Teacup pigs, also called micro pigs and pocket pigs, are intelligent, loving and clean (yes they are) pets. However, keeping them is challenging, it requires a great deal of time and attention. Also, the keeper needs to know enough things about them so that he can raise them in good conditions. If not, abandoning them becomes an inevitable option.
The following may help you avoid some common misconceptions. We go through different aspects including choosing the adequate pig, his food, his health care, and his upbringing among other things.
- 1 About Teacup Pigs
- 2 Choosing the right pig
- 3 Food
- 4 Behaviour
- 5 Arrangement
- 6 Health and care
About Teacup Pigs
Teacup pigs will weight between 60 lbs. and 130 lbs. when they reach their adult age. An adult tea cup pig’s height is 13 to 20 inches. This is true for all the breeds.
They are recognized by their small pointed ears, and their straight feathered tails, short snouts, and big bellies.
The piglets live around 15 years. They shouldn’t be weaned before the age of 8 weeks. Otherwise, they might suffer behavioral problems growing up: you would suffer from it in fact!
As far as hygiene is concerned, Teacup pigs are clean by nature as they usually make one area (generally outside of the house or in a big specific box) their usual potty spot.
Choosing the right pig
This is no joke; take your time before you choose. Visit as many breeders as you can. You do not want to end up with ill or poorly educated pig that you’ll have to keep for 15 years. For that, try to test the breeder’s knowledge and intentions by asking different questions especially concerning what the pig has been fed for his first 6 to 8 weeks. Also, having the possibility to see the parents and the available accommodations is a further guaranty of the breeder’s transparency.
Avoid places where you are promised unrealistic future adult pigs weights (less than 60 lbs.). if such is the case, the vendor either knows nothing about the subject or is simply lying. Some vendors even invent breed names.
Also avoid places where you have no possibly to see the pet in the flock, nor the accommodations at the farm. You should be more concerned if rather, the vendor offers to ship you the pigs without asking you about the space available in your house nor gives you details concerning pets’ way of life.
To help you make the choice, we present here three well-known breeds that you might want to go for given their good record.
This breed originated from Nepal and India. They are in danger of extinction. They are known for their straight backs, and long snouts.
Juliana pigs present several advantages: they get along well with other pets and need low maintenance costs. Also curios and smart, they are funny and entertaining.
Vietnamese Potbellied pigs
As their name suggests, they are originally from Vietnam. Vietnamese pigs have short snouts and legs. Unlike Juliana pigs, they tend to have a sway back.
They are either black or white or a black/white combination.
They are very sociable pets.
Kune kune pigs
Kune Kune pigs have been imported to the US in 1995 from New Zealand.
They have round bodies and short legs. They are also known for the two tassels they have under their chin called wattles.
Their friendly personality and their kindness make of them a suitable choice for beginner keepers.
Contrary to general belief, you can’t feed your mini pigs leftovers. Rather, a vegan diet is recommended. There exists some special balanced pellet food for them. It contains all the nutritive elements that nourish them without making them overly fat.
An important part of their diet should come from veggies and fruits.
Plenty of water is of course vital. Change it if it gets dirty or stays there for a long time.
Keep your piggys away from cheese and fatty meats and all foods with high sodium content. Also, dog and cat food can be harmful (even fatal sometimes) to them.
Concerning the quantity, it should be no more than 2% of the actual weight daily.
First, gain your pig’s confidence
Pigs are not predators but rather preys. So they are by nature fearful and apprehensive. These traits won’t make it easy for you in the first week. You have to win their trust by constant hugs and cuddles. That is, avoid punishing them or hit them: a dog forgets bad treatment, but a piggy never does.
To make his adaptation easier, install your pet in a small room in the beginning. Make sure you have a plastic basket with lots of blanket. Avoid cushions because he will probably eat them and suffer intestinal obstruction. Try to make it the most comfortable possible for your pet as it will be his new home.
Then set rules
Setting rules in the first days is crucial: for example, pee/poop is done in a specific area. No exceptions should be made or it will be difficult to impose good conduct.
Once the new guest socializes well with you and with other pets you have, the training phase begins. Reward every attitude and executed verbal orders with doodles and food. Punish him the least possible. If a bad behavior occurs, voice your dissatisfaction firmly or isolate him for minutes in HIS room. Any punishment is efficient but corporal one. This “positive method” suits best teacup pigs. In fact, aggressiveness has counterproductive effects on them.
Your animal’s conduct depends on the position he is in. If he is dominant, he will be aggressive, won’t obey and will be stressed out all the time. Be dominant if you want him to abide by your rules and feel secure.
