I have read some ridiculous articles before with regards to "teacup" and "micro" pigs, but I hadn't seen one that says rescues and sanctuaries say these pigs don't exist simply so they can "make money off the donations". Not only is this absolutely absurd, but also so far from the truth that it isn't even funny. I thought I would address this article question by question. Let me add, I do NOT have a pig sanctuary or rescue, I am NOT a breeder nor do I have any products to sell. SO I have nothing to gain or lose by posting my opinion to each question. The original article will be in red, my responses/comments will be in bold black.
Teacup pigs have been a growing trend in the united states over the last several years. Some pet owners believe they make better pets than dogs or cats. There is a lot of information and misinformation out there about teacup pigs. So we dug in and have done a little research and tried to find out the answers to some of your questions.
Teacup pigs are still a scam and one of the most misrepresented/inaccurate pet sale scams out there. Many will read over and over that teacup pigs do not exist, but they want a small pig so bad that they will bypass the 30 articles that tell them that and read the one lonely article with a breeder that claims to have teacup pigs and take it as "The Word" as far as pigs are concerned. Teacup and/or Micro are two words that do not belong in the same sentence as pig. Click here to read our article about teacup pigs.
How much do teacup pigs weigh? Teacup pigs weight can vary quite a bit depending on the breeder. PamperedPiglets.com who is said to have the smallest pigs get on average 15-40 LBS as adults. Most other breeders pigs average between 30-100 LBS. Size wise they are a lot smaller than pot belly pigs which can end up being 100-200 LBS. (original article response)
Naturally my response will be COMPLETELY different. Since there is no such breed called a teacup pig, nor are there breeders that can consistently produce pigs that would be able to fit in a teacup once fully mature at 5 years or older, this is not a question that can be answered truthfully. (Because they don't exist) If ANYONE were to actually research "teacup pigs", they would quickly see article after article, website after website report that teacup or micro pigs do NOT exist. Period. SO how much will a teacup weigh? The same as any other mini pig-between 75-300 pounds. We haven't just "talked" to "teacup" pig parents, we actually went a step further and collected pictures of their "teacup" pigs and added them to our page, realistic sizes of mini pigs.
Why are teacup pigs so expensive? True teacup pigs are still very rare. It takes years of crossbreeding smaller adult pigs to be able to produce this tiny breed of pigs. This is why you will see some breeders have more expensive pigs. Be careful with breeders who sell their pigs too cheap you usually always get what you pay for. Real Teacup pigs will cost between 1,500-3,000.
This nonexistent breed of pig is expensive because people continue to pay the ridiculous prices for them and soon realize that a pig is not for them or these "teacup" pigs quickly outgrow the size expectations. Inbreeding to try and produce a smaller pig is not a best practice and should be discouraged in general. This is how people end up with genetically defective pigs that do not live a long life or end up with multiple medical issues.
What is the difference between Teacup pigs, Micro Pigs, and Mini pigs? These are all names for similar types of pigs. Some teacup pig breeders will call their pigs super micro teacup pigs which usually means it is just an extra small teacup pig.
So far, I am NOT impressed with the journalism and lack of research done. Those terms are all marketing terms used to entice you to purchase an overpriced pig from someone who has no problem with using deceptive words to lead you in that direction. The easiest way to address this question is to tell you the common theme about those 3 terms, NONE OF THEM ARE ACTUAL BREEDS OF PIGS! Teacup-not a breed, Micro-not a breed, Mini-not a breed. Those are all adjectives, that's it.
Why is there so many negative articles about teacup pigs? From what we have been able to tell there are a few reasons why there are negative articles about teacup pigs. There have been plenty of backyard breeders selling pot belly pigs as teacup pigs and there are also a lot of sanctuaries that make money through donations. We have also found a lot of article writers just giving their opinion and saying whatever they can to drive traffic to their articles so they can get paid from advertisement they have on the page. There are plenty of happy teacup pig owners out there would have had their pigs for several years. You just have to be careful who you buy the piglet from.
I wish we did have advertisers to "make money" from as the author suggests. Our website COSTS money to run, we literally do not make a single penny from having an educational resource for pig parents. So our articles are from experience, veterinarians, other pig parents, etc. NOBODY pays us to publish anything on our website. Backyard breeders are the reason why this author thinks there are teacup pigs, but apparently they weren't resourceful enough to actually look up breeds of pigs using a credible resource to see that potbellied pigs ARE mini pigs. Mini is a descriptive word used to differentiate between farm/full sized pigs and miniature versions, such as the potbellied pig. Their article is obviously opinion based because there is NO scientific evidence to support what was said in that statement. I find it offensive that pig rescue/sanctuaries were accused of "making money from donations" even though I am not a pig rescue myself. I DO have several friends that are into rescue and let me clarify....most of them live paycheck to paycheck, often NOT having the luxuries that some of the rest of us have like all the channels on cable TV, no vacation, no new clothes, no extra money to do this or that. They are NOT "making money" by way of donations, when people actually donate. Donations are typically accepted, but it is apparent that this person does not understand or know how many "teacup pigs" are abandoned and need an experienced rescue to step in and take that starved pig or 200 pound pig into their homes, typically needing to be spayed and/or neutered because the "backyard breeder" doesn't tell them how important that part is either. Bringing a pig to a rescue COSTS these people/organizations money. Donations do not cover much of what all a pig needs, to those who actually receive donations. Some rescues have sponsorship programs, but that $25.00-50.00 a month, while this does help offset some of the costs to run an organization like these rescues, it may pay for the food for that pig each month. That does NOT pay for any veterinarian bills that may have occurred, no hay/straw, no shelter, no kiddie pool or anything else. While donations are ALWAYS appreciated, they do not typically "make money" and usually spend their own hard earned money caring for other peoples pigs every. single. month.
I get more upset with the responses they gave for each question, I feel like this is a piece of irresponsible journalism and does not at all represent what the majority believes to be true. However, because of people like this and poorly written/researched articles, there are people out there who want to believe so bad that these pigs exist, that they read trash like this and think someone knows more than experienced pig parents or the hundreds of thousands of pig caretakers out there who actually already have pigs or have seen and/or dealt with these things firsthand themselves.
Are teacup pigs starved to stay small? As silly as this question may sound there are some fear based articles that have tried to influence people that pigs are being starved in order to stay small. You can’t starve a horse into becoming a miniature pony and you can’t starve a hog or pot belly into becoming a teacup pig.
The person who wrote the article is correct that you cannot starve a horse into becoming a miniature pony, especially since those are actual breeds of different animals. The main difference between a horse and pony is the height. Nonetheless, there are horse breeds and there are pony breeds. You can, unfortunately, stunt the growth of a pig via malnourishment. This does come with major consequences, of course, but many people do just that to be able to show a smaller pig and some unsavory breeders/caretakers will even go a step further and feed extra so they don't look starved later in life just so they can say their pigs stay small. Its a sad world when animals are abused for money and that is EXACTLY what starving an animal is: ABUSE. The articles you read about pigs being starved aren't "fear based", they are reality. You should NEVER be able to see the facial bone structure in a pig, you should be able to feel hip bones, but you should never be able to see them. A starved pig looks sickly, they lack the spark in their eyes and coat. They aren't typically very active pigs. There have been genetic defects that have left pig parents with much smaller pigs, unfortunately, most of these pigs do not live a long life leaving a broken hearted family to pick up the pieces. Smaller doesn't always mean better in pig world. Click here to read an accurate and truthful article about starving pigs.
Are teacup pigs legal in most areas in the United States? Teacup pigs are now legal to have as pets in most areas. You can always check with your city to make sure.
WRONG. So many people have had to battle city ordinances specially banning pigs from living within city limits that we were used to signing multiple petitions each week. Pigs are illegal in A LOT of cities/counties/towns, so please check your specific city ordinance before adding a pig to your family. Click here to read more about zoning ordinances and your pig.
How long do teacup pigs live? A lot of people don’t realize how long teacup pigs live. Teacup pigs live between 10-15 years. Make sure you take that in consideration if you decide to get a teacup pig.
A pig that this author would consider "teacup" that I would likely consider "starved" if only 15 pounds at 5 years old, probably wouldn't survive to the 5th birthday in my opinion. The smaller pigs that I have seen/heard of, if not starved, have had genetic defects that ultimately caused an early death. So I would say that starving your pig to keep your pig small would essentially shorten the lifespan by at least 10 years to less than 5 years old in most cases. The average lifespan of a healthy pig that is appropriately cared for is between 10-20 years on average.
