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.
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.