty outside:

Choose a designated area and take them to it as often as you can when they are little, especially when they’ve just woken up or eaten. Encourage your piglet to go using command words which it will come to associate with relieving itself, making it possible for your pig to go potty on command.

When they go potty, encourage them with positive words and body language and give them treats.

Note that potty training your piglet outside may not be advisable in the colder seasons.

Because pigs are clean animals, some prefer going outside even if they live indoors. Remember, your garden will need to be fenced to prevent your pet from wandering away.

To allow your pig to go outside when it needs to relieve itself, you can install a flap door for them to use.

Alternatively, you can install a bell by the door and encourage your pig to hit it, repeat a word that it will learn to associate with going to the loo, like ‘potty’, reward with a treat when it does ring the bell and take it outside to the designated potty spot.

The American Mini Pig Association recommends that, if you live in a big enough home and are potty training a house pig, you should limit the space its allowed to roam until it’s learned where to potty, and only then gradually increase the territory.

Note, it is nearly impossible to potty train a pig that hasn’t been spayed or neutered.

When can a pet pig be spayed or neutered?

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.

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Can mini pigs live inside?

The RSPCA strictly advises against keeping a pig at home and specifically warns that a pig should only be kept where there is sufficient space. They recommend a housing space of minimum 36 square metres available per pig but warn that more is preferable.

Many people prefer to keep their pet pigs inside flats and houses, but it is important to remember that if you don’t have the necessary space your pig might be unhappy.

If you do have a lot of space and decide on keeping your pig indoors, make sure to keep its toilet and feeding and sleeping areas separate as pigs don’t like to go potty where they eat or sleep.

piglet and parent big together outsidePigs are smart, inquisitive creatures that love to socialise

Can micro pigs be left alone and for how long?

Micro pigs do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. They can become restless and destructive.

Pigs are smart, inquisitive creatures and need plenty of stimulation and interaction. They don’t like being left alone and can greatly benefit from a pet companion, preferably another pig.

Can micro pigs climb stairs?

Pigs were not by nature made for climbing or jumping so doing so regularly can damage their joints and lead to further complications like pinched nerves.

Whether a pig can climb stairs depends mostly on its weight; but the fact that it can doesn’t mean that it should. Pigs can be clumsy with stairs and letting them climb stairs can result in falls and injuries.

If there are any areas in your house or out front that your pig cannot avoid, installing a non-slippery ramp is recommended. You can train your pig to use the ramp by using treats to encourage it to walk on it.

If there are flights of stairs inside your house that your pig might be tempted to explore, you could use a barrier to ensure it doesn’t.

Can micro pigs live with dogs or cats?

According to the pet pig specialist website minipiginfo.com, pigs should never be housed with dogs, as dogs are predator animals and pigs are prey animals. The two species often fight, and the dogs win in most cases, according to the website.

However, minipiginfo.com says pigs and cats make great friends and accompany the page with plenty of adorable snaps of pet pigs and cats chilling together.

Whether two different species will get along however, ultimately depends on the animals’ individual personalities. The animal kingdom has seen many unexpected interspecies friendships.

Pet pig owners on forums and blogs say that pigs mostly ignore dogs and seem to really like cats.

piglet standing in hay, looking at the cameraMake sure to piggy proof your garden

Can micro pigs live outside?

Yes, they can, but you will have to ‘pig-proof’ your outdoor area.

In fact, even though many owners keep their pigs indoors and house train them, the RSPCA advises that pets should not be kept in the home.

If you have decided to keep your micro pig outdoors, you need to ensure the pig has a safe environment and can’t escape; and that it is protected from the elements.

Pigs are very bad at regulating their body temperature and are susceptible to sunburn and heatstroke.

You need to provide a shady, ventilated area where they can cool off in the summer and a covered area, like an outhouse, with lots of hay for them to cuddle into when the weather is cold and rainy.

A kiddie pool can also be a fun way for them to cool off in the summer months. If you see the pig rooting that’s a sign that it’s feeling too hot and it’s trying to find a cooler area.

You will also need to make sure that no vegetation that’s toxic to pigs is growing in your garden, and that none of it has been treated with chemicals or pesticides.

If your garden doesn’t have a fence, letting your pig live outside may make it very easy for him or her to wander away.

You could create an enclosed area for it, but it will have to be at least 36 square meters – this is the minimum that the RSPCA recommends – and incorporate all the aforementioned structures to guarantee the pig’s well-being in different climates.

What do you feed a pet micro pig?

You can choose between a natural diet or manufactured specialist pet pig pellets.

Regardless of which diet you go for, you can give nutritious treats in between the main feedings and take this into account with the proportion of the main feed.

Green vegetables are always a good healthy treat and so is fruit in moderate amount as it is rich in sugar.

Note that giving pigs meat or food wastage is illegal. This is to prevent the spread of disease. In addition, it is also against the law to feed pigs any animal products apart from milk.

Never feed pigs chocolate, leftovers, meat and chemically treated fruit or veg.

Mini pig natural diet:

You need to ensure your pig eats protein-rich foods (up to 12% of protein), vegetables and cooked beans. Always cook the beans as a lot of types of beans contain a chemical that is toxic to pigs – cooking the beans neutralised that chemical.

You can feed oats, steamed barley, brown rice, quinoa, raw unsalted sunflower seeds, green vegetables, different types of cooked beans, raw eggs, milk and many types of nuts and fruit.

You can create vegetable or nut mixes as portions for your pig. Use fruit and fattier nuts as treats rather than as main components of your pig’s diet.

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.

Micro pig specialist food:

Several pet food brands offer specialist pet pig foods. These are: Purina, Allen & Page, Mazuri, Dodson & Horrell, Farmgate Sow & Weaner, Badminton Country Pig Nuts, Rose Mill Farm and 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.

How much food do you feed a micro pig?

Two percent of the pig’s desired healthy body weight.

The actual amount depends on your pig’s size and age. You can spread out in 2 or 3 feedings and give nutritious treats in between.

If you do give treats, make sure you have some form of interaction with your pig before feeding it the treats. Otherwise you risk teaching your pig you’re just a feeder.

Monitor your pig and adjust its food based on its levels of activity and body shape.

Some breeders recommend that owners underfeed their pet pigs to stunt their growth. This is dangerous and wrong, and can cause malnutrition, which could result in many physical and mental problems.

Pigs love to eat, and even mini pigs grow to the size of a medium to large dog. Trying to prevent that from happening by withholding nutrition is animal abuse.

How much is a micro pig?

From about £30 to £1,000. The prices vary greatly between breeders. The average seems to be from around £200 to £600.

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