Are teacup pigs clean? Teacup pigs can be clean but also don’t mind getting dirty. Just like a normal pig they like rolling around in the mud on a warm day. The teacup pig owners we have talked to claim that their pigs are cleaner than dogs and cats. Having any type of pet will take work and training though.
Pigs, in general, are clean animals, I will try to avoid the teacup aspect of the article at this point. Pigs will wallow in the mud to 1. cool off 2. add a layer of protection to their skin for bugs and also the harmful UV rays. 3. pigs typically urinate/defecate away from their sleeping area. 4. pigs are pigs, so they can be sloppy eaters, often messy eaters actually...mini pigs like to tear up paper and build "nests" with various household items, bags, clothes, rugs, etc. SO yes, they are pretty clean, but they do not usually (voluntarily) get into the water to bathe either, so you would need to lure them into their kiddie pool and keep them busy while you bathe them or lure them into the bathroom in your home to bathe them should a bath be needed. I do agree that training is an important aspect of being a pet parent in general, but because pigs are exceptionally smart, training is necessary to maintain a good balance in the home.
Do teacup pigs get along with children and other animals? From all the pics we have seen online it seems like teacup pigs and children love to bond. It also appears they love to play with dogs. Here is a video of teacup pig playing with a dog.
Pure ignorance like this is what gets pigs killed. Pigs can get along with children and they can even get along with dogs, but it is dangerous to keep pigs and dogs together and children and pigs often become problematic when you don't understand herd dynamics. Are there any families who have both pigs and dogs? Absolutely. But, the successful families that have both pigs and dogs do so responsibly and keep the animals separated when there is no one there to make sure the animals are safe. Click here to read more about the dangers of dogs and pigs. It is flat out irresponsible to tell people that pigs and dogs do well together and even more irresponsible to encourage it.
What do teacup pigs eat? Teacup pigs have a special diet. They are fed twice a day Mazuri Mini Pig Food. They also can have some vegetables as snacks to award good behavior.
Each pigs diet will be slightly different. Caloric intake should be based on body scoring, activity levels, metabolism, genetics, etc. Some pigs may require feedings more often while others may only get fed once a day and Mazuri is a great feed, but it is not the only one on the market and feed is a matter of preference. As long as the feed you chose meets the balanced diet requirements, you will need to adjust the amount and frequency based on YOUR specific pigs needs. So while you and perhaps a significant other both eat varying amounts of food, so do pigs. Each pig will be different. If there is a "special diet" a breeder tells you about, and doesn't include a balanced diet or seem like enough to sustain life in an animal, its probably not sound advice and you should seriously reconsider following those directions. Click here to read more about nutrition for mini pigs.
Can teacup pigs be housed trained? Teacup pigs can be taught to go in a litter box like a cat or be let out to pee like a dog.
Pigs are very intelligent, they can be trained to use a litterbox, they can also be trained to use a dog door, bell, and/or other potty training methods like a potty patch or puppy pads for elimination needs. However, let me add, ALL pigs need outdoor time whether or not they go outside to potty.
Do teacup pigs need to be vaccinated? This is something to talk about with your vet. A lot of pigs are not vaccinated and the ones that do get vaccinations usually only get very small doses. Most pigs will need to get Ivermectin for mites.
The author of this article was almost right on one question, but they went and added "opinions" which completely ruined the answer. Vaccinations are not usually required unless mandated by a city, so it is absolutely best to speak to your vet about which illnesses/diseases are most common in your area to best determine which vaccinations, if any, would be best suited for your pig. The minuscule amounts referenced above? I have no idea what they're referring to. Vaccinations are usually weight based, so a younger/smaller pig would obviously require less amounts of the actual vaccine as opposed to that same pig 3 years later and 100 pounds heavier needing a larger dose. Parasite control is recommended not only for mites, but also worms that can be picked up as your pig is digging around outside.
How are teacup pigs for people with allergies? Many animals lovers who have allergies will look into having a teacup pig. Unlike cats and dogs pigs are hypoallergenic.
Wrong again. Pigs are NOT hypoallergenic. Pigs do blow their coats, pigs have dry skin and that often flakes off causing a dander like environment. Their hair bristles themselves can be quite abrasive all by itself, but allergy tests have proven people can (and are), in fact, allergic to pigs.
Which gender of Teacup pigs or micro pigs is better to own? This comes down to personal preference. Both male and female teacup pigs will need to be fixed. Both genders are good natured. It is cheaper to neuter a male then it is to spay a female.
While I agree that it is a personal preference as to which sex is desired, I also agree that once a pig is desexed, their temperament is their personality and each one will be different, male or female doesn't matter. It IS normally cheaper to neuter a male rather than spay a female up front, however, tusk growth and tusk trims are needed in the long term scheme of things for males whereas it has been suggested that the tusk root closes in females therefore, they do not typically require tusk trims (if they are needed at all). Not all pigs are "good natured", some pigs are cuddly while others may be quite a bit more standoffish. We (as the pig community) tend to glamorize pigs when it may take us 712 pictures to find the ONE Facebook worthy picture to post, but rarely do we disclose how uncooperative our pig was or how we had to bribe them with a box of cheerios to get them in the position we wanted for that perfect shot.
What do teacup pigs live in? Living arrangements for a teacup pig should have a private place like a playpen where the pig can go to sleep and bore down into some blankets.
I feel like I am teaching pig 101. Pigs need a safe place of their own. Until your pig is potty trained, they should be confined to a small space and gradually introduced to the rest of the home. Odds are, after a couple of months, you will NOT be able to lift your pig to place your pig in a "playpen", so that is NOT ideal for a living situation. You can crate train a pig, or even provide your pig with a room or place in your home with a comfy bed. Most important, you MUST pig proof your home. Pigs will get into EVERYTHING, so if you have cabinets, refrigerators, medicine chests, etc, your pig most likely WILL, at some point, break into those areas and eat whatever is there. That is why it is so important for your pig to have a defined space. Whether or not you chose to house your pig inside or outside is up to you, but you must also make sure your yard is secure and protect your pig from predators, like dogs. Here is a great place to start for new pig parents and highlights these kinds of questions.
What does it mean when a teacup pig ruts my arm? Teacup pigs show affection in several different ways. One of them is to rut on your arm. This can seem sweet at first but if it becomes tiresome don’t be afraid to tell the pig to stop.
Well, ROOTING is an instinct pigs have and it is common when pigs taken from their mothers too soon continue to nudge or root, like they would do to mama to stimulate milk production, when this occurs. Rooting is natural for them, this is why its necessary to modify YOUR life to fit your pigs life. Pigs need outdoor time or the opportunity to be a pig. Pigs root, they need a place to do that. Outdoors is best, but if weather isn't allowing that to happen or there are other circumstances where your pig cannot go out and dig, you can provide them with a rooting box or other stimulating activity, which we refer to as enrichment, to help curb that natural desire to root. Click here to read more about underaged pig problems.
Can teacup pigs learn tricks? Yes teacup pigs can learn to go on a leash and sit. Some Diabetic patients claim that their teacup pig can tell when their blood sugar is too low or high and can be trained to warn them. There are several tricks teacup pigs can learn to do. You just have to train them with small treats.
Pigs are extremely intelligent and master simple tricks like sit and spin within minutes. This is both awesome and terrible at the same time. Since they are so intelligent, they do learn quickly, but what this means is that they master these tricks quickly and need something more advanced to keep them occupied. Some pigs are super relaxed and will hang around in the yard, digging some holes, looking for worms while wallowing around in the dirt/mud. Other pigs sit around in the house all day wondering how they can get into that cabinet where they KNOW you keep yummy treats. A bored pig is often a destructive pig. The diabetic patient claiming their pig would notify them of an impending hypoglycemic moment is not a "trick" you teach your pig, this is more of a capacity of a service animal and, at this time, pigs can NOT be classified as service animals, only dogs and in some cases, miniature horses. So while I am well aware of the pigs capabilities of doing more advanced things like notifying of seizure activity, even alerting motorists to a caretaker having a heart attack inside the home, this is something that would take dedication and time to train a pig to do. Pigs can learn many many tricks though and you can read more about teaching you pigs tricks by clicking here.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to comment with more questions you may have.
