You know you do.
You want to name it Peaches or Tallulah and dress it up in little outfits and carry that fucker around in a purse with the first letter of its name on it. Right?
Then get a goddamn Chihuahua, because this shit is not for you.
Look up “pet pig” on any social media site and there will be tens of thousands of photos of pint-sized piggies in tutus. But where are the adult pigs?
I’ll tell you where they fucking are: the lucky ones are at pig rescues. Overcrowded, underfunded pig rescues. Know why?
“MINI” PIG BREEDERS ARE FULL OF SHIT.
These people are the scum of the earth. They’ll lie about the size your pig will grow to be. They’ll tell you to starve your pig in an effort to keep it small. If you ask to see the parents to try and see how big they are, they’ll show you another piglet and swear it’s their mother. Then they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank with the $2,000 you just gave them.
But if you dare to say to a new pig owner, “Please feed your pig the amount stated on the bag of pig food,” they’ll flip shit.
“The breeder said Petunia will only grow to be 40 pounds and I’m feeding her three kibbles a day just like they said! I know she’ll stay little because I saw her mom!”
Ah, the reality of pet pigs.
The reality is much less glamorous, I can assure you.
First of all, let’s talk about pig sizes. This seems to be the major reason that pigs end up in rescues or worse. For the most part, females reach 100 lbs or more and males can get up to 250-ish.
“Holy crap I thought you said you had mini pigs!” This is a common response I get from people who see my pigs. Reality: these ARE mini pigs. Regular-sized pigs are 700 lbs, people. Compared to that, this is mini.
But people think that because the babies are all they ever see.
And then there are the tragedies. Malnutritioned pigs show up at sanctuaries with underdeveloped legs they can’t walk on because their owners fed them according to what the breeders told them. There are pigs who, due to bad breeding, end up with skeletons too small to accommodate their internal organs, and they only live a couple of years until their own ribcage suffocates them.
Enraging, right? These are animals that have 20 year lifespans, and some of them only get a couple of disabled years or they get to live for 20 years unable to walk.
So what DOES it take to successfully keep a pet pig?
A lot. If you’re here, you’re already doing the right thing because you’re researching before buying.
Pigs ARE NOT like dogs. I will slap the next person who says that. They’re not any more like a dog than a cat is like a dog. You can keep it as a pet. That’s about as far as their similarities go. Dogs want to please their owners while pigs don’t give a flying fuck how you feel about what they’re doing. They have an emotional warmth about them more like a dog, but their nature is much more cat-like in that it’s all about them.
It takes a while to get to read their body language and oinks too. Is he wagging his tail because he’s happy or because he’s about to rip my calf open with his tusks? Is he head slashing at me because he wants to kill me or because he thinks I have food for him? Is he squealing because he’s scared or is he asking for a bite of my spaghetti?
Have you ever fought a miniature tank with your bare hands? If you haven’t and you’re not willing to, a pig is not for you. Dominance battles fucking suck. You have to be ready to push and shove and stare them down and not flinch when they roar and gnash their tusks at you. You have to growl at them and chase them and they’re fast as shit, but you have to be the alpha pig. Be ready and willing to engage in this fuckery.
Also, people love to say that pigs are clean animals. Hah! Everything about them is a mess. They tear their bed to shreds, they dig huge craters in the yard, they make messes with their food and water on purpose, and their annual loss of their hair is one ungodly fucking disaster.
People like tout their intelligence too. Yes, pigs are very smart. Too damn smart. They can open cabinets and refrigerators and drawers. Their iron strength makes little plastic “baby proofing” things irrelevant. They’ll also learn words you’ll wish they didn’t know, like “goldfish” and “graham crackers” and the names of all the fruits and “Chipotle.”
Lastly, vets are fucking hard to find. Seriously. There are “farm animal” and horse vets who will see them, but they usually do housecalls only and require a billion dollars just to walk through the door. Or you can take them to a regular vet (if you call first and see if they’re willing) who has no fucking idea what they’re doing. I had an emergency where one of my pigs climbed up things to get a bag of fertilizer and ate it. She threw up literally everywhere. Panicked, we had to take her to an emergency vet who had never seen a pig before. These people didn’t even know pigs got as large as she was. They didn’t have needles long enough to give her an IV and she ended up with it in her ear. Never having worked with a pig before, they were shocked when they walked away for 30 seconds and she had eaten the line. Luckily she survived that shit on her own.
This may have seemed like a negative article, but it’s not really meant to be. I love my pigs and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They’re hilarious and I wish more people had them. But the truth really needs to be out there. People need to know exactly what they’re going to have to do when bringing home a piglet.