Are you thinking that having a pet pig is the same as a dog or a cat? In the eyes of the law they are farm animals and subject to the same measures and regulation as pigs kept as commercial livestock herds.
If you are considering keeping a pig as a pet you should carefully consider whether your home and garden environment will allow you to properly cater for its needs and welfare. You should ensure that you have the time, finances and facilities required, as well as access to suitable veterinary care and the ability to comply with the legislation that surrounds pig keeping.
The legal stuff.
To own a pig as a pet you will need to apply for a County Parish Holding (CPH) Number. The CPH number is a nine digit code which identifies the premises or area of land where your animals will eventually be kept.
To apply for a CPH Number you will need to contact the Rural Payments Agency.
You should allow three weeks for your CPH number to be processed. Call 0845 603 7777 to apply for your CPH number. They are free and very easy to obtain.
If you are thinking that walking your pig might be fun and will give your pig lots of excessive, you can do that as long as you are in England or Wales. However as a pig owner in England and Wales you are legally obliged to obtain a Pig Walking Licence from your local Animal Health office before taking your pig out. If you live in Scotland you are not able to walk your pig.
It is a legal requirement for you to keep a record of any verterinary medicines purchased or administered to your pig(s)
Whether you have one pet pig or a thousand animals in a commercial herd, you will need to register them with Animal Health as soon as they arrive at their new home. In the event of an outbreak of a notifiable disease, registration is vital to effective disease control because it allows the authorities to precisely locate all livestock animals within a given area. Pig keepers who fail to register their animals within one month of their arrival are not only breaking the law, they are also putting their animals and all other livestock kept in the vicinity at risk of infection. To register your pet pig, you will need to phone your local Animal Health office and provide staff with your County Parish Holding (CPH) number. Once you have informed Animal Health that you are keeping pigs, they will register the animals for you. This may be done over the phone or you may be required to put the information in writing.
Keeping piggies warm and happy
Pigs require dry, well ventilated but draught free housing. They will need dry bedding. We use straw as for us it is the most suitable form of bedding as they can hide under it in the winter and is best laid over concrete. Pigs are naturally clean animals so will not usually mess in their house but tend to use one area, making mucking out fairly easy.
Please do not keep the babies outside until they are adults, so they are protected from the weather (cold/hot/wet) or any threats. It is recommended a minimum area of 36 metres square (6mx6m) for your pig. Your pigs housing can be built within this space and the rest of the area should be securely fenced to prevent your pig(s) from escaping. If you are particularly garden proud it is best to have a very secure area for your pig to play in as it will dig up your lawn and eat all your plants.
Your pig should be free to exhibit its natural behaviour and as such it should be able to root about and particularly in hot weather, to wallow. Due to their social nature we would strongly recommend keeping the mini pigs in pairs, as such we provide an offer price of £800 for two.
Feeding is a nominal expense and our pigs are fed on Sow and Weaner pig nuts which you can buy from any good farm supplier. A moderate handful morning and night is all that is required and the odd carrot. They love apples, bananas and strawberries as a treat.
Pigs can be encouraged to explore and forage for food by throwing a small quantity of the food ration into the area where they are enclosed. As a pig owner you must be aware that it is illegal to feed your pet any food waste or scraps. It is essential that a supply of clean, fresh drinking water is available at all times.
Pigs can drink up to 20 litres of water a day and even our mini pigs can drink around 5 litres a day. You will also need to worm your pig. Worming should be carried out every 4-6 months.
As a pig owner you need to know that it is illegal to feed your animal with waste food and scraps from your own kitchen or dinner table. It is also illegal to feed pigs with waste food from restaurants, kitchens, and other catering facilities – even if those establishments cater solely for vegetarians. In addition, current legislation imposes strict controls banning the feeding of other materials of animal origin, or products containing them, to farmed animals.
There are a small number of exceptions to this, and the following materials may be fed to pigs: • Liquid milk or colostrum (a type of milk used to rear very young animals) may be fed to pigs, provided the food originated from the same holding as that on which the pigs are kept; • Former foodstuffs (other than catering waste food from kitchens, catering facilities etc) containing rennet, melted fat, milk or eggs, but where these materials are not the main ingredient; • Restricted proteins such as fishmeal, (animal derived) di-calcium or tri-calcium phosphate, or blood products if suitably processed; • Milk, milk products and white water sourced from registered premises, or as former foodstuffs from retail outlets. These products must not enter the kitchen or they become catering waste; • Egg and egg products, but only if treated in accordance with Animal By-Products (ABP) regulations. This would mean sourcing from an ABP processing plant or a food factory. It does not allow for pigs to be fed with raw egg or egg products from chickens on the pig owner’s premises, eggs or egg products from domestic kitchens, or eggs or egg products from retail stores or supermarkets.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average size of mini pigs?