Unfortunately, there was not a place to leave a comment on the original post cited above which is why I decided to address these same questions myself. It is clear to me that there was NOT a lot of time and research put into this article before publishing. It is disappointing to me that there are still people out there promoting teacup and micro pigs as pigs that exist. They clearly do not realize that breeders will lie to get you to buy a pig from them. They will also tell you they "guarantee" the weight of their pigs and they may even say they accept returns if a pig grows bigger than expected. Have you ever priced shipping a 150 pound pig across the US back to the breeder? And have you considered how you will feel about this pig once you have cared for it for several years? This pig will become part of your family, part of your life and routine. That is exactly what dishonest breeders are banking on, your bond with your pig. Meanwhile, they'll continue to lie and sell pigs using inaccurate terms because they can, and as long as ignorant articles like this are out there for people to see, they'll continue to use those tactics to sell pigs to uneducated and ill prepared families.
Do what YOU can to help. Advocate, educate, preach adoption, preach fostering of pigs. Tell people what life is REALLY like, not the Facebook life we are all guilty of living. (I do it too) That is also why we created the website, to tell the truth. The good, bad and ugly truth. Be informed, not impulsive.
Being a "legitimate" sanctuary is NOT about being a 501c-3 or how many animals one has in their care. It is about caring well for what you have, within YOUR means, having the ability to carry on without being dependent on others financially, and knowing your limits and sticking to them, whether it is 2 animals or 100.
Keep in mind that just because someone CLAIMS to be a non-profit does not mean they are. There have been quite a few over the last few years that have been proven to be a scam that quickly to come to mind. These people are slick and have all the right words. If someone claims to be a 501c-3, ASK FOR PROOF and do not send a penny until you see it. Know who the people/operators are BEHIND the name of a sanctuary or rescue. If you see only a sanctuary/rescue name but no names/addresses for the operators, do not donate until you know who they are and that they are legit. If you see constant requests for money but little posted about the animal residents, step away. Any good rescue will post pictures of their animals, updated pictures, not the same pictures over and over again. They will provide proof of where the money is going should they be asked to. Also, just because the operators are "friends" with other pig people does not mean they are who they say. Some of these people had many "friends" in the pig world, most who friended them after seeing other pig people among their FB friends or seeing a post they made tugging at heartstrings. Once they had a few hooked, others follow suit like a snowball rolling downhill, none knowing the truth. Their "friends" list fill with people who have no idea who they are. These people did NOT run a sanctuary. Instead, one group was actually scammers who sent pigs to slaughter. KNOW WHO YOU ARE DEALING WITH AND SENDING ANIMALS TO! 501c-3 status means nothing with regards to actual care of the animals. Claiming to be a nonprofit organization may even be false, which is also illegal. You can look up a legitimate 501c3 to be sure it is, in fact, a legitimate organization who has filed for the nonprofit status and registered with the state and IRS.
If you see a new sanctuary pop up and immediately start asking for donations for fencing, feed and housing, consider very carefully before contributing in any way. They have not proven themselves to be capable of supporting their new venture on their own and instead are counting on YOU to pay their way. With very few exceptions, they will be unable to support the animals/property without financial help. Do they even OWN the property? Do they know how to properly care for the pigs? Are they, at a minimum, securely separating intact pigs of opposite sexes to prevent breeding? Do they even have a vet??? What are they feeding the pigs?
If you see someone continually saying "I will take that pig", "Send them to me", "I can take in all of those", frequently tagging the same someone else to take pigs in need, it could be a very bad situation. There are a lot of flippers out there, breeders claiming to "rescue" when in fact they are looking for more breeding stock, people who sell for slaughter, hoarders, people looking for dog bait animals, pigs to breed for snake food...all sorts of evil posing behind the words "rescue" or "sanctuary". DO YOUR RESEARCH. ASK AROUND.
Please note that there are hundreds of LEGITIMATE rescues who are NOT registered non-profits AND there have been some very ILLEGTIMATE ones who were. We, who are private work full time jobs to care for our rescued animals and don't constantly beg for others to send us money to support them, are extremely legitimate. We are proving that we are, in fact, responsible people who do not continually look for others to support our cause. I stand by my belief that if you cannot support the animals in your care with your own hard work, and if you plan to solicit donations from others to do so, you are putting those very animals at great risk when the donations dry up...and sooner or later they will. Economic situations change, interests wane, people move on to other causes that touch them...but the animals you are responsible for remain in your care. Do not have them eventually become someone else's responsibility when the money stops from donations. Start slow and small and be as certain as you can of your own ability to finance your rescue. Own the property you establish your rescue on and have the means to survive without depending on others to pay your way. Only a very few are successful doing so and times are not easy for them, despite having been well established for many years. More and more there are people with outstretched hands begging for funds. Those who donate are stretched thin and may be confused where their funds will be best used when so many hands are waving in their faces. My response is...stay local or contribute to well established sanctuaries or to the new who are known and publicly supported by the old. If someone is desperate for feed or vet money and you plan to help, do so by sending funds directly to a feed store or vet clinic, not to an individual's paypal account. Ask for receipts. Know where your money is going.
With the overwhelming number of pigs needing homes due to mass producing by greeders and irresponsible owners, there is a huge need for more sanctuaries. It is a golden opportunity for the scammers to hop on board and blend in. Don't be scammed. Look for the red flags and do NOT give your hard earned money to someone undeserving who may or may not even have pigs in their care.
~Dawn Camp, Camp Skipping Pig Rescue
Ticks are fairly common in the warmer months for most of the United States. Factoring in a mild winter for the East Coast this past year, ticks are a BIG problem in those states already and the season should just be beginning. Ticks are more than just a "pest", certain ticks can be carriers of serious illnesses like Lyme's Disease and this CAN BE spread to pigs from the bite of an infected tick. Since ticks must be in areas of high humidity to survive, they are most commonly found in grassy, brushy, wooded, and shaded areas. There are several species that vary in appearance, but all of the adults are small, round with eight legs. All ticks feed exclusively on the blood of vertebrates. There are two families of ticks: hard ticks and soft ticks. They have four stages in their life: egg, larva, nymph and adult.
Mating usually occurs while adult ticks are on the body of the host animal. The female then drops to the ground and deposits her eggs. When they are at the larvae stage, they are called "seed ticks" with six legs. They attach themselves to a host, after receiving a blood meal, they drop to the ground and emerge as eight-legged nymphs. The three most common ticks are the Brown Dog Tick/American Dog Tick, the Lone Star tick and the Blacklegged Tick. The Blacklegged Tick is a known to carry the bacteria that can cause Lyme's Disease. New diseases are being discovered year after year, and because they're newly discovered, there isn't a lot of information about the diseases yet, nor whether these new diseases can affect pigs, so keep a lookout for information regarding ticks and tickborne diseases in YOUR specific region. Click here to read the CDC's tick geographic distribution page to see what ticks may be in your area.
If you want to see the growth comparison of different ticks, click here for comparison pictures of each species. (You will likely start feeling ghost ticks crawling on you after looking at these pictures...I did! lol)
How ticks find their hosts. Ticks find their hosts by detecting animals´ breath and body odors, or by sensing body heat, moisture, and vibrations. Some species can even recognize a shadow. In addition, ticks pick a place to wait by identifying well-used paths. Then they wait for a host, resting on the tips of grasses and shrubs. Ticks can't fly or jump, but many tick species wait in a position known as "questing".
While questing, ticks hold onto leaves and grass by their third and fourth pair of legs. They hold the first pair of legs outstretched, waiting to climb on to the host. When a host brushes the spot where a tick is waiting, it quickly climbs aboard. For obese pigs whose bellies nearly drag the ground, this is a ticks opportunity to "climb aboard" easily. Some ticks will attach quickly and others will wander, looking for places like the ear, or other areas where the skin is thinner. For pigs, ticks typically choose an area that is softer such as behind the ears or under the legs. (the "armpit" area) However, ticks can attach anywhere. I have found them on the back, face, near the anus or shoulder area on my pig. The tick pictured below was in the "armpit" area of a pig.
How ticks spread disease. Ticks transmit pathogens that cause disease through the process of feeding. It is likely unknown if all tickborne diseases can affect pigs, but using the theory that a pig closely resembles a human as far as internal structure/organs, my guess would be that pigs could potentially contract any of the tickborne diseases that affect humans. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
How do you control ticks in your yard? This can be especially difficult to do, even more so if you have any wooded areas close by and even more so if you have a lot of acreage to cover. The odds are, you will not be able to eliminate ALL ticks, but you can reduce the amount and not give them an environment to thrive in by following some simple steps.
