Micro pig care advice: how to look after a pet pig


Historically, pigs have not been kept for companionship and their behaviour and needs are likely to reflect that. Here’s what you need to know about keeping pigs as pets:

Can micro pigs be left alone and for how long?

Micro pigs do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. They can become restless and destructive.

Pigs are smart, inquisitive creatures and need plenty of stimulation and interaction. They don’t like being left alone and can greatly benefit from a pet companion, preferably another pig.

Can micro pigs climb stairs?

Pigs were not by nature made for climbing or jumping so doing so regularly can damage their joints and lead to further complications like pinched nerves.

Whether a pig can climb stairs depends mostly on its weight; but the fact that it can doesn’t mean that it should. Pigs can be clumsy with stairs and letting them climb stairs can result in falls and injuries.

If there are any areas in your house or out front that your pig cannot avoid, installing a non-slippery ramp is recommended. You can train your pig to use the ramp by using treats to encourage it to walk on it.

If there are flights of stairs inside your house that your pig might be tempted to explore, you could use a barrier to ensure it doesn’t.

Can micro pigs live with dogs or cats?

According to the pet pig specialist website minipiginfo.com, pigs should never be housed with dogs, as dogs are predator animals and pigs are prey animals. The two species often fight, and the dogs win in most cases, according to the website.

However, minipiginfo.com says pigs and cats make great friends and accompany the page with plenty of adorable snaps of pet pigs and cats chilling together.

Whether two different species will get along however, ultimately depends on the animals’ individual personalities. The animal kingdom has seen many unexpected interspecies friendships.

Pet pig owners on forums and blogs say that pigs mostly ignore dogs and seem to really like cats.

piglet standing in hay, looking at the cameraMake sure to piggy proof your garden

Can micro pigs live outside?

Yes, they can, but you will have to ‘pig-proof’ your outdoor area.

In fact, even though many owners keep their pigs indoors and house train them, the RSPCA advises that pets should not be kept in the home.

If you have decided to keep your micro pig outdoors, you need to ensure the pig has a safe environment and can’t escape; and that it is protected from the elements.

Pigs are very bad at regulating their body temperature and are susceptible to sunburn and heatstroke.

You need to provide a shady, ventilated area where they can cool off in the summer and a covered area, like an outhouse, with lots of hay for them to cuddle into when the weather is cold and rainy.

A kiddie pool can also be a fun way for them to cool off in the summer months. If you see the pig rooting that’s a sign that it’s feeling too hot and it’s trying to find a cooler area.

You will also need to make sure that no vegetation that’s toxic to pigs is growing in your garden, and that none of it has been treated with chemicals or pesticides.

If your garden doesn’t have a fence, letting your pig live outside may make it very easy for him or her to wander away.

You could create an enclosed area for it, but it will have to be at least 36 square meters – this is the minimum that the RSPCA recommends – and incorporate all the aforementioned structures to guarantee the pig’s well-being in different climates.

What do you feed a pet micro pig?

You can choose between a natural diet or manufactured specialist pet pig pellets.

Regardless of which diet you go for, you can give nutritious treats in between the main feedings and take this into account with the proportion of the main feed.

Green vegetables are always a good healthy treat and so is fruit in moderate amount as it is rich in sugar.

Note that giving pigs meat or food wastage is illegal. This is to prevent the spread of disease. In addition, it is also against the law to feed pigs any animal products apart from milk.

Never feed pigs chocolate, leftovers, meat and chemically treated fruit or veg.

Mini pig natural diet:

You need to ensure your pig eats protein-rich foods (up to 12% of protein), vegetables and cooked beans. Always cook the beans as a lot of types of beans contain a chemical that is toxic to pigs – cooking the beans neutralised that chemical.

You can feed oats, steamed barley, brown rice, quinoa, raw unsalted sunflower seeds, green vegetables, different types of cooked beans, raw eggs, milk and many types of nuts and fruit.

You can create vegetable or nut mixes as portions for your pig. Use fruit and fattier nuts as treats rather than as main components of your pig’s diet.

Foods that are lower in calories can be fed in larger amounts, for example you can leave some hay and grass out for them to snack on during the day.

Micro pig specialist food:

Several pet food brands offer specialist pet pig foods. These are: Purina, Allen & Page, Mazuri, Dodson & Horrell, Farmgate Sow & Weaner, Badminton Country Pig Nuts, Rose Mill Farm and Pig & Saw.

Manufactured pet pig food is normally enriched with vitamins and minerals which might make it the easier and more nutritious choice.

It will also have recommended amounts on the bag of the packet, against different ages and weights.

How much food do you feed a micro pig?

Two percent of the pig’s desired healthy body weight.

The actual amount depends on your pig’s size and age. You can spread out in 2 or 3 feedings and give nutritious treats in between.

If you do give treats, make sure you have some form of interaction with your pig before feeding it the treats. Otherwise you risk teaching your pig you’re just a feeder.

Monitor your pig and adjust its food based on its levels of activity and body shape.

Some breeders recommend that owners underfeed their pet pigs to stunt their growth. This is dangerous and wrong, and can cause malnutrition, which could result in many physical and mental problems.

Pigs love to eat, and even mini pigs grow to the size of a medium to large dog. Trying to prevent that from happening by withholding nutrition is animal abuse.

How much is a micro pig?

From about £30 to £1,000. The prices vary greatly between breeders. The average seems to be from around £200 to £600.

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Irina M. Wells
14 March 2018

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