Pigs can face some problems with young age children. Sometimes, they consider shorter people to be inferior and can get quiet aggressive. Do never let your babies alone with them. With dogs as well, it can get pretty ugly, as they generally do not get along well, accidents are frequent.
Entertain your pet
Last, teacup pigs are smart and need to keep entertained. Provide him with some toys and different useless staff that you have. As he is an explorer by nature, he likes to discover new places. Taking him for walks frequently will surely improve his mood.
If you live in an apartment, it is not recommended for you to get one. It’s because nearly all those who tried abandoned the pet ultimately. Piggys can’t live in closed areas and need to play and roll around in open spaces. If not, they get bored and start making damage all over the house even with all the good will and the necessary care from you.
If you have a house with a backyard, two options:
You will have to build or buy an adapted shelter. It has to be well isolated, dry and safe from wind. Provide for enough blankets. You may need to provide some straw as well.
Heating during winter is a must. During summer, a shady space is useful.
Like dogs, mini pigs can live indoor while having access to the backyard. In this case, all you need is an adapted box like the one we described earlier. Do not forget to walk them frequently. Make also sure that the temperature is adequate whether it’s cold or hot.
Generally, a pig living alone is a bored pig. Teacup pigs usually live in groups. Depending on what accommodation you will provide, some kind of company has to be available. If your piglet lives in the backyard, or if he stays alone in the house for the whole day, then it is important to have not one but two piggys. Otherwise, it will be cruel, that’s not what you want.
Before you receive your guest, make sure to proceed to some reorganization in the house. All dangerous products have to be out of his reach. Start by reorganizing closets and garbage cans. Secondly, Houseplants, handbags and all what might be of interest for the pet have to be put aside in a safe place. In the backyard, get rid of potential toxic plants and protect flowers using electric fence if possible.
Health and care
Dewormers and vaccine are essential. Consult your veterinarian to know in detail what you need to do.
It is not that easy to give your pet a medicine. Piggys have a very sensitive sense of smell and can simply refuse to take anything. If this happens, here are some options:
- Cut the pill in small pieces and put it in a food that your pet likes much.
- Crush the pill and mix the powder with honey. Use a spoon to feed him.
- Crush the pill and mix the powder with honey. Use a needle to put the mix directly in his throat.
Additional care is also important. You can perform some of these cares (eyes, ears) without totally immobilizing the animal. Other cares require total immobilization to prevent potential accidents. This is done either by anesthetic intervention (used by the veterinarian) or using the turtle technique. This technique is simple; turn your piglet on his back. He will of course be unhappy at first, but once his legs are perpendicular, he will stop struggling: it’s the turtle effect.
We present in the following some care that you need to perform frequently:
Liming foot horns
This is necessary. When horns get too long, your pig’s foot becomes distorted and he can’t walk normally. You can use a metal lime or special shear. Although not necessary, you may need to use the turtle technique because your pet won’t probably like this kind of care. Considering it is somewhat dangerous, some people let the veterinarian perform the liming.
Pigs have 4 (2 at the top and 2 at the bottom) teeth that grow continuously. They typically grow toward the outside. Females have smaller teeth, no need to cut them.
The operation is mandatory as teeth can wound people and other pets if they get bigger than necessary.
Here again, the help of the veterinarian might be necessary. The animal is totally immobilized. The procedure is not hurtful because the apparent part of the tooth has no nerves. Pay attention not to cut beyond the apparent part.
Skin, ear and eye care
Piggys have particularly sensitive skin. It is often too dry. They scratch much and easily catch skin rashes. Their skin is sensitive to sun as well. Especially if the skin color is bright. Darker pigs tend to suffer less. Sun screen and mud are great ways to overcome skin diseases in sunny days. In case of serious damage, you can use Biafine (a cream used also on humans).
If you have to clean your piglet, use soft soap like that you would use for a baby. If not usually looked after, the skin gets pretty dry. Apply Aloe Vera which is an excellent product for skin care.Keep in mind that balanced nutrition plays an important role in preventing skin problems.
Mini pigs sometimes have watery eyes. These secretions make the hair below the eyes in orange or red. You always want to check with your veterinarian if these secretions provoke undesired infections.You c an clean your pig’s eyes with adequate products such as some saline solutions. Use water to keep the area under the eyes clean and uncolored.
Drops of earwax accumulate in pig’s ears. This is totally Ok. You can remove it with cotton that you carefully put inside his ears using your finger. You will need to repeat this operation regularly. Never use any kind of products; it may harm your pig’s ear. It is important that you train him to get used to this since his young age