Tick Habitats. These are the places where you may find ticks, their eggs or tick nests. Ticks need humid, shaded areas to survive and they will move rather than be "discovered".
Tick Nests. It is important to know what to look out for as well. The tick "nest" can harbor thousands of "seed ticks" that are almost microscopic in size and barely visible to the eye. If you should walk into a nest, you may see something crawling on your clothing if you look closely enough, but they are the size of a pen point. Should these ticks wander around long enough, they can find a spot or drop off and wait for another host. This is especially important for pigs since they do tend to lay around a lot. Should your pig walk through a nest and pick up hundreds of seed ticks, your pig may present with a bunch of bumps that look as if the pig has been bitten by a slew of insects, but more importantly, these seed ticks may also be in their bedding, so you must eliminate ALL of them or your pig will likely be re-infested over and over again.
A female can lay 3000-4000 eggs at a time after a blood meal. This is what you may see in the yard or on a surface. These are tick eggs or nests and they will hatch and this vicious cycle repeats over and over and over again.
Seed tick infestation on a pig. A pig presented with bumps under the front two legs, normal washing began along with hydrocortisone cream. After a day, it was determined that seed ticks were the cause as shown on the last picture on a white cloth. Furthermore, the nest was discovered nearby and this particular pig was laying in that area day after day, so until it was identified and destroyed, each tick had to be removed night after night. Just one example of how these tiny ticks might present on a pig.
Preventing ticks on your pig. Tick bites on pigs may be hard to detect. Signs of tickborne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your pig closely for changes in behavior or appetite if you suspect that your pig has been bitten by a tick. I do a routine tick check every single day for my pig. Its a good habit to add to your routine since having a cooperative pig can help detect ticks that may have not even attached themselves yet. If you cannot prevent them altogether, the next best thing is to have the ability to remove them as soon as possible.
Tick removal from pigs
You can purchase your very own tick specific removal tool!
Tick Ease removal tweezers takes the guess work out of it as does the Tick Twister. These products help to ensure you are grabbing the tick in the right place by creating an opening to fit any size tick allowing you to gently remove it from your pig.
**Avoid "painting" a tick with nail polish or Vaseline, using a heat source such as a match freshly lit and blown out for tick removal. The goal is to remove it quickly, not wait for it to detach. Some of the "home/all natural solutions" are based on theories using essential oils and such, these can be tried as a preventative, but we do not recommend using these methods for tick removal. If a rash or fever develops within several weeks of a tick bite/being removed, contact your veterinarian.
Are there any "homemade" remedies available to control the tick population? Of course there are. However, it is obviously unknown if these DIY treatments are effective. If whomever created the recipe for tick destruction has never seen a tick on their animal, it may be very effective, but that is someone claiming this, not scientifically proven. There are known pesticides that are effective and even animal friendly. So choose carefully. Read up on whatever you're putting in a bottle and spraying around your pigs bedding area or actually on your pig. I wouldn't trust some random internet person that I do not personally know. But, there are some relatively harmless homemade solutions that may work for you...as usual, check with your vet before treating ANYTHING yourself. Read up on appropriate treatments by credible organizations before picking what you will use. This is a great place to start. http://tickwarriors.com
Things to keep in mind when trying the ticks remedies
Pig approved commercial/processed treatments: Several products contain a number of repellents and insecticides, and are registered for direct application to pigs. These include: Inca Ban Fly insecticidal spray for animals (250mL and 500mL quantities); Musca Ban insecticidal spray (125mL, 500 mL and 5L); Value Plus fly spray in the same quantities; Flygon insecticidal and repellent spray in the same quantities and Ecovet Insect Repellent (500mL).
Pour–on products such as Taktic Topline®, which are registered for use in pigs for the control of mange may also provide some protection from ticks, as noted above in relation to biting fly control. Again, as mentioned above, Frontline and/or Advantage plus for dogs can also be used to prevent ticks in pigs. You MUST pay careful attention to the weight limits and purchase the correct weight class for your pig. UltraCruz Equine Natural Fly and Tick Spray is a product that can be purchased that is often used for horses. Bronco E Equine Fly Spray also repels ticks and is safe to use for horses, people and pigs. Permethrin 10% is deemed safe for use in pigs. Commercial farms use products like Prolate/Lintox-HD on pigs without issues. Tick Warriors All Natural Yard Spray is an excellent product.
*I am quite sure there are many more DIY methods that others may use or other products that have been effective at controlling ticks in their area, we encourage you to leave a comment on the blog or on our social media pages with your recipe, but I also must post a warning to those who may simply use what they see as credible. Please do NOT use anything in your pigs area or on your pig without first making sure it is safe to use!!
Anecdotal reports suggest that use of equipment such as portable mist blowers to apply these products to the pigs at for nightly intervals works well.
**It is important to use the products according to label directions and keep them well away from pig feed and water sources to avoid chemical contamination and risk of chemical residue. With any of these products, I would spray the solution on a rubber brush and brush on, not spray directly on your pig since it would be very easy to accidentally spray near or in the eyes/mouth.
Hopefully all pigs and their human families can be as tick free as possible this summer season! For more tips/information regarding summer seasonal concerns, click here to read more!
What makes some better than others at pig parenthood? (yeah, we aren't perfect either, so we have no idea) However, there are some things you can do to try and prepare for anything that may be in you and your pigs future. We will be adding to this blog as more things come to mind.
Anyone who has a pig that has either had to flip an uncooperative pig or simply restrain a pig that doesn't want to be restrained KNOWS the squeals that come out of your pigs mouth do not reflect their normal demeanor. However, when you have procedures planned and have neighbors close-by, it is just the right thing to do-to let them know what will be happening, just so they don't think there is an issue at your house.
Keeping a journal of what your pig is doing, has done plus additional details about the care of your pig, this is helpful in many ways. As mentioned in the picture, we suggest you use our pig health form to help you gather the important information your vet will need in order to prioritize when your pig should be seen. Click here to view the page where these documents can be found.
Pigs are like kids in the car, if you slam on the brakes, pigs have no idea what to do or how to "brace themselves". Providing a sense of security for your pig by using a crate or something similar that restricts the area in which they can go is helpful in preventing injury. You would most likely beat yourself up if your pig had a fall in your vehicle resulting in an injury.
Secure fencing is a big one. Some peoples fencing is perfectly arranged with no weakness whatsoever....however, a stray dog looking for an easy target WILL get over a chain link fence or fencing that isn't set up right. Pallets can be used to make a sturdy fence, but they must be reinforced with other materials and because they are so low to the ground, you will also need to figure out something to protect your pig from other animals entering the yard. Click here to view the page with fencing examples.
Ticks are NOT my favorite insect, not by any stretch of the imagination. But, there are ways to control them in the yard. Some vets approve frontline or Advantage + for use in pigs, please note, you MUST pay close attention to the weight restrictions. Click here to learn more about summertime concerns including a DIY tick and mosquito spray.
This information is covered in our new pig parent section as well, click here to read more information if you are new to pigs.
Nutrition and body scoring are both addressed on our website. Click here to read more about nutrition and click here to read more about body scoring for pigs.
This actually should've been number 1 on the list, but we cannot express the importance of this enough! Click here to read the wide range of complications your pig can have from not being spayed or neutered. It really isn't worth the risk.
So what should go in a first aid kit? What else do you need handy? Click here to find out!
If you suspect your pig is sick, the very first thing you should do is take your pigs temperature. Having a baseline core body temperature is key to knowing whether or not your pig has a fever, can lead you to your next step. The presence of a fever can indicate an infection is brewing, heat distress/overheating or even a systemic response to something else. If your pig has a high fever, it is recommended that your pig be seen by a vet.
You can click here to see our vet map. This is a very user friendly map, all you need to do is search by city or "zoom in" to your area to see what vet practices are close to you.
Obviously we have tons of great information on our website. Most of the important info regarding a pigs health can be found within the subsections of those pages, but you can click here to read more about specific diseases that are popping up more frequently.
Our heartfelt thanks to Pet Sitters International for the guest blog this week!! ~MPI Team
Article By Pet Sitters International Staff
While pet pigs may not be as common as dogs or cats, their owners still need someone to provide quality pet care when work or travel keep them from home. However, finding reliable pet care is not as simple as enlisting a family member, friend or neighbor to help. While probably caring and good intentioned, they likely lack the training—and the insurance coverage—to provide the quality of care pet pigs deserve.
