I have a pet mini pig. Honestly, Pepper our mini pig is pretty much my spirit animal. She is food driven, she loves napping in sunbeams, and she loves hanging out with her pals in the garden. Shoot, she’d probably wear cowgirl boots if I bought her a pair. Pepper’s just that cool! Owning a mini pig is literally so much fun.
The problem with Pepper and many other farm animals is people are excited to buy them but after time realize they don’t want the hassle of caring for them any longer. Consider the following 6 facts about owning a mini pig, because it certainly would be sad to have an over population of homeless mini pigs in cowboy boots running around.
- Mini Pigs don’t stay mini
When you hear the term mini pig, you might think they stay the super cute, tiny little size that you see on social media sites. I am personally obsessed with the pig in red boots picture that has circulated all over the internet. However, this is not the case! Pepper is about 200lbs. She is 2 and that is probably the weight she will stay. She weighs far less than her non-mini family members, but she is not the size of a Chihuahua.
- They are super smart and strong
We adopted Pepper when she was about two years old and she has impressed us every day since with her strength and intelligence. From quickly learning how to open our stable stall doors, to bulldozing open the chicken coop to hide out when it unexpectedly rained, she continually leads the pack with her cleverness.
- They live for a very long time if cared for properly
What most people don’t realize when they adopt mini pigs is that they can live to be quite old. The average potbellied pig has a 20-year lifespan, although if you get what is known as the teacup variety, they only live for about 5 years. Make sure you plan ahead and know you will be able to care for and love on your babe for that amount of time before you adopt!
- They are food driven
I guess this is not that surprising, but it is funny. I’ve seen our girl Pepper full on sprint during two occasions. Once, when she was escaping a fire. The second, whenever it’s her chow time and she’s far away from her bowl. It’s hilarious! Not only does she finish her food, she tries to eat the goats food, the chicken scratch, the grass, and pretty much whatever else is edible in sight.
- They are slower to warm up to you than dogs
Pigs are not like dogs in the sense of immediately becoming your best friend when you first meet. They tend to take some time to warm up to you. However, Pepper and I became instant besties! Most likely it’s because I feed her and give regular belly rubs. My husband on the other hand, has had a bit of a learning curve. When we first adopted her, he was trying to pick her up to carry her over to her food after she was out in the pastures roaming. She was confused as to what was going on, so she fought and screamed the entire way back to the stable. She has been leery of him ever since. Let’s be honest, it just means she’s wicked smart! 😉 If your piggy takes a awhile to get to know you, just keep giving them love and treats. They will soon warm up to you!
- They really do love mud and muck
Pigs use mud and muck as a way to stay cool. Splashing around in water or just being sprayed off does not keep them as cool and being covered in mud. Since they do not have functional sweat glands to regulate heat, wallowing in mud and muck provides sunburn protection, prevents hyperthermia. and also removes ecto-parasites.
If Pepper cannot find mud and muck on her own, she creates it. Within the first few days after bringing her home, we were confused as to how she was getting so muddy. It hadn’t rained in weeks and we didn’t have any stale water on our property. After watching her, we realized she was not drinking all of the water in her dish. She would drink what she liked at first, and then dump the pail over and roll in it. Make sure to keep those water bins filled, as they need to have access to water on a regular basis. See! Smart little oinker!