A first step before adopting a pig is understanding restrictions imposed by your city, county and/or HOA. Our adoption process requires you to understand these restrictions with certainty and provide written proof - so plan on getting the restrictions in writing! Many cities prohibit farm animals, including swine, and don’t make exceptions for mini pigs despite their practical status as pets..Don’t become one of the many homeowners forced to make the difficult decision to rehome your pig or move to another city!
BEFORE you adopt a pet pig, find an experienced mini pig vet - this could someday mean life or death for your piggy! Vet care for a pet pig can be challenging and costly. Many “pig vets'' are experienced in treating farm pigs destined for the slaughterhouse, rather than pets who should experience a long healthy life; and “family pet vets” often won’t see or treat mini pigs. Call the office of the vet you’re interested in seeing and interview them in advance. We can help you screen vets. Also explore available university animal hospitals near you, as serious or prolonged health issues such as cancer or severe arthritis may require this level of expertise.
Vaccinations often are dictated by the region in which you live. We vaccinate all of our pigs for porcine parvovirus (PPV), erysipelas and leptospirosis, and treat to prevent/eliminate gastrointestinal roundworms, lungworms, eyeworms, grubs, lice, mites and ticks. Consult your vet to determine which vaccines are appropriate for pigs in your region, and plan to deworm regularly - in most cases using injectable ivermectin twice per year to prevent internal and topical parasites including mites and lice.
Male pigs all have tusks that grow at differing rates, depending on the individual and the age of neuter, and their tusks likely will have to be trimmed. Female pigs typically do not require tusk trimming as they have small tusk “buds” that don’t grow. Both male and female pigs need to have their hooves routinely trimmed, usually once or twice a year. We recommend a pig farrier to travel to your home to provide these services, which can be highly stressful for your piggy - specifically we recommend that you book a farrier through www.mohrmethodgroup.com. Also a qualified veterinarian can complete these tasks but may not be experienced and will likely administer a sedative before trimming. Some pig parents, after much study, have learned to trim their pigs at home. In either case, prepare your pig for vet visits and trims by handling feet and mouth on a regular basis.
Keep in mind that these are not tasks that can be neglected or mishandled - pig tusks are integrated into their jaw and dental structure and cannot be removed without serious, long-term, damaging consequences for the pig. Hooves that are not trimmed regularly become overgrown, impacting your piggy’s gait and conformation, resulting in discomfort, pain and long term mobility issues.
Indoor space should address your pig’s desire for its own “turf”, as well as safety from intrusion by other pets or visitors. Specifically, your indoor space must be sufficiently large to permit your pig to turn around completely and comfortably. We recommend a 4'x6' stall mat fastened to a portable 32” dog fence, padded with old sheets and blankets. This amount of “safe space” is only large enough for those times when the pig must be penned up for sleep or for visitors.
Pigs do best with a lot of outside time. Outdoor space must include a shelter that’s windproof and waterproof. The landscape must be accommodating as well; pigs root, dig up plants, and make mud holes. Pigs require space for this natural and necessary behavior, and we recommend a shaded pool or wallow in the summer to help them stay cool. Your outdoor space must be secure and safe - fencing that is strong and inescapable, and a yard free of poisonous plants.
The quantity of feed depends on the age, size and activity level of your pig. As a starting point, adult pigs on a maintenance diet typically consume 1 cup per day of high quality miniature pig feed, divided into two meals. There are many balanced mini pig feeds available through your farm or pet store. Note that we feed our piggies Purina Nature's Match Pig and Sow. It’s NOT appropriate to feed your pet pigs a “grower” or “finisher” food, which is manufactured to grow farm pigs quickly for slaughter. Dog and cat food also are inappropriate for your pet pigs and could be very detrimental to their health.
Pigs love salads, vegetables, and fruits as well, and a vegetable rich lunch daily or several times a week is all good! Fruit, however, is high in sugar and must be fed sparingly. Grazing time is incremental to these foods and should not pack on the pounds. If you choose to feed hay as a supplement, choose Timothy or oat hay rather than alfalfa hay. Ensure your piggy has access to plenty of fresh water.
The single greatest health risk to pet pigs is obesity. Many pig parents unknowingly love their piggies to death by feeding them endless treats, human food or simply excess amounts of pig food. Pigs quickly become “fat blind” when they are obese; excess weight can cause damage to feet and joints; and overall health is affected much as it is in humans who are obese.
While many pig owners will tell you that their pigs and dogs are best friends, the simple truth is that pigs and dogs are NOT compatible. Keeping predator and prey animals together, particularly unsupervised, WILL eventually result in injury or death to the pig and/or dog. Pigs are hierarchical and will eventually try to put the dog in its place; dog attacks are common and one of the leading causes of death in pet pigs. We will not place pigs in homes that don’t have the space to separate pigs and dogs when they are left unattended. Even if you are willing to pay the resulting vet bills, the question you should ask yourself is simple: are you willing to risk your pig’s well being, or its life, by leaving it in a situation that will inevitably, even if only one time, result in a fight with a predator?
Pigs and dogs should never be alone unsupervised, even if they appear to be friends. They should have separate spaces to stay in when unsupervised. Pigs typically get along well with other barnyard animals as well as cats, and many keep a variety of animals as companions to their pigs.
If you adopt a pig from MPFL, you’ll need to transport him from farm to home. Additionally you’ll have needs throughout his life to take him to the vet or, for many pig parents, to the park, the lake or on vacation. We recommend lifelong crate training for your pig so he’ll have a positive association with the crate that will be used to transport him.
Plan to transport your pig in a closed, climate controlled vehicle, irrespective of outdoor temperature. We’ve found a wire kennel to be optimal, and it must be large enough to allow the pig to turn 360° for comfortable travel. Particularly for larger pigs, the kennel should be reinforced with a plywood bottom. Appropriate flooring material such as blankets, shavings or hay will prevent the pig from slipping in the kennel. Pack cleaning items such as paper towels, and expect your stressed piggy to urinate, defecate and/or vomit in transit. Preparation and crate training are the keys to successful transport.
Pigs become attached to their human families very quickly and grieve and experience depression when separated. We’ll work closely with you to ensure that you’re prepared for your new charge, that you’ve researched regional requirements, that your home is ready to receive your new pig, and that you understand pig behavior - hopefully preventing the need to rehome.
Owners who adopt from MPFL can take comfort in knowing we remain on call, ready to help you address any future issues - whether health, development or behavior - that may arise as well as changes in your own life circumstances. In the unlikely worst case that evolving circumstances necessitate you surrender the pig, MPFL requires that the adopted pig be returned to our rescue, where its happy life will continue.
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