Fortunately, many professional pet sitters now offer care for pot-bellied pigs. Whether you need someone to simply feed your pet pig or take it for a stroll, a local professional pet sitter can offer peace of mind that other pet-care options cannot. Professional pet sitters provide pet care at the client’s home or property, allowing pets to maintain healthy routines in the comfort of their own home environments.
But selecting the right pet sitter to meet your family’s specific pet-care needs can take time. With numerous pet-care directory sites popping up in the last couple of years, anyone can post a profile online advertising pet-sitting services—whether they have experience and credentials or not. Pet owners should make sure that they are hiring true professionals before letting them have access to their homes and pets.
Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, recommends that pet owners schedule an initial consultation with a potential pet sitter before booking services.
“But what questions should I ask?” the owner of a pet pig may wonder.
PSI advises pet owners to ask seven important questions when interviewing a potential pet sitter:
In addition to asking these questions, Alisha Tomlinson, PSI member and owner of Heavy Petting Pet Sitting in North Carolina, advises that it is also important that owners of pet pigs provide some specific information to any pet sitter they decide to use. Tomlinson encourages owners to explain the pig’s exact routine to the pet sitter, indicate how much food the pig should receive, and where it is okay to touch the pig.
Sarah Palmeri, owner of The Sitters in Massachusetts—and also a PSI member—recommends that it is also important for the pig’s owner to share if it is potty-trained, is allowed both indoors and outdoors, what commands the pig is familiar with and, of course, what the pig’s favorite treat is.
PSI has found that its professional pet-sitting members adjust and expand their services to meet the needs of their pet-owning clients. A pet owner should ask if a potential pet sitter has experience caring for pot-bellied pigs, but even if the professional pet sitter’s answer is no, the pet owner may still decide to book services based on the pet sitter’s reputation and level of experience and training in the pet-care industry.
Oftentimes, professional pet sitters without “pig expertise” are able to quickly adapt to a pig’s routine and follow the care plan when given detailed instructions by the owner—or with a “trial run” before the actual pig-sitting services are needed.
Just as some people are “dog people” and others are “cat” or “bird” people, there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to finding the right pet sitter to meet the specific needs of you and your pet. In addition to asking the seven questions suggested above, make sure any potential pet sitter meets you—and your pig—in person before securing services.
Finding a professional pet sitter to provide the right pet-care services requires an investment of time—time to do phone interviews, conduct an in-your-home meeting and thoroughly check references on those you’re considering hiring. But, once you find that perfect professional pet sitter, you’ll have peace of mind—and your pig will be in “hog heaven!”
PSI provides pet owners with free access to its Pet Sitter Locator, allowing you to search for local professional pet sitters free of charge at petsit.com/locate.
While PSI recommends a professional pet sitter when vacation or work keep you from home, there’s one week we recommend bringing your pig with you—during the annual Take Your Pet To Work Week™! To learn more about this annual event that celebrates pets and promotes adoptions, visit the PSI website.
The very best thing you can do is educate yourself as much as possible. Do NOT take advice from people that may or may not be qualified to give you that type of guidance or advice. ALWAYS know you are getting credible information from a trusted source. There is sooooooo much inaccurate information being passed around, so we thought we would try and present some of the facts we know to be true that has seemed to cause an abundance of confusion.
I have told this story before, but not on the blog. When I had ZERO pig knowledge and ran out to buy a pig because I was selfish and didn't think it would be hard to care for a pig, I noticed these "holes" in my pigs legs. I IMMEDIATELY called my vet who was out of town, so a partner saw my pig. She agreed, it looked bad, possibly a parasite, a flesh eating bacteria, but felt confident in prescribing me an antibiotic and some antibiotic cream for these "abscesses". Needless to say, when my vet arrived back to the office and saw my pig was seen, he was kind enough to fill me in that they weren't "holes", not parasites, no flesh eating bacteria, but instead scent glands. That was definitely an expensive lesson to find out they were a normal part of the anatomy. Click here to learn more about scent glands.
In a pigs natural environment, they are able to forage around for food, pee in a stream and build a nest of sticks and leaves and can survive a long time doing this. We cannot expect an animal with naturally wild instincts to be good and act the way WE want them too ALL the time. It isn't going to happen. We can't make our pigs smaller, so we have to build bigger indoor enclosures, buy new fashionable pig clothes, bigger water and food bowls, reinforce weak or damaged fencing. Why you ask? Because you have committed to this pig for potentially 20+ years and as your pig grows, you will have to modify everything to make sure your pig is safe and secure.
Yes, pigs DO shed. Pigs are NOT hypoallergenic as some may say and people CAN be allergic to their pig. It isn't common, but it does happen.
We have a blog as well as a page dedicated to pig halitosis. Some pigs have HORRIBLE breath while others simply isn't that bad. There are a variety of things that could be going on, but based on my experience, this pocket of goop is what has caused the foul breath. Click here to read more about tusk care/dental care in pigs.
Yes, female pigs also get tusks. Most female pigs do NOT have big giant tusks like the males do, however, there are always exceptions. There are a lot of people who have no idea which is why we are adding it here.
Pigs NEED outside time. Pigs who are exclusively kept indoors can suffer from Vitamin D deficiencies and boredom. Bored pigs are often destructive pigs. Click here to read more about enrichment for your pig.
Pigs and dogs are natural enemies. I do not care how sweet your dog is, honestly, size isn't of size isn't significant when a piglet goes into a home with a dog. We see people posting daily on social media that their pig was attacked by the family dog. We warn as many people as possible. It doesn't matter if you are standing right there with them, it can and does happen all the time. 5 seconds is all it takes for your dog to get his/her powerful jaw around a pig's neck and your pig could die as a result. Please do not leave the two unattended. Click here to read more about the dangers.
Not every pig roots and causes complete destruction in the yard, but some do. If a perfect yard is in your plans, you will need to set aside an area for your pig with secure fencing (because the grass is always greener on the other side) to keep your pig contained to that particular area. Pigs have a great sense of smell, on top of that, they are extremely curious and like to dig around to find buried treasures that may be hidden in the soil. When pigs are not given the opportunity to go outside and root and play, they can often become destructive IN the house. A fenced in yard is a must for a pig parent. This is not only to keep your pig in your yard, but also to keep predators out. Click here if you need some ideas for outside containment. We have pages for indoor pens as well as outdoor houses and fencing.
Having a vet that sees pigs is a step in the right direction, having a vet that specializes in pigs is like hitting the lottery. There aren't many out there. It is super important to have a vet lined up, that's knowledgable about pigs, before your pig gets sick or injured. There isn't a worse feeling than knowing your pig needs to be treated, but you cannot find a vet to help. We have a list of vets that have been confirmed over the last couple of years who have said they will see pigs. Not all specialize in pigs and some are limited in what they can provide, so you will need to call and find out what their particular policies are with regards to pigs as patients. You can click here to view our vet map. We also have a general health form that you can download (click here to go to the general health page) and use should your pig become ill to help you with details you might not think is relevant, but your vet will be grateful to have. Aside from sickness or injury, a vet may be needed for vaccinations, general questions about your pig or routine care like hoof or tusk trims. Always have a back up plan, matter of fact, have back up plans for back up plans.
Piglets tend to do "ok" with stairs, but...as your pig grows older and wiser and bigger and heavier, they tend to have issues with stairs/steps. It is best to set your pig up with success by having an alternative solution ready to put into action, such as a ramp. Click here for our page that discusses this.
We preach this day in and day out. ALL pigs grow. The ones that do stay piglet sized (and there is only a handful that I am aware of) will likely never see their 5th birthday sadly enough. Some people are truly ignorant to the fact they're being told to basically starve a pig to stunt the growth while others know exactly what they're doing. Nonetheless, we wanted to make sure everyone knew there are no "teacup", "micro", "micro mini", "nano", "pocket sized", "apartment", "pygmy", "dandie" or any other made up misleading descriptive term to elude to one person over another having "smaller" pigs. Click here to see our page regarding this MYTH.
