How to take care of a pig
There are many types of animals here at Zoology Foundation, but none of them are more adored than our pigs. We currently have five pigs on our property. Four of them are potbelly pigs named Chevy, Frankie, Priscilla, and Jonesy. We also have one large pig named Sweet Pea. No matter what their story was before they came to us, we ensure that they have the best life possible while they are here!
Unfortunately, potbelly pigs are commonly adopted by inexperienced owners and are often given away after they become too much to handle. This is why it is so important to do your research before adopting a pig! Pigs can be amazing pets, but they are not easy to care for. Here is a list of considerations to think about before adopting a pig. This list can also be applied to any animal that you are thinking of adopting!
- Can I have this animal in my area?
- It is illegal to have a pig in some areas. That is one of the reasons Priscilla Pig came to live at Zoology! So it is super important to make sure you are allowed to have one before you adopt.
- How much space does this animal need?
- Most potbelly pigs require an outdoor run as well as an indoor area in the house or a shed. Depending on the size of your pig, they may need more space than others. Many potbelly pigs do not grow to full size until they are 2 to 3 years old so it is important to have some wiggle room in your enclosure space.
- Another major disclaimer with adopting a pig is that “teacup pigs” do not exist!! Breeders will sell baby pigs and claim that they are teacup pigs when in reality they are just not fully grown yet. In many cases, breeders will tell potential adopters to feed the pig small amounts of food so that they stay small. This can stunt the growth of a baby pig and cause health problems! When adopting a pig, you can either wait until they’re an adult so you are sure that they are the correct size for your yard/house, or you can buy from a very well known breeder that shows what their adult pigs look like. However, there is never a guarantee on how big a pig will get so it’s always smart to plan for a larger pig.
- What is their typical behavior like?
- Pigs can be very sweet natured animals and when they are raised correctly, they can be wonderful pets. That being said, they are also not the same as a dog in terms of behavioral issues. Just like dogs, pigs can bite and are potentially dangerous if they are upset with you. Pigs can also be incredibly destructive. While a dog can chew up a couch or tear up pillows, a pig can bite through pipes in your house! Our pig Frankie came to us after chewing through water pipes in a bathroom! Pigs are commonly known as the 4th smartest animal in the world and due to this, they can get bored easily. When left to their own devices they can wreak havoc while inside a house. Most potbelly pig owners have a strict enrichment regimen to make sure their piggy friends have plenty to do while they are home alone. We use a variety of puzzle feeders at Zoology, similar to the kongs you might buy for giant breed dogs.
- How long do they live?
- Since potbelly pigs can live 15 to 18 years, it is important to understand the long term commitment required when adopting one. No one can predict the future, but it is crucial to think about the time ahead when adopting an animal to see if you will have space for them for the rest of their life.
- How much do they cost to adopt and care for?
- Buying a potbelly pig from a reputable breeder can cost anywhere from $800-$1,000 dollars per pig. Adopting a pig from a rescue like the Pig Placement Network can be somewhat cheaper or even free depending on the rescue’s adoption fees. Other expenses for a pig include their vet bills, food and any other toys/items that they need.
- What are their diet requirements?
- All of the pigs here at Zoology Foundation are fed pig specific grain as well as loads of fresh veggies and fruit. The pigs at Zoology especially love pumpkins, apples and hay! Our recommended brand of grain is the Mazuri pig diet, but a vet can also recommend healthy feed depending on a pig’s needs and size.
- Is there a vet near me that can care for this animal?
- All animals require vet care at some point in their lives. Due to this, it is very important to find the closest vet that can take care of your specific animal. Vets are only able to care for certain types of animals that they specialize in, so finding a pig vet is crucial. Pigs need their hooves and tusks trimmed regularly just like any other animal. This is the most common reason for a vet visit, although many potbelly pig owners trim their pigs’ feet at home. They also require vaccinations just like dogs and cats, and need to be dewormed fairly often.
Overall, pigs are fantastic animals, but they can be a handful. If you or someone you know is interested in adopting one, make sure to do your research beforehand so that both you and the pig can thrive!
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