FAQ’s about Mini Pigs
What is the average size of mini pigs?
Mini pigs come in all different shapes and sizes and have different genetic origins and backgrounds. All American mini pigs are essentially mixed from up to 14 miniature pig breeds. Mini pigs (often classified as “teacup” or “micro” pigs) have been sized down over many many generations from crossing miniature pig breeds like Julianna, Potbelly, Kune Kune, Feral Hog, just to name a few. They are considered mini compared to their species. Mini pigs generally range from 14-18 inches and ours most often range in weights of 50-150 pounds depending on genetics and lifestyle. Mini Pigs are short and very dense, in fact they are 3 times more dense then a dog, so it is hard to compare their weights to dogs. Expect your mini pig to be larger than expected, and do not believe it when a breeder tells you your pig will be tiny, or guarantees unrealistically low weights. It should not be the weight of the pig that matters, but the overall health and well being.
What is Rooting? Why does my pig nudge me?
Rooting is a natural and common in mini pigs. When a piglet is born they immediately find their way to moms teat and begin to root on her belly to get milk to drop and release. Many times it can be a sign of affection as piglets. Most can get really addicted to rooting on your limbs, blankets, floors, etc. Other times pigs will root to get what they want like food. You can also see rooting at times as a sign of aggression. Although you do not want to stop pigs rooting, you do not want them growing up rooting on you. Instead give them a stuffed animal or blanket and have them root that and tell them “good root.” Rotting boxes have also become popular in the pig community, which is a short box or container filled with smooth river rock. To train them to use the rooting box you can scatter pellets that will fall down to the bottom encouraging them to get to it and in turn moving the river rock around, and tell your pig “good root.”
Pigs can also be known to root in your yard. Many times when they are turning up the dirt in your backyard they are looking for food. If it persists, they most likely are finding food. It is best to have an area of your yard that they can do this in. Pigs can also root of out boredom.
How often and how do I Bathe my Pig?
How often you bathe your pig really comes down to your lifestyle and discretion. If your pig is mainly indoors and does not get very dirty or muddy, then you do not have to bathe very often. As well, if your pig is on your furniture and in bed with you, you may want to bathe them more. Keep in mind pigs can get very dry skin. Using baby shampoo as piglets and a shampoo like Mane and Tale when they are older, coupled with Skin so Soft made by Avon can help with the dry skin. As well, giving your pig Vitamin E Tablets and or Coconut oil can also help keep their skin healthy.
Most pigs do not like baths at first. The more often you give your pig a bath and the more familiar it is the easier it gets. Make sure the bath water is very warm, similar to the temperature you would like to bathe in. Make sure the bath water is already drawn before putting your pig in so they are not scared of the sound of the rushing water. You want the water to be chest level so they can easily keep their head out of the water. Make the bath calm and give them lots of praise. Allow them to stay in the bath long enough to get used to it and calm themselves. You can use cheerios and allow them to float as incentive. Many times pigs will learn to enjoy bath time if done consistently and starting as a piglet.
How do I Harness Train my Pig?
The video below is a great training video if you would like to clicker train your pig and have them learn how to stand still while putting on their harness. With piglets you may have to hold them rather than have them stand but it is never too early to start straining. You will want an 8 figure harness. You can buy a dog harness or order one specially made for pigs for a better fit.
How do I Potty Train My Pig?
Many times our piglets are already potty trained using a horse bedding pellet and using a doggy door for outdoor potty training. Piglets are easier to potty train then most cats and dogs.
How much and What do I feed my Mini pig?
Mazuri and Manna Pro Brand Mini Pig Active Adult Feeding recommendation
|1% of Body Weight
|2% of Body Weight
|1 2/3 Tbsp.
|1 2/3 Cup
|2 ¼ Cup
|1 1/3 Cup
|2 2/3 Cup
|1 2/3 Cup
|3 ¼ Cup
|3 ¾ Cup
|2 ¼ Cup
|4 ¼ Cup
|2 1/3 Cup
|4 ¾ Cup
|2 2/3 Cup
|5 1/3 Cup
How do I Socialize my Mini Pig?
Pigs are not born naturally social or trusting. Unlike a puppy, a piglet is not born tame. They are prey animals in the wild and instinctively will be nervous and want to flee as a response to movement, noise, or touch. Because of this, pigs require socialization and desensitization by the breeder or human in order to be pets.