Checking the rules/laws/ordinances regarding pigs, in the area you live, can save a lot of heartache. Not all cities welcome pigs with open arms. Much like everyone who does add a pig to the family, it takes time to learn about them. Most people have never even seen a pig in person, much less thought about a pig as a companion pet. There has been a lot of success with people have ordinances amended to allow potbellied pigs to reside within city limits, but those people have worked hard to make that happen. We put together a packet of information to help guide you on that journey if you choose to tackle that. I have found that most cities are willing to listen to the information and typically have some follow up questions, but in a lot of those cases, the decision to allow pigs was the outcome. YOU will need to do some work to make your case and show your city/town/county why you feel pigs should be allowed. Click here to view our page and packet of information that can be useful to you if you are fighting to keep your pig or you want to establish or change an outdated ordinance.
No explanation needed.
Naturally we will add more to this page as the day goes on and time permits....What do you feel needs clarification? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on our Facebook page. We are certainly open to suggestions, but wanted to present these "truths" in a creative way.
In the summer, it can get too hot, in the winter, it can get too cold and sometimes even impossible to get out of your home, much less trying to get your pig to go outside for ANY reason. First, let me say, I feed my pig outside regardless of the weather. Why is this important? Because no matter what the weather is like, my pig is willing to go outside because she knows she will not eat of she doesn't. I try not to take advantage of this and leave her outside during extreme weather though. However, she also knows she isn't coming back in until she potties. THIS is her routine and it is known by both me and her. Admittedly, I sometimes have to stand there with her holding an umbrella over her head, but that is still better than having to literally push her out of the door to get her outside to start. No need to let it rain on your pig's parade. (So to speak)
So there is inclement weather, and you are not able to let your pig outside for extended periods of time. Your pig is bored and driving you crazy....what can you do? Certainly you could give a few treats to quiet your pig down, but guess what that does? Reinforces that if they whine and cry, you will get up and get them a treat, so we have come up with some other activites to keep your pig stimulated when they aren't able to be outside. Despite mother nature's plans, it is still important for both their mental and physcial well-being for to exercise our pigs. Sometimes that means exercising indoors. Maybe you have noticed your pigs eagerness and willingness to particpate with training is great for the first 15 minutes, but then your pig just wants treats, that is because just 10-15 minutes of mental stimulation, sometimes that really makes them focus, concentrate and process information is equivalent to physcially exhausting 30 minutes of moderate exercise. So if your pig is stuck inside, try exercising the brain in additon to the body.
1. Do not give your pig massive amounts of treats because your pig is screaming, instead, work on training. Work on obedience training. Teach your pig a new trick and reward accordingly. Sit and spin are easy tricks for pigs to learn and even more fun to watch. Click here to go to our training page to learn how to teach some of these tricks. One piggy mama (Jaharia Zamora with Blue the pig) even wrote out instructions on how she was able to teach her pig colors. Not only do these things strengthen the bond and communication you have with your pig, but now you have something to show your friends and family. Mothers bragging rights.
Some people use books or videos to learn, but your pig may not think like other pigs and some of the tips may leave you confused. Watch your pig, look at how he/she reacts to certain circumstances and create a plan that works for you and your pig. Try to keep training limited to 15 minute intervals though. Once your pig has lost interest, stop, but end on a positive note! If your pig hasnt mastered the trick you are trying to teach before your session ends, go back to a trick your pig HAS mastered and stop the session after having your pig do that particualr trick so he/she will remain excited about the next session. Pick it back up later in the day or even another day.
2. Create an indoor obstacle or agility course. Agility tools can be purchased online and at some pet stores. What these tools do is provide you with basic/consistent items to use for training. Most of these prepackaged kits contain small orange cones, a tunnel of some kind, sometimes a limbo type bar you could use to teach your pig to hop over or crawl under. You can certainly use items you already have to accomplish the same thing, but these kits contain items designed specifcally for this purpose. Consistency is key! You must continue to use the same tools over and over again for your pig to "get it" and understand what he/she is supposed to do. Naturally, since pigs are extremely food motivated, treats work as rewards. You do NOT have to give massive amounts of treats for your pig to master these things. They will work just as hard for 1/4 of a single cheerio that they will work for a handful.
3. Use the forced indoor time for grooming. I realize alot of people have limited indoor space dedicated soley to their pig, so placing a blanket down to "collect" loose hair or dead skin, perhaps even hoof nails as you trim them is ideal. Rubber brushes work wonders on loosening up dry skin and helping to remove it. You can purchase these at most pet stores. If your pig has exceptionally dry skin, you may need to take it a step further and provide supplements or you can check out our page dedicated to helping those who are battling dry skin which is so common in pigs. You can check that page out by clicking here. We also have pages for hoof trimming which you can read through by clicking here. If you are interested in giving your pig a bath but not sure how to go about it, click here to learn more about bathing your pig.
4. Use a treadmill for your pig. Pigs must remain mobile. Pigs that tend to lay around are at risk for pneumonia (just like people) and also chronic constipation. Gut mobility has alot to do with overall diet, water consumption, but also general mobility. Pigs that do not move around alot typically have more constipation issues. When you are already having a difficult time with your pig being stuck inside the house, the last thing you want to do is complicate that by tacking on constipation. Try your pig on a treadmill. You may have to entice them alittle to get it started by using air popped popcorn as a motivator and starting off at the slowest speed possible. Some pigs will not like this and will hop off, so be sure to have someone for both sides and behind the treadmill to prevent your pig from being injured should he/she not catch on immediately.
5. Use treat brain games, puzzles and/or treat dispensers to help exercise while also being rewarded. Some more complicated or complex toys are available on Amazon.com and can range from beginners to pigs who easily master simple puzzles. Please start off with easy puzzles, allow your pig to master those before trying more advanced puzzles. Do not set your pig up to fail.
6. Scent games and hide and seek. Essentially this is hiding a treat in your home and letting your pig look for it. You can use a rooting box to acheive the same thing. Rooting boxes are some kind of box, large enough for your pig to get in and out of, that you can fill with ball pits balls (easily found at Walmart or Amazon) or anything lareg enough for your pig NOT to swallow and sprinkle in some oats or air popped popcorn (unsalted/unbuttered) and let your pig have a blast!
7. Phone books. I never knew how great these were until my pig found one in my house and had a ball ripping it to shreds. She quickly learned that ripping paper makes an awesome sound and although sometimes she eats a littleof the paper, normally I find wads of paper she has spit out later on in the day. I like phone books because I know the paper inside in super thin and poses very little risk to cause obstructions. The video above is one I found that demonstrates how much pigs can have with paper.
8. Play with your pig. Watch a movie with your pig. You would be quite surprised at how much your pig just wants to sit with you and have belly rubs. Quality time spent with your pig is never wasted time.
9. Use what is available to provide entertainment. Harley was kind enough to send a video of her pigs "bobbing for apples". This is a great example of something anyone can do for their pigs. Be sure to make your pig does actually get rewarded, frustration can easily turn into anger/aggression, so make sure whatever you're using is appropriate for your pig and your pig is able to acheive the ultimate goal.
10. Take lots of pictures and videos and create something unique and fun! As you are working with your pig, create a video and show others what worked for you. Take notes and wrote something up that can be shared from one pig mama to another. (We are always happy when others reach out to us with ideas and videos and would be delighted to add them to the website). Or create something fun just for you. You pig will only be 6 months old once, or 10 years old once, so capture these memories so you can cherish them forever.
Any of these activites can be done indoors and provide your pig with hours of entertainment. We will be adding much more content to our enrichment page, so check back to see if there are any new activites you can try with your pig! Feel free to check it out now as well. You can do so by clicking here. If all else fails, send us your pig shaming pictures to be featured in our next pig shaming movie! And smile, that's just how pigs roll. We have ALL been there....
We have decided to add a monthly blog addressing the top 10 searched terms/phrases for the website. This will obviously vary from month to month, but some are searched month after month and to be sure everyone's questions are being addressed, we thought it would be helpful to post a monthly blog discussing these terms and phrases. If there is information that you need or want, please let us know if it isnt already addressed on the website and we can build a page full of as much information as we can find about any particular subject. We add content to the website almost daily, so if you do not see it now, it may be added tomorrow.
Number 1 searched term: Pig penis. seriously? LOL. Well a picture is worth 1,000 words. You can learn more about pig anatomy by clicking here. Yes a pigs penis is shaped like a corkscrew. It is a sight that cannot be UNSEEN once seen.
Number 2 most searched term: Pig attacks dog.
