The terrible plight of micro-pigs/ Want to adopt a micro-pig? This info will help you

When people think of micro-pigs they generally have one picture in mind and it’s something like this:

But those are baby pictures only. They do not represent what a micro-pig really is for the next 17 years of its life.

Only a very lucky pig will spend his entire life with one loving family.

Micro-pigs grow up. It takes them 3 years to reach their adult size. This is how some alleged breeders will trick people into buying them. They might show you the parents and tell you that this is how tall the pig will grow.

But what you don’t know is that :

Pigs reach puberty at 5 months of age. Please let that sink in. They can make babies at 5 months of age, but will keep growing for 3 years.

The size is not where the main difficulties in owning a pig lies. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Pigs are very smart and as a result become destructive animals when bored.

They need proper mental stimulus, just like a smart dog would. Pigs are also natural diggers. They root up the ground, lifting and turning the soil with their strong nose in a constant search for food. This is a natural behavior for them. Imagine owning a pig and releasing him in the backyard for some sunshine and exercise. Forget the garden if you have one, it will need to be pig proofed. Be prepared to see your lovely grass being completely turned over, and the whole backyard turned into fluffy earth patches and holes. You can’t get mad, because this is their nature.

I would like to introduce you to Pumba.

When I was beginning my career as a zoo-therapist, I wanted to do something special. An animal that would help people suffering from mental-health issues snap out of the daily traumas they were enduring and be aware of the present moment. I wanted to help them forget their troubles and enjoy the human-animal bond experience.

That animal came as a 1 year old micro-pig that I adopted from a good family that simply could not keep him (for personal reasons.) He wasn’t tiny when I met him but he wasn’t the size he is today. I could pick him up and hold him on my lap. I could put him on the car seat next to me. He came to work with me daily. He worked with autistic kids, and schizophrenics. He did sessions with traumatized women, and children with behavior problems.

But this little piggy kept growing and now, he is more like a miniature cow that lives in my small house. He is very heavy and we need two people to pick him up. Even then, its a fight as he doesn’t want to be picked up anymore (understandably).

Eventually, I had to retire him from zoo-therapy because he started hating car rides. I do not force animals to work if they don’t want to. So Pumba retired and began enjoying lazy days sleeping on the couch.

and he continued to grow.

With his incredible intelligence, he understands how to open the fridge. He understands that there is food in the garbage cans and easily flips them. He understands that a pantry can be opened and that there are many delicious things there. No food item is safe in the house. Physiologically, a pig never ever feels full, even though he technically is. Everything needs to be locked and child-proofed…for the next 20 years.

When we leave the house, he will move tables and couches, looking for a possible piece a bread that might have fallen under something. I have small kids so this does happen sometimes and when it does, he will push the couch across the living room to find it if he has to.

Very smart, and very destructive, in a small house. There came a point where I wondered if I could care for him. Having two small kids, and two dogs as well as many other animals that I work with, I have to always consider Pumba for everything that I do. Vacations are a bit complex as well. Not many places board pigs. There are some but Pumba hates car rides. This makes it even more complicated.

So, because I love my pig, and so do my kids, we decided to work with him. We have an ongoing project to expand a little wing of our little home so that he can have a nice space, that is fully insulated for winter and where he will be able to access the backyard at all times. This will take time to build, but we have decided that we are going to keep him, love him and accommodate him. But I am also a person who has worked with animals all my life, and who now works as a pet therapist. I understand the plight of pigs, and I don’t want Pumba to be another case.

People that have 9 to 5 jobs or that have different specialties, different ways of living, (city or suburban life) might have a really difficult time adapting to an animals that may grow to this size and who also has the mental demands of one of the smartest animals on earth.

So as a result, there are thousands of pigs that are given up every year, and the SPCA no longer knows where to put these guys. They are domesticated, so often, they do not adapt in a farm setting. They don’t thrive well there if they grew up in a home.

They love people and have extremely deep feelings. They get very attached to their families.

The sadness of a pig that has been given up goes very deep into his soul. They are very emotional animals. Quick to learn, but very slow to forget.

So, if you want to adopt a pig, then be prepared.

If you are prepared, please go to your local micro-pig rescue shelter. Many sad piggies are waiting for a family as we speak.

Tips to prepare for a Pig:

Child lock the fridge

bungee-cord the garbage (or just always keep them outside)

Lock any food pantries

Never put grocery bags within a pigs reach

They dig holes in the backyard.

Pig proof your garden

Need to trim their hooves regularly

Need to make sure there is a vet that knows micro pigs in your area or somewhere within reasonable driving distance

Make sure your city allows pigs

When they grow up, they can no longer go up and down long flights of stairs. (they may do one or two steps)

They can live up to 20 years

Please be responsible and think about it.

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