Pigs are intelligent, social, and curious animals that make excellent companions. Many people keep them as indoor or outdoor pets, but they aren’t for everyone. Before you adopt a pet pig, ensure your property is zoned for having a pet pig and that your city will allow it. Also know that pigs, same as any animal, have distinct care needs that you must be able to meet.
We’ll review how you can make indoor and backyard pigs comfortable and happy by discussing their needs and behaviors. Knowing more about pigs can help you determine if a pet pig is right for you.
Buy pet pigs from reputable breeders to know they are healthy. If you’re concerned about size, you should ask to see the mother, as this can be a good indicator of how big the piglet will grow. People commonly keep mini pigs as pets. Many breeds fall under the category of mini-pig and most range from 15-20 inches in height and 50-150 pounds. They have various environmental, diet, health, and behavioral needs.
Pigs love to roam around, so even if you keep them indoors, they need a space outside for roaming and wallowing. Your yard needs a sturdy, high fence that doesn’t have any holes.
You can also buy a plastic kid pool and create a mud wallow, or you can dig one in your yard. To make a pig wallow, you dig a hole less than 1 foot deep, fill it with soil, and add water as needed. A mud wallow is crucial because it cools pigs off, acts as an insect repellent, moisturizer, and sunscreen, and keeps backyard and indoor pigs happy.
Indoor mini-pigs like to have a room with blankets and straw to nest in. They can also be house-trained to use a litter box or potty pads. Here’s a checklist for indoor mini-pigs:
If you intend to keep your pig outside most of the time, you will need to make a pig house. The ideal temperature for pigs is between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. They are susceptible to hot and cold temperatures and do not sweat much. The pig house provides them with a shady place during summer and a warm shelter during winter. It can be brick or wooden with plenty of straw, blankets, and space so your pig can nest.
Backyard pigs get lonely, so they are best kept in pairs or threes. If your yard is fenced in, you can allow them free-range. However, pigs forage, so if you don’t want them to root your grass, you can keep them in a pen. The pen should be spacious and have plenty of straw, a water tank, and a feeding trough.
Mini pigs require a diverse diet of fruits, vegetables, and pellets. Different food formulas exist for their various life stages, such as adult and young. Pellets are their main diet, and you should feed them two or three times daily.
In addition to their main diet, you should provide your pig with fruits and vegetables. Some fruits and vegetables you can feed your pig include:
You can also feed your pig fruits like pears, apples, and grapes in moderation.
Always ensure your pig has access to plenty of fresh, clean water. They tend to knock over their bowls, so buy a heavy one to prevent this. Pigs cannot go 24 hours without water, or they will suffer from salt poisoning, which a veterinarian must treat. Symptoms of salt poisoning include thirst, skin irritation, constipation, and convulsions.
Pigs can live up to 18 years and require routine veterinarian care, the same as any pet. They are susceptible to illnesses and diseases, including the flu, so it’s vital to ensure you can afford and access vet care.
When they are younger, they must be desexed. Intact female pigs go into heat about every three weeks and become vocal, restless, and moody, while intact males become aggressive, smelly, and restless.
As part of their routine vet visits, pigs must be dewormed and vaccinated, and their hooves need to be trimmed.
Pigs require lots of mental stimulation or they become bored and destructive. If you have the space inside, you can consider adopting a pair of pigs so they have company when you’re not home. They can be territorial, so you should discourage territorial behaviors, like being aggressive, while they are young. Similar to other pets, they love attention and cuddles, belly rubs and scratches, and going for walks.
You can train pigs like you would a dog. They respond well to treat rewards and can learn their name and commands, like sit or roll over. Pigs can also be trained to walk with a harness and leash and use a large litter box. In their daily lives, they prefer to stick to a routine.
Mini pigs can be destructive because they love foraging and rooting. Chew toys and an outdoor space to forage can help mitigate this behavior. They can also be noisy, especially when excited. Ensure you keep their behavior in mind before deciding if a pet pig is right for you.
Here are some final tips to help you care for your pet pig:
Diet is an essential aspect of caring for your pet. What they eat affects their mood, energy, and health. Nature’s Best Organic Feeds offers non-medicated and Non-GMO Project Verified pellets for your mini pig. We have young and active and adult pellets, providing a complete, nutritional diet for your pet during the different stages of its life. Find a store near you for young and adult pellets.