This search is more serious. Intact pigs tend to be more rambunctious than a more mature of altered pig. A pig that is aggressively or even playfully trying to "attack" a dog is going to be a problem. This is NOT a safe situation. Family dogs, dogs that have grown up with children crawling around on their back, dogs that are normally very chill and laid back, small dogs, big dogs, lap dogs and really ANY dog has the ability to severely injure or KILL a pig. Especially a piglet. Please do NOT leave a pig and dog alone unsupervised. It's dangerous to have them together while you are standing there in some cases, it only takes a couple of seconds to change your pigs life forever. Please remember that. Dogs are predators and pigs are prey aninals. Click here to read more about the dangers of pigs and dogs.
Number 3 most searched term: Full grown chipmunk pig.
This is an easy one. A "chipmunk" pig is a pig that has likely been crossbred with a feral pig which is where they get the "chipmunk" stripes. There is no breed of pig called chipmunk. Feral pigs are small pigs normally and the stripes do not remain as they mature into adult pigs. But, again, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a feral cross piglet and the same pig as an adult pictured below.
Number 4 most searched term: My pig will not sleep in its new house.
Pigs are routine animals and naturally untrusting. New houses or crates or rooms will need time to be explored before your pig will likely utilize them. If you have a new house for your pig, be sure your pig is able to get into the house without having to duck down or kneel. Make sure your pig doesnt have to take big steps to get inside if it is off the ground, as this may literally be preventing your pig from being able to get inside. If the new house isn't on stable ground, your pig will likely not go inside. Structures need to be stable without any kind of rocking. Pigs like stability.
If there is a house outside your pig refuses to go in to and has been in there before and suddenly will not go inside, check the house. Be sure there are no spiders that may have bitten your pig. Be sure straw/hay or whatever you're using inside for insulation isn't full of mold or mildew. Be sure the flooring isnt slippery or contanimated with anything that is causing your pig to slip when trying to enter the house. Be sure to routinely check the outside structure for signs of other animals getting inside. There have been times when pigs refuse to go in outside structures because other animals have defectaed or urinated inside their bedding. (and other similar things)
Number 5 most searched term: Why does my pigs skin turn red?
Well, there are multiple answers to that question. 1st, is your pig itchy? Does your pig have a fever or any skin lesions? Is your pig eating, drinking, peeing and pooping ok? These are the very basic questions that need to be answered to narrpw that down to something more manageable. Red skin can be something as simple as sunburn (because pigs do tend to love to sunbathe) or something more serious like a skin infection or even parasites/mites.
If your pig doesn't normally have red skin and the skin turns red in color, there is an issue and that needs to be addressed. It doesn't mean it will cost you 500.00 in vet bills, but a vet intervening may very well save your pigs life. If the questions are all in line and your pig is eating, drinking and eliminating waste ok, then it may be parasite control that needs to be done to clear up inflammed or red skin. But this is addressed on a case by case basis. If there is a fever, this normally means there is an infection or at least a systemic response which indicates your vet will need to be contacted. Everything is not an easy fix and there are many issues we cannot help you with because a pig NEEDS to be seen by a licensed professional and treated with specific medications/treatments. Click here to read about common illnesses pigs may have or contract. Some of these illnesses/diseases do affect the skin, however, red skin typically indicates swelling and/or possible infection which could potentially be a host of things. Again, your vet would be the number one person that should be advising you with regards to your pigs health, but there are some non life threatening issues that can easily be addresssed.
Number 6 most searched term: Why does my pig not eat and just lay there?
A pig that isn't eating is most likely a sick pig. It is possible that a pig is not hungry, but to be completely honest, that is rare. If a pig has gorged on food, such as another pets food or the trash, your pig may have a belly ache and skip a meal, but a pig that is not eating is more of an emergency in my opinion. I would check for a fever and call your vet. To help you better determine what may be wrong, we have a health sheet that you can literally fill out to help you when you call you vet with answers to questions your veterinarian may ask versus you not having complete information. This form can be downladed and printed off as many times as you'd like. It is simply a form to help you gather information so you can look for common factors seen in certain diseases or to help you answer your vets questions. You can find that form by clicking here.
Number 7 most searched term: What causes black spots on my pigs body?
GREAT question! Pigs can develop freckle like spots that are nothgin to be concerned about. HOWEVER, pigs can also develop spots that grow and become asymetrical which need to be addressed. As we stated earlier, pigs tend to like to lay in the sun, we know the sun has powerful UV rays which can lead to skin cancer and your pig is no exception to that. White pigs are more susceptible, but ANY color pig can develop melanoma which will need to be removed and treated. It is highly treatable and often curable when treated in early stages. Cutaneous melonoma primarily appear on the skin and may develop metastases to lymphatic tissues and organs. This is a process you won't actually see on the surface, so any unusual spots with irregular borders need to be marked with a pen or marker (to detect growth or spreading) and maybe a phone call to your vet to make them aware and see if they feel like it is anything that needs to be addressed ASAP. They may have you monitor the skin for several weeks before they intervene or they may make an appointment for you sooner than later. These types of skin cancers can be genetic in nature, so be sure to ask about any issues with this when obtaining your pig. Some people will be up front and honest while others will not, so just know that it is a possibility. Not all cancers have large tumors on the surface, some grow rather quickly while others are doing damage internally that you aren't even aware of. Treat unusual lesions or spots as you would your child. If you would take your child to the doctor based on something you see, you should be doing the same for your pig. Click here to read more about skin issues and pigs.
Number 8 most searched term: How much should a ** week old pig weigh? (Multiple searches for various ages)
Each pig will grow at their own rate. Some pigs who have suffered from disadvantages such as the "runt" may be smaller than their siblings from the same litter. However, my vet told me that most pigs should grow at a rate of 1 pound per week for the first year. (which blows the 20 pound micro mini teacup pig myth out of the water) Even runts normally catch up to their siblings once able to eat a healthy portion of food over a period of time. Pigs will absolutely fight for the best milk producing teat and the stronger bigger pig normally has been feed with the best producing teat while the others fight for the less producing ones. Pigs have growth spurts, some have multiple spurts when they will grow substantially taller and longer over a short period of time. Please do not judge a pig based soley on weight though, pigs should be judged on their overall body score. The charts that determine healthy versus unhealthy or what a pig "should" look like aren't meant for piglets. Piglets NEED food to grow at a nice steady rate and develop a strong immunity and great bone structure. Restricting food at this stage can cause serious issues in the long run. Stunting the growth will eventually kill a pig. Pigs who are super tiny and a year old most likely will never see their 5th birthday and as we all know, healthy pigs that have been spayed/neutered and properly cared for can live more than 20 years, so a pig passing away at 3 years old is NOT normal. You can click here to read more about nutrition and pigs. If you want to see realistic sizes of mature or growing pigs, we have a page dedicated to that as well that you can see by clicking here.
Number 9 most searched term: Can mini pigs be outside during the winter?
Of course they can. A lot of pigs live outside full time. When given the appropriate accomodations, pigs can definitely live outside or spend most of their day outside. They still need outdoor time during the winter months. If you do not have appropriate outside accomodations, you can allow your pig to spend short amounts of time outside. Do NOT leave your pig outside in the cold with no way to warm up and no structure to block the wind. Pigs can get frostbite, pigs can get cold, pigs can get illnesses that derived from being outside in the cold temperatures. Start by having a good structure that is free from drafts with something on the inside acting as an insulator like straw or hay. Be sure that your pig is able to easily get access to this space by building a ramp or some kind of access that larger pigs can use. It is best to have houses off the ground or on a concrete slab for sturdiness. Pigs usually won't go into a structure that shakes. They do not typically like spaces they havent had a chance to explore. If you are using hay, pigs will eat hay (which is fine) but you will need ot be sure the hay isnt rotting away potentially poisoning your pig when they are eating it. Be sure to check the house often as stated above for signs that other animals may be entering, sleeping or using that space. Heat lamps can be safely used in large spaces, but using a heat lamp in plastic houses or when the space is limited can burn your pig or cause fire. There are heating/cooling systems that can be installed to provide your pig with heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. I purchased one from Climate Right Air which is a pet house heating/cooling unit. It was easily installed and sits outside of my pigs house like my household condensor unit with duct work from the unit to the outside of the house and vents on the inside. The unit I purchased was around 600.00, it wasn't the cheapest nor the most expensive, but middle of the line. It has the capacity to heat/cool up to 400 square feet which is plenty for the structure built for my pig and her outside time. Even without this type of unit, there are plenty of ways to winterize the space for your pig. Click here to read more about winter time issues and pigs including ideas on how to create a warm space for your pig.