Mini pigs come in many shapes and sizes and have different genetic origins and backgrounds. All Mini Pigs are essentially mixed. Miniature pigs have been sized down and cross bred over many generations and mixed with different miniature pig breeds including Potbelly, Juliana, Kune Kune, Gottingen, Hanford Miniature Swine, Ossabaw Island Pig, just to name a few. By definition any breed of pig averaging 350 pounds and under is considered a “Miniature” breed of swine. Any breed averaging 150 pounds or less is considered a mini pig.
Most often your smaller mini pigs will range from 14-16 inches full grown, but on the taller end of that scale they will be 16-20 inches tall. Weights can vary greatly depending on genetics, diet, environment, and lifestyle (activity). You can expect your mini pig to be anywhere from 50-150 pounds full grown at 5 years of age. Some have reported even smaller mini pigs full grown, but it cannot be expected and not the norm. A 50-75 full grown pig is very small pig. Mini pigs are short and three times more dense than a dog, so it is difficult to compare their body weight to a dog. Most mini pigs will have the body composition of a bulldog, short but dense.
Please expect your mini pig to be on the larger end of the scales. Expect your mini pig to be larger than estimated, and do not trust when a breeder that tells you that your pig will be tiny or quotes unrealistically low weights. Overfeeding your mini pig will promote growth and obesity. Never underfeed your mini pig to stunt their growth and lead to serious health problems and early death. Please check out the nutrition section on our website for accurate food amounts per your mini pigs size. It should not be the weight of the pig that matters, but the overall health and well being.
What is a teacup pig, micro, royal dandie, pixie pig, nano, super nano?
These are not breeds or types of miniature pigs. Teacup, micro, nano, etc. are all terms used as labels for ads and marketing to describe sizes. Miniature or mini pigs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Breeders, owners, shoppers will use theses marketing terms or labels to distinguish different sizes within their farms breeding stock. Problem? None of these labels have a standard size linked to them that are consistent from person to person or pig to pig. This causes confusion and misinformation. If you see these terms then be sure you ask specific measurements for the pigs and their ages to ensure that you have an accurate understanding of the full adult size of the parent pig.
What is Rooting? Why does my pig nudge me?
Rooting is a natural and common behavior in mini pigs. When a piglet is born they immediately find their way to mom’s 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.” Rooting 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 garden. 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 Tail 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 can place a towel or dish cloth on the tub floor so your pig will not slip. 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?
With piglets you may have to hold them rather than have them stand but it is never too early to start training. You will want a figure 8 harness. You can buy a dog harness or order one specially made for pigs for a better fit.
Why do pigs grind their teeth?
Pigs can grind their teeth for a few reasons. Most often they grind their teeth for contentment or self comforting (like a child sucks their thumb.) They can grind their teeth when they are teething and or if they are in pain. 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 skeletal 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 5yrs. old
How long do mini pigs live?
Mini pigs live an average of 12-15 years. 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 oats 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 blowing 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 hypoallergenic. Most owners that have a family member with severe allergies and cannot own cats or dogs can successfully own a pig. There are some reported cases of allergic reaction to pigs resulting in a rash.
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.
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. It is very natural for pigs to sleep in a pig pile when they are a herd. Most dogs do well with pigs, however it is recommended never leaving your dog and pig unsupervised. Many have had great success with dogs and pigs being best friends. Animals can be unpredictable in behavior so use your best judgment. You do not want to take your pig around strange dogs or to a dog park. When introducing your house dog you want to make sure the dog is on a leash or behind a gate for their first meeting. 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.
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, which is dangerous to the pig as she is not done growing.
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. If you notice any changes in your pig’s behavior you should check temperature and call your vet.
What can pigs do?
Walk on a leash
Go up and down stairs
Can jump up to 3 feet
Can use a doggy door
Solve simple puzzles
Learn to ring a bell to go outside
Smell better than dogs. They used to be used as truffle farmers as they can smell truffles under the ground deeper and younger mushrooms than dogs.
Can be used as emotional therapy animals. In fact pigs know when you are 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.