Come on. You know the thought has crossed your mind. Should I get a pet pig?! Why, not? Especially a piglet!!! Their little snouts. Those little oinks. And that rambunctious personality. But, there is more to consider other than the cuteness. What will this pet pig need? Are prepared for your future pet pig to weigh up to 200 lbs? Adopt or buy a pig? What's their life span? Does your pig need a city license? Where will you buy pig feed? How will you train and discipline your pig? What will your pig do when you're at work?
Once considering these questions, a pet pig seems like a bigger responsibility than most think.
Don't get me wrong, Hamlet has been the best pet I have ever had. She is sweet, sassy, mischievous, lovable and quite the snuggle monster. BUT when Hamlet first came into my life, I quickly realized this wasn't like having your average pet. Looking back, there was so much I had to learn. I wasn't even close to being prepared.
I want to help you make a responsible and thoughtful decision before bring a pet pig home.
Please take the time to consider these questions before bringing a pet pig in your home. These are only questions to give you an idea of the responsibility of a pet pig. The responsibility of owning a pig is not limited to these questions.
What will this pet pig need?
Here is an list of items I had prepared before Hamlet came home.
- Clean bed and blanket
- Water dish
- Pet playpen or baby gate to confine pig to a safe space
- Litter pan and horse bedding, pine pellet, or paper litter. I don't use pine litter because Hamlet tries to eat it. I recommend paper litter. You can find paper litter at any pet store.
- Kennel or Crate
- Clean indoor and outdoor area to call their own.
- Baby Wipes & Baby Shampoo
- Vet phone numbers
- Mini pig pellets. I reccomened Mazuri pig pellets (http://www.mazuri.com/minipig.aspx).
- Cheerios, veggies and fruit
- Figure 8 Harness & Leash
Where will you buy pig feed?
I buy Hamlet's pig pellets at a local farm feed store. I have also found that you can buy pig pellets online. Pig pellets are not always easy to find. I typically keep a month or two worth of food on hand at all times.
Are you prepared for a pet pig that can grow to weigh up to 200 lbs?
Wouldn't it be nice if a micro pigs existed?! Well, they don't. All micro pigs are potbellied pigs. These adorable creatures are considered and called "mini" because they are mini, domesticated versions of the 1,000 pound farm animals. According to the American Pig Association, "Healthy mini pigs average from 50-150 pounds. Some smaller bred mini pigs average 50-80 pounds." If a breeder tells you your "mini" pig will be smaller than that, they're lying to you and might be giving you advice to feed your pig too little.
Adopt or buy a pet pig?
Buying a pig is risky. You have no idea what kind of pig your going to get. Maybe you should ask yourself, Why do you want to buy a pig? Do you think it will guarantee you a "micro pig"? Or do you simply want a piglet? The average cost of buying a pig from a breeder is over $2,000.
Did you know that thousands and thousands of owners are surrendering their pet pigs to shelters a year? Pigs of all ages and sizes. Unfortunately, animal shelters and rescues are unable to save all the pigs that are not adopted and these pig are euthanized. I guarantee that there is a pet pig in your area that needs a home.
Here are a couple pig rescues I recommend:
Penelope's purpose: http://penelopespurpose.org/
Best Friends Society: http://bestfriends.org/adopt
What is the life span of a pig?
The average pig lives for 12 to 18 years.
Do I need to have a pet pig license?
Most cities have regulations for owning a pet pig. The best way to find out if your city has regulation is to go to your city website or city hall. Most cities only allow pet pigs in certain city zoning areas.
How will I train and discipline my pet pig?
There are a lot of misconceptions about disciplining a pig. PIGS ARE NOT LIKE DOGS. You can not discipline your pig like a dog. Pigs are extremely sensitive and emotional creatures. They feel a vast amount of different emotions. I highly recommend, "Mini Pig Training Book: Tricks, Life Skills, and Communication with Your Mini Pig" by Kimberly L Chronister.
What will your pig do while you are at work?
Pigs need constant care and social attention. Pigs are also very intelligent and get bored. When a pig is bored they can become destructive. I DO NOT recommend getting a pet pig if you have a job that will force you to leave your pig inside for over 4 hours. Your pig will need plenty of time outside to sunbathe and graze. Your pig will also need time with you to attach and bond. I believe it is best if there is a family member who works part time, works from home or works close to home where they can visit their pig during the day.
Be a responsible future pet pig owner and take these questions seriously before bring a pig home. Hamlet and all the other piggies out there thOink you.
If there is a topic that I covered that you would like to know more about or maybe a topic you would like me to blog about, feel free to shoot me at email at Melanie@hamletthepiggy.com.
New content relating to pigs can be found here weekly.