Making sure a breeder spends a lot of time with their piglets gives an owner and a piglet a huge advantage in the socialization process. Often times if a breeder spends little to no time socializing their piglets, you will get a piglet that is skittish, squeals, screams, squirms, and bites. New owners do not know how to curb these behaviors. When bringing your mini pig home you will notice that no matter how much your piglet has been socialized while with the breeder, they will still be a little scared and unsure of their new environment for the first few days or weeks in their new home. Piglets have just left their litter mates, parents, and caretakers for their first few months of life, which is all they know. They will need an ample amount of time, attention, and affection to get them to feel comfortable in their new home.
It is important to find a breeder that spends a lot of time socializing their piglets, and in turn shares how the piglet has been imprinted, handled, and talked to. Imprinting is how the breeder connects with their piglets at birth to create trust. Your breeder can share how he or she holds the piglets, trains them, rewards them, and bonds with them so that you can mimic some of the same things making bonding and socialization process easier and more comforting to your piglet. Don’t forget to talk and grunt to your pig. They will communicate with you often times mimicking your grunts, and you will both quickly learn what each other’s sounds, tones, and your words mean. Pigs love to communicate and praise is a huge component to socializing and training.
Holding and Ground Time
When you bring your mini piglet home allow some time for the piglet or pig to adjust to its new surroundings and people. Pigs need some personal space at first and they need to know that the new people and the new home is safe. You can think of a pig more like a child instead of a pet in this case. If you had a new child in the house you would not smother them with hugs and kisses initially, it would take some time and you would give the child some space first and allow them to get comfortable.
A small area within the house or a pen will allow your pig to have its own space. Create a small enclosed place that includes their food bowl, heavy water bowl, litter box, and on the opposite side of the area their bed. Once a pig or piglet gets to know their surroundings, smells, voices, etc. slowly start getting to know your pig. Sit near your pig on their level so that they feel more comfortable. You can start introducing them to each family member to hold and spend time with, this could be a few hours or a full night or day. Pigs need to feel safe in their new environment and when being touched or held.
Some pigs are very social right off the bat, and others may need more time in the socialization process. Pigs need to feel confident and trusting of you before they are completely comfortable being pet and held. When being held, it is important that their back and front legs and/or neck/head is supported. Piglets get used to and prefer certain ways of being held, so if your breeder can send pictures or video of how they have been held it may be helpful. Most pigs like to be held tight against your chest.
If your piglet is too scared to be held comfortably, meaning they are squealing, biting, and/or trying to escape your arms, find a small space that can be blocked off and sit on the ground with them. DO NOT put your piglet down if it is squealing! If you continually put them down when they squeal at you, it will reinforce this behavior and even train them to squeal to get their way. Try to comfort the pig by talking quietly, rocking, patting, just like a newborn baby.
Ground time is a great way to get your piglet to approach you, as sitting or laying on the ground makes you more approachable. You can use treats, such as Cheerios, and place one a few feet in front of you. Once your piglet responds to the treat continue putting down a treat slowly moving it in closer and closer to you. You want to do this frequently until your piglet is completely comfortable being touched by you.
Floor time creates trust and allows your piglet to feel comfortable approaching you without you trying to pick them up. A pig will back up when you try and reach for them, allow this floor time to be a time that your piglet can make the decision to come to you and freely approach you and eventually get on your lap, if smaller, without you grabbing for your pig. From there it will be much easier to slowly pick your piglet up and stand up. Pigs typically prefer to be picked up on the side of their body vs. reaching for their face.
For an older pig, the same exercise applies, you may just not be able to have it in your lap or stand up and hold your pig. After this training exercise is a continued success, your piglet should be much more comfortable being held by you and family members. Hold them on your chest or lap while you are watching television or include them in nap or bed time so they are comfortable falling asleep on you, get used to your smell, heartbeat, breathing, etc. The more holding and bonding time, the faster your pig will learn to trust and bond with you.
Anytime you are holding, praising, training, or spending time with your mini pig you are socializing them to humans. Slowly including family members and visitors in this will help get them comfortable with others within the home. When introducing your pig and children, make sure they children are calm. Piglets will get startled by loud noise or running or chasing, a good first introduction is key with pigs and children.
When introducing strangers start slowly and allow the pig to be around the new family member before they are held. Ground time for strangers and talking to them first and allowing the pig to approach will give your pig freedom and help build confidence. Taking them for car rides and places with you, as well as introducing them to strangers in and out of the home, is great socialization for your piglet. Pigs that are only in the home, or pigs that are not introduced to new people can grow increasingly leery of strangers and visitors especially as they get older. If you do not want a timid pig, spend as much time as possible getting them comfortable with others.
Introducing Other Pets
When introducing to other house pets, start slowly and watch for body language. A dog should be leashed or behind a baby gate when first introducing. Pigs are social animals. They thrive around other animals and they need companionship, so pets are a very important part of your pig’s life. It is important that you trust the interaction between your piglet and said pets before ever leaving them alone together.
