Major Traits To Consider Before Adopting A Pig, Feed & Disease Control

Pigs come with their own set of special characteristics, which may come as a huge surprise to many new owners. Richard Hoyle, director of The Pig Preserve, a pig rescue sanctuary in Jamestown, Tennessee, estimates that 90% of the pigs bought or adopted are given up within two years.

There are several steps a person can take to greatly enhance their chances, but it is unreasonable to assume a new pet will fit in with their family before they bring them home. Here are eight tips on making sure the pet you adopt becomes a part of your family for life. 

#1. The mini-pig won’t stay mini forever.

Micro, small, teacup, and pixie: There are many different names that breeders use to describe their pigs, with no restrictions on how big they should be. According to Hoyle, there are 15 to 20 breeds of mini pig. All of them are 150 to 180 pounds in full size. (That sounds major, but they are small when put against a full-sized pig, which usually stands between 600 and 1000 pounds.)

The American Mini Pig Association advises that you visit your pig’s parents in person so you can see how big they really are because pigs can reach full size in up to five years. As a general rule, even if your parents are that much larger, you’re probably not the right choice for your own piglet.

#2. A rescue is a much better bet than a breeder.

It is estimated that mini pigs can live for between 20 and 35 years. But, often, owners then put them up for adoption after a few months, having realized that they were unable to care for them longer than they had originally planned.

Besides saving you time and money, there are some other benefits to adopting. Shelters only accept healthy and well-socialized pigs, which means you’re less likely to encounter excessive vet bills and behavioral issues. Also, older pigs may be closer to reaching their full size.

Because shelters are committed to finding permanent homes for their pigs, they will take the time to educate you about your will to keep, Hoyle adds. If it does not work out, most breeders are willing to sell the pig off. 

#3. The pig might not like you at first.

Would you like to bring your new pig home and snuggle on the couch or play fetch? Pigs and their humans eventually bond, but the process is slow.

#4. They might even try to push you around.

Tamara notes that the pigs are hierarchical animals, who may get aggressive if they believe you are not the pack leader with pigs. Thus, they might head butt, nip, or bite if they think they’re lower on the totem pole.

#5. They do love food that much.

Pigs are born to eat, which is a good and a bad thing. On the plus side, pigs are very easy to train because they focus on eating.

#6. They need to be able to do their pig thing.

You can’t have pigs without outdoor space, so Tamara takes Oscar outside after breakfast to prepare the pig for natural behaviors such as rooting and grazing. It’s so important for them to be healthy, she tells me.

It is also important for pigs to have social interactions as they do not like to be alone. Pigs have high social needs, which when not satisfied can result in destructive behaviors. Pigs thrive best when they can socialize with their own kind as well as humans. Pigs enjoy the human company they enjoy treats and belly rubs.

#7. They can do some other quirky stuff, too.

As in animals, pigs cannot be read by humans, so a few of their actions may seem self-aggrandizing.

#8. Earning their affection is the ultimate reward.

Pigs can develop a bond with you, but they typically take months to become your BFF. In the beginning, pigs are stubborn,. In the end, they only do what they want to do.

When you don’t have the pig that you love, it may be frustrating, but eventually he will grow to love you. They come home so scared, and all you have to do is get them to sleep next to you, and you will see that reward really nice.

Common Infections And Symptoms of Pet Pigs

InfectionSymptoms
Ringworm                  Bald And Crusty Patches On The Head, Eyes, Nose, Face, Ears Or Back, Irritation, And Itching.
Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)Crusty Eyes, Snotty Nose, Lethargic, Lack Of Appetite.
Respiratory DisorderConstant Sneezing, Discharge From The Nose And Eyes, Difficulty Breathing, Lethargic And A Lack Of Appetite.
Malocclusion (Teeth)Teeth Not Aligned, Ulcers On Lips Or Tongue, Difficulty Eating.
ConstipationDistended Stomach, Lack Of Droppings In Their Cage, Lethargic.
Lice/MitesHair Loss, Scratching, Running Around In A Circular Motion.
Foot SoresRed And Swollen Legs With Noticeable Hair Loss On This Area Of The Body
Diseases and signs of pet pigs

If you ever notice the decline in the condition of your pet, be sure to obtain veterinary advice immediately. To keep you alert and prepared, here’s a list of some of the more common infections and the applicable symptoms to look out for.

Since a number of these diseases can be transmitted to humans, it is important to wash your hands after handling your pet. All textiles that they have come in contact with should be changed and washed to be extra safe.

If you have a group of guinea pigs, then you need to take care of the sick ones until the infection has passed and they may then rejoin the group.

Food, Diet, And Water For Pet Pigs

Pigs are grazing animals that require access to quality non-dusty hay regularly in order to maintain a healthy digestive system.

It will also need a suitable guinea pig mix, which can be obtained from a pet store, along with some dried fruit and vegetables that will provide a great source of vitamin C and comprise part of a stable food supply.

Here’s a quick look at some of the food that you should and should not serve your pet pig.

 Foods Pigs should EatFoods Pigs Should Not Eat
MelonsLettuce
OrangesPotato
SpinachPotato Tops
BroccoliRhubarb
KaleTomato Leaves
CabbagePickled Vegetables
AppleMushrooms
BananaAvocado
CarrotsGarlic
Food for pet pigs

New foods incorporated into your pet’s diet should be introduced gradually over a couple of weeks to make sure it doesn’t upset their digestive system. This advice is prudent unless your vet has advised you on a specific feeding scheme.

You need to ensure that your guinea pig has access to fresh water in addition to a full bowl of food. If you notice that your pet’s water bottle is low, or if you notice any signs of a medical condition, then fill them up immediately. If this is the case, see your vet immediately.

Please be cautious about feeding your pet. Smaller pets are prone to getting overweight easily, which can result in health problems later.

In the event your pet is gaining weight, try reducing the amount of food you are providing and weighing him or her on a weekly basis to observe any changes.

The provision of treats now and then is acceptable, but you should not do this all the time. Choose snacks that are beneficial to their teeth and digestive system rather than sugary treats, which can back up any dental problem and become a dangerous experience.

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