Number 10 most searched term: Can mini pigs eat....(several different substabces/items searched)?
Pigs can pretty much eat anything humans can eat. Not everything is ideal or good for them just like everything available to us isn't good for us. Mini pigs should be feed a diet using a pelleted mini pig feed such as Mazuri brand (which is made by Purina), some people prefer Purina Sow, Champion feed brand is milled and sold by Ross Mill Farms, Manna-Pro is another well known brand of pig feed and veggies and occasionally fruits. Giving pigs candy and foods that are high in sugar content is setting your pig up for obesity early on and while it is super easy for pigs to gain weight, it is a much different rate for losing it. Pigs do not lose weight by exercising vigoriously. They lose weight by reducing the amount of calories they eat compared to how many calories they are buring off. Sometimes it is a matter of changing the times a pig is fed, such as feeding earlier in the day so they have the opportunity to burn off the calories, or reducing the volume fed. Increasing the roughage is a great way to provide essential vitamins while also increasing fiber which makes them feel fuller for a longer period of time. Roughage is also a great way to keep the GI tract functioning as it is supposed to. Low fat, low calorie treats can be used for training, but EVERYTHING additonal fed to your pig needs to be in moderation. Moderation is always key. Air popped popcorn is a great training treat, but your pig does not need handfuls of nonsalted, nonbuttered popcorn. They will usually do the same trick or same action for 1/2 of ONE piece of popcorn that they would do for a handful. Do not give alot of extras and then you will never have to reduce the amount later on. Click here to see a list of foods that are "pig approved" as foods that are not harmful for pigs. Again, this list is only a guide, you cannot feed your pig strawberries everyday for months and think that is adequate nutrition because it isn't. This is a list of foods that you can add to their meals IN ADDITION to the pelleted feed.
These were the most commonly searched phrases for the month of December. We will keep this blog going month after month to keep you informed of what is being searched. Some of the terms will remain the same, so we will likely include the phrase, but not elaborate every month. The website stores the information that is searched and gives us a list daily, so keep searching! If there is something particular that you want or need to know more about, don't hesitate to email us or contact us via our Facebook page for a more immediate response.
What is a mini pig?
The word "mini" has become the standard to differentiate between farm pigs and the smaller breeds like potbellied pigs. While that term has been accepted, I fully agree that it can be misleading to uneducated people who were never prepared for ANY sized pig. Mini is simply a class of pigs, not a breed of pigs. Potbelly is a breed. Kune is a breed. And in comparison to farm pigs, they are indeed mini. I also think that term is commonly used because most pigs are mixed breeds. They aren't any "purebred" potbellied pigs anymore. They've been mixed with ferals and kunes and other real breeds, so mini sounds better than mutt pigs. There are breeds of dogs, but when you have several breeds that are bred, what is the offspring called? What if a Dalmatian and Chihuahua breed? A Dalhuahua? How about a Saint Bernard and German Shepherd? A Saint Shepherd? Most are referred to as "my dog", no breed attached. But, the word mini will likely continue to be used to catergorize the actual breeds of pigs that someone as trying to describe as smaller than a farm type pig. Now micro and teacup and nano and pocket and micro mini? Those are unacceptable descriptions, not only are they flat out lies, but they are completely misleading. We started this website because people were searching for "mini" pigs and it made sense to name the website a commonly searched term so it showed up when anyone was looking for info for their mini pig. However, once they actually read our website, even on the home page, it let's people know why it's called mini pig info, and how that term by itself can be misleading. We dedicated a page on the website to show others what realistic sizes of "mini" pigs are. You can see their stories and pictures by clicking here.
I would much rather have started a website called www.MyPigWasSupposedToBeMiniButEndedUpBeingAFatass.com, but that was obviously too much for people to type in the browser and also not something people would be searching for. I do not condone, support or endorse breeding, though admittedly, before I even knew about pig rescues, I purchased my pig. Had I known there were people out there that brought in pregnant pigs and worked with pigs so they could be adopted? I never would've purchased the love of my life that I have now.
I do understand that some want a piglet and not a grown/mature pig. You don't have to buy a pig from a breeder if you want a piglet. Pig rescues have piglets. There are rescue networks that know about piglets that need excellent homes. There are people who have purchased piglets that quickly found out they weren't prepared for a pig and that piglet now needs a new home. Trust me when I say, piglets aren't always fun. Are they cute? Absolutely! But they are hard work. There is typically a process to adopt a pig versus buying one from someone who only cares about money. The people who have dedicated their time, resources and homes to foster these pigs have a legitimate concern about where they will go. They are emotionally vested in these pigs. So, while it may be "easier" to simply buy a pig, you are rewarding someone for bringing more potentially unwanted pigs into the world which keeps the process going and going. NOBODY can guarantee the health of your pig. Not a breeder, not a rescue, no one. ANY pig can become ill, any pig can carry traits passed along from many generations before that aren't dominant genes in other siblings or the parent pigs. If size is of the upmost importance for a pet, then a pig is likely NOT the pet for you, however, if there are city/county restrictions on the sizes of pets/pigs that are allowed, your best bet would be to rescue an older pig that is "fully grown" so there are no surorises. Just keep in mind, while the growth plates in the bones will eventually close and your pig may not get taller or longer, your pig will continue to gain weight if the diet isn't providing the amount of calories going in as the calories they're using in everyday life. Diets constantly have to be adjusted so your pig doesnt become obese. (click here to read more about nutrition) Again, had I known about pig rescues when I purchased my pig, I probably would've gotten a rescue pig instead of purchasing a pig from a breeder. To find a pig rescue, you can look at the list we have created by clicking here.
I've rescued, I've fostered, I've transported, I've volunteered at pig rescues, I've donated time and money to various pig rescues, organizations, charities and will continue to educate, advocate and help in any way possible. I do not believe there are ANY healthy super small pigs, but I do know there are people who have unrealistic expectations that they will find one. Unfortunately, 99.9999% will be disappointed and ultimately need to find that pig a home because that pig grew bigger than the little dainty cute pig they wanted, they don't understand pigs nor do they want to learn how to properly care for one. Those who have a passion for pigs and do everything in their power to help will continue to help and educate people. I truly believe it is a community effort, it's sad that not everyone takes the time to truly learn about these precious creatures BEFORE they get one, myself included.
I was an ignorant first time pig mama and my pig suffered because of that. But sharing our stories and experiences is how we all learn. I humbly shared mine as embarrassing and heartfelt it was. My pig passed away at 9 months old because of an idiot breeder, my lack of knowledge, my vets inexperience and a slew of mistakes. That never should've happened. Although he had a genetic heart defect, likely as a result of inbreeding, I take full responsibility for his death. That is also why I bought every vet book there was, collected information from others and websites and credible people and myself along with people who are much smarter than me, created a website to teach other people everything we know about pigs and how to care for them. We get private messages all day, every day with questions. People email nonstop wanting help with their pigs, they call, we help with every bit of energy we have in us. We cry with those who have sick pigs and mourn with those who lose pigs. We laugh with those whose pigs are trouble makers and brainstorm with those who need advice.
The pig community is a family, a large, sometimes dysfunctional family, but that's no different that my human blood related family. I have learned so much from other pig people and I am quite certain I will continue to learn on a daily basis. I just hate that everyone that is in the community is divided more and more everyday and having to fight with each other when it's not us who are the problem. It's the people who continue to lie, deceive and basically rob people that need to take the brunt of the hatred, not each other. In the meantime, while mini doesn't accurately describe what the size of your pig will be, it does represent a group of pigs that we have all come to know and love. So when someone says there is no such a thing as a mini pig, they're both right and wrong. There is a miniature pig, also known as a mini pig, but these pigs are anything but mini. This term only describes a class of pigs that are smaller than the farm pigs, but these do NOT describe actual breeds of pigs nor the size of the pig you will end up with. You can read more about actual breeds of pigs by clicking here. Do not add a pig to your family if you're not prepared to make a 20+ year committment to a big ball of fun because that is likely what you will end up with. The journey to get there is long and draining, but once your pig becomes part of your family, you will become a parent to an unconventional pet that will steal your heart forever.
Our names are Brittany Sawyer and Nicole Cox and we are pig parents, pig advocates and also the authors of the "Dear Pig Whisperer" blog. Follow our blog that will feature topics to help you become the best pig parent you can be...along with some other fun things. We will also feature guest bloggers from time to time who want to share their life experience or knowledge with anyone who is interested in learning.
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