Many breeders recommend NEVER leaving your pig alone with dogs or other pets that can potentially hurt or attack your pig. Owners need to know their pets well and make decisions on when is a good time to allow them to run together and whether or not they can ever be together while supervised or alone.
Susan Magidson, President of Ross Mills Farm explains it best in this video on How To Socialize your Pig:
How to Hold Your Piglet
Should my pig be spayed/neutered?
Yes! A mini pig MUST be fixed to make a good pet. Females go into heat every 3.5 weeks and both genders can become aggressive not being fixed. Males have a foul smell as well which is very undesirable.
Do I have to trim my pigs Hooves or Tusks?
Hoof trimming is an important part of maintaining a healthy, happy pig. It is important to desensitize your piglets by handing and filing their hooves often when they are young. This makes the hoof trimming a much easier task as your pig grows.
If you are not able to manage your pig for hoof trimming we recommend that your vet or experienced farrier take care of this for your pig’s health and well-being.
Knowing the anatomy of the hoof is very important. Examine and learn what the hoof looks like from all angles. Notice what is hard tissue and what is soft. Watch the way your pig’s hooves grow and change. The more familiar you are with the anatomy, the more confident and comfortable you will be trimming and shaping them for your pig.
There are a few tools you can use to trim and maintain the length and shape of your pig’s hooves. With a piglet a hard wire cutter, large nail cutter, and high grit emery board will all work to maintain the hooves. As your pig ages the hooves will become thicker and tougher and sturdier tools will be needed. Goat hoof trimmers, horse hoof nippers, dremel, metal file or rasp are all great tools for trimmings.
Get your pig comfortable on his/her side with a belly rub and then check the hooves one by one. It is important to start them getting used to having their hooves touched and trimmed when young and often. Remove any impacted dirt from inside the front of the grown hoof. Once you can clearly see hard and soft tissue begin cutting away excess. Cut parallel to the heel and toe. Gently, but firmly trim down to level the growth with the heel or soft pad of the hoof. Use a file, dremel, or rasp to smooth rough edges. Pigs have two dew claws that will also need trimming while being aware of the soft tissue inside. Do not cut too short.
For more hoof care images visit our Pinterest board by clicking here.
What do I need when I bring my pig home?
Items To Have For Your Mini Pig
- Heavy food & water dish
- Pet playpen or baby gate to confine pig to a safe space
- Litter pan (horse bedding or pine pellet) or Potty pads
- Kennel or Crate
- Baby Wipes & Baby Shampoo
- Vet phone numbers
- Mini pig pellets
- Cheerios, Shredded Wheat for treats
- Pig Bed, Blanket
- Figure 8 Harness & Leash
Items For First Aid Kit Minor Illness or Emergency
- Canned Pumpkin
- Karo Syrup
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- Gatorade or Pedialyte
- Digital Thermometer
- Emergency Vet Number
- Heating Pad
- Ice Pack
- Hydrogen Peroxide 3%
- Poison Control Number
- Buffered Aspirin or Children’s Tylenol
- Prilosec or Pepcid
- Pepto Bismol
- Ivermectin and Syringe for worming
- Syringes for Dosing Medications
Why do pigs grind their Teeth?
Pigs can grind their teeth for a few reasons. They grind their teeth when they are teething and have discomfort. Most often they grind their teeth for contentment or self comforting (like a child sucks their thumb.) Sometimes they have been known to grind their teeth as a sign of aggression or annoyance.
When is a pig considered full grown?
You will see a discrepancy here when reading in research or in articles. Some say 3 years, other say 5 years. Although most of their growth is done by 3 years old, you can see mini pigs fill out and still add a few pounds in that 4-5 years. Mini pigs are considered full grown or mature at 3-5yrs. old
How long do mini pigs live for?
A potbellied pig lives 12-15 years on average. Some have been known to live up to 18-20 years.
How do mini pigs Play?
Pigs are not very athletic or playful animals like cats or dogs. They will not run after and chase your cat or jump in the air and catch a frisbee. When owning a mini pig there is a lot of down time as they love to cuddle, if well socialized young. Owners have found that fuzzy blankets, stuffed animals, and anything soft to the nose they will play with by rooting. Organic things that make noise when monitored like a half filled water bottle that they can roll around and crinkle, or bubble wrap. Pigs love to rip paper or play with dog toys like a Kong that you can put treats in. You can get creative with toys instead of spending a lot of money, for example a used spaghetti jar half filled with rice that they can roll with their snout. Occasionally a pig will run fast or in circles in short sprints, which is hilarious to watch.
