Picking your Pig

As mentioned in the Miniature Pigs Guide post on Deciding if miniature pigs are the right pets for you, a good vet with pig experience (and I’m not talking about the men she’s dated) can come in handy here. A pre-screening by your vet or certification from the breeder’s vet will help you pick the healthiest pig for your home.

Your pig of choice should be active and energetic, not too fat, have clean, straight teeth, clear eyes and his or her hooves should be trimmed and free of damage. But there’s more to picking the right pet than just its general health considerations

Be sure to spend time with miniature pigs you’re considering as pets. Temperament is a very important consideration. Like dogs, pigs that have not been socialized can bring a host of problems to the household. If the pig you are considering is aggressive or skittish, consider a different pig. Caught young enough, these social concerns can be readily overcome.

 

Picking your Pig

Also, never make an impulse purchase when it comes to pets (miniature pigs or otherwise). Gifts, or adoptions/purchases made solely on the basis of cuteness are likely to result in later regrets. A pig will want to become part of your family, eager to greet you with squeals of delight when you come home and anxious to sleep with its head on your lap just like a dog. If you aren’t sure you can commit to the adoption of a new family member (not just a pet) then a miniature pig is not the right pet for you.

Remember that there is more to picking a pig than you might originally think. Miniature pigs come with a host of special considerations unique to them. Just because you know everything there is to know about the care and feeding of dogs or cats does not qualify you to be a good piggy parent. It’s worth repeating – do your research in advance and do it thoroughly.

Decide if you want a male or female pig and then decide how soon you can get it fixed – more on that in a future post on Bringing Piggy Home. Also decide what types of miniature pigs best fit your lifestyle. We’ll cover the different “models” in our next post – Types of Miniature Pigs but for now, recognize that pigs come in different sizes and some can live as long as 25 years! That’s a serious commitment so make sure be you know what you’re getting in advance.…

Spaying and Neutering

In our previous post on Types of Miniature Pigs we talked about different breeds, their temperament and average sizes. While that’s certainly an important consideration, there’s more to picking miniature pigs than breed alone.

One thing that’s sure to get you into trouble is failure to consider the more, um, romantic nature of miniature pigs. As with most things in nature, procreation is an imperative for these animals and you’ll be setting yourself up for some unpleasant experiences if you don’t take this into consideration.

A good rule of thumb with any large household pet is that spaying and neutering makes for a better household companion. Unless you are purchasing miniature pigs with breeding in mind (and have the facilities outside your home to accommodate the effort) you’ll want to spay or neuter your mini pig sooner rather than later.

 

Spaying and Neutering

Unfixed males (boars) will eventually reach sexual maturity. Two concerns come immediately to mind. The first is that boars produce an odor through glands that is utterly repulsive to anything but a lady pig. The smell is on their breath and body and will eventually be on everything you own including furniture and clothing. Early neutering by a qualified vet with pig experience is essential unless you plan to breed your pig. If you plan to breed Wilbur, you’ll want him to be an out-of-house pet. Trust me on this. The other concern with unfixed males is that they will rub against, mark and become amorous with animate objects – your dog, cat, children or legs – and inanimate objects – shoes, blankets, pillows, furniture, the kitchen sink – with insane frequency.

If choosing a female, the same rule applies. You’ll want to get the little lady spayed as unfixed gilts (a female pig that has not had a litter) and sows (female pigs which have had one or more litters) come with their own set of undesirable habits. Female miniature pigs, despite recognizing there are no boars around, will begin to mark everything they can find in an effort to lure a willing fellah into their midst. This isn’t something you want done to your furniture or favorite shoes.…