Do Pigs Shed?
Pigs do not shed in the same way that a dog or cat would. They have hair not fur, however it is a very thick stiff bristle type of hair. If you brush your pig you may have a few bristles come out, but you will not see piles of hair in the corners of your house. Typically pigs will “blow their coats” once sometimes twice a year, typically in Spring going into Summer as it gets warmer. They can lose it slowly or all at one time. You can actually pull the hair out during coat blow out very easily, even a good brushing will encourage this. Pigs can be very itchy while blowing their coat and you will see them itching themselves on trees, furniture, your legs, and just about anything.
Are pigs Hypoallergenic?
Yes. Pigs are 95% hypoallergenic. Most owners that have a family member with severe allergies and cannot own cats or dogs can successfully own a pig.
Do Pigs like Car Rides?
Pigs do enjoy car rides. If they are taken often, especially at a young age, and it is a good experience then they can enjoy car rides just like a dog. Pigs can be very social and if they are taken out of the house consistently they love to go places. One pig residing in Southern California has even been trained to ride in a Harley side car with goggles and leathers and all. Banks went across country this past summer and was slowly introduced to the loud Harley as an 8 week old piglet. She loves to ride!
Do Pigs do well with other Animals?
Yes. Pigs are very social herd animals. They love to be a part of a community and love to sleep with other animals as with pigs they sleep in a pig pile when they are a herd. Most dogs do well with pigs, however some recommend never leaving your dog and pig alone. Others have had great success with dogs and pigs being best friends and leave them alone all the time. Most often you may experience jealousy between animals. Cats are typically leery of pigs at first, likewise a pig takes cues and although they are curious they will be leery and let the cat decide when introduction occurs, especially if there is hissing or hair raising. You do not want to take your pig around strange dogs or to a dog park for example. When introducing your house dog you want to make sure the dog is on a leash or behind a gate for their first meeting.
Is it legal to own a pig? Zoning?
Every city has its own code for zoning. It is up to each owner to do their due diligence and call your city to make sure your city allows mini pigs. Unfortunately, a lot of times zoning for cities was written a long time ago when mini pig were not pets, but considered livestock or hoofed animals which most cities did not want to permit. You can actually go in front of zoning boards within your city and try and get your city zoning changed.
How do I get a pig from another state?
Mini pigs can fly! Many companies like Delta or united have safe pet cargo. Make sure you talk to your breeder about costs and what may be required by your state to have a pig enter in. Many times states need a health certificate from a vet and micro chipping done in order to enter the state. You can check your state requirements here:
How old should breeding parents be?
The youngest a female pig should get pregnant is 1 year old, however it is best to wait until a pig is older and matured with a suggested 18 months to 2 years. pigs can get pregnant as early as 4-5 months, making mom look a lot smaller being a young pig herself.
Can pigs get sick? Can we pass illnesses between human/pig?
Yes. Pigs can get sick just like we do as humans. They can get a cold or flu like symptoms that last a day or two. You will most often know they are sick if they have no appetite, are lethargic, not drinking, etc.
What can pigs do?
• Walk on a leash
• Go up and down stairs
• Can jump up to 3 feet
• Can use a doggy door
• Learn to ring a bell to go outside
• Smell better then dogs. They used to be used as truffle farmers as they can smell truffles under the ground deeper and younger mushrooms then dogs.
• Can be used as emotional therapy animals. In fact pigs know when you sick and do not feel well, some can be trained even to be able to help such illnesses as diabetes, as they can alert their owner when their blood sugar is too high or low.
• Be trained to all kinds of tricks like sit, stand on hind legs, twirl, wave, kiss, play things that make noise like a baby piano. You can train your pig to do just about anything that is physically possible for them
DISCLAIMER: The terms Teacup, Micro Mini, Pocket Nano, etc. is just a term to describe sizing and these terms are not identified as breeds. Mini pigs will in No Way shape or form fit in your purse or pocket. All mini pigs are cross bred and mixed with many different miniature pig breeds like Juliana, potbelly, feral hog, kune kune, etc. and bred to be smaller over many generations. For this reason they are called American Mini Pigs. There is no such thing as micro, teacup, or pocket nano. Those are just cute names to describe them for marketing purposes. You should be very Leary of any promise of a “super tiny” pig. Sizing is dependent on many factors, average mini pigs range between 12-18 inches short, and weight varies dramatically due to genetics and lifestyle just as in humans. Education and trusting your breeder is essential! . The American Mini Pig Association is working on paving the path with a nationwide database, DNA testing, and eventually lineage.