how to keep mini pigs

How Do You Keep a Mini Pig?

Mini pigs belong to the animals that look very cute at first sight. Therefore, many animal lovers would like to keep the mini pig as a pet. In reality, however, keeping the comparatively small pig also involves some challenges. Prospective mini pig owners should be aware of this fact. The animals should only be purchased if they can be kept in a species-appropriate manner.

In our guide, we explain what you need to think about when you want to buy a minipig as a pet.

Mini pigs: Brief overview

-> Everything you need to know about mini pigs explained in 60 seconds:

History of the Mini Pig: Mini pigs are small-bodied domestic pigs that were originally bred for animal testing, as pigs and humans are comparable in many physiological areas. Because mini pigs are cute, docile animals that are affectionate to humans, they are increasingly being bred for hobby keeping.

Need for Contact: Mini pigs are social animals, so it’s best not to keep them alone. However, if you have acquired just one pig, you as the keeper must spend a lot of time with it and clearly act as the “boss” towards it.

Attitude: You shouldn’t keep mini pigs indoors only. They need outdoor space to run, wallow and roll around. A small barn with a comfortable resting area for protection from adverse weather conditions should be available to them.

Legal Requirements: Animal welfare legislation is more stringent for the mini-pig than for dogs and cats because, as pigs, they are considered farm animals. To comply with each regulation, it is best to contact your local veterinary office.

Breeding diversity: Except for small size, no goals are required in breeding. There are many breeding lines – for example, the Minnesota or the Göttingen Mini Pig. Common characteristics of common breeding lines are small prick ears and a straight tail.

Nutrition: As a basic feed, ground grain mixed with water is suitable. In addition, you can feed hay, vegetables, bran and fruit. Mini pigs must not be fed with kitchen waste or food scraps. The risk of spreading animal diseases is too great. Costs: In addition to the purchase costs, which are approximately between 300 and 500 euros, there are the running costs of about 50 euros per month. You have to calculate that a mini pig can live up to 15 years.

How much space does a mini pig need?

Mini pigs are very active animals and for this reason need a lot of space. A large garden with about 100 square meters is therefore one of the minimum requirements for mini pig keeping. The little pigs are on the move a lot every day, like to dig in the ground and are generally considered very curious. In doing so, they do not stop at the flower beds or the new ornamental lawn.

To prevent the entire garden from becoming a playground for the mini pigs, ideally a certain area should be separated off for the animals. The animals should be able to dig in this section of the garden and have shelter from the sun and rain. You can protect your animals from the adversities of weather with a small hut or shed. In addition to a shelter, the hut and stable should also contain a resting area with straw or a blanket.

Is it possible to keep them indoors only?

Pigs typically live in pens. However, keeping a mini pig usually means that the animal is allowed indoors as well as out in the garden. It is important that a mini pig is not kept exclusively indoors. This can lead to health problems. As already mentioned, the animals need a lot of exercise every day.

Many pet lovers wonder if a mini pig can be housebroken. Similar to other pets, you can house train mini pigs indoors. Usually, you as the owner can get the animal used to a litter box within a week. This is because mini pigs, contrary to popular reputation, are comparatively clean. Pigs don’t wallow in mud because they enjoy dirt, but because the mud helps clean the skin and combat sun exposure. This is usually not necessary with pet pigs, which is why the animals often even shun dirt. Therefore, you do not have to fear a constantly dirty animal.

It is best to find out about your obligations as a keeper from the competent veterinary office before you acquire mini-pigs.

The fact that mini-pigs are legally treated like normal pigs becomes especially problematic when epidemics occur. In the case of diseases such as swine fever or swine flu, an office can order the killing of the small pig, regardless of whether it is a domestic pig or not.

The mini pig and its herd

Pigs are herd animals. A mini pig kept alone accordingly needs a lot of affection from you as the keeper. In a way, the keepers are practically the substitute herd for the animal. The little pigs often seek closeness to their owners and love to be cuddled on the belly. It is important that you, as the keeper, clearly establish yourself as the leader of the herd. Otherwise, the little pig can develop into a real problem case.

Ideally, however, a mini pig is not kept alone, but in a group of at least two animals. The best combination is a boar and a sow. However, the boar should be castrated quickly if you do not want to house a whole herd of small pigs in the near future. It should be noted that castration is not effective until six months after the procedure. If you don’t want a surprise, keep that fact in mind.

What are the breeds of mini pigs?

All pigs are descended from wild boars – including the mini pig. In the middle of the last century, people started breeding smaller pigs for animal experiments. For this purpose, breeders used a wide variety of breeds and crosses. Apart from a small size, no breeding goals were required, which is why there are still considerable differences in the external appearance and body size of mini pigs today. This is also the reason why we should speak of breeding lines and not of breeds.

The following breeding lines are considered prototypes:

Göttingen mini pig
Wiesenau mini pig
Bodensee minipig
Bergstraßer Knirps

All the breeding lines listed have small standing ears and a straight protruding tail. However, they differ in body weight (10 – 60 kg), back height (25 – 60 cm), shape of head and body, and pigmentation of skin.

What does a mini pig eat?

The mini pig, like all pigs, is an omnivore. However, the main part of its diet comes from plants. Mini pigs have a good appetite and are always happy to be fed. If it were up to most animals, they could eat all day long. For this reason, it is all the more important that you as a keeper pay attention to a balanced diet for your pigs.

For the daily feed bowl are suitable:

Coarsely ground cereals such as wheat, oats, corn and barley mixed with water as a basic feed. Hay, vegetables, bran some fruit

Contrary to what is portrayed in much of the media, pigs are not a substitute for an organic garbage can. According to animal health regulations, it is forbidden to feed pigs with kitchen waste and food scraps. The risk of spreading animal diseases such as swine fever through this is too great.

In terms of quantity, the daily feed should not exceed two percent of the total weight of the mini-pig, if possible. At this point it should also be mentioned that the “mini” in the name is quite relative. Mini pigs can grow up to one meter long and in extreme cases can weigh up to 60 kilograms. How big the animal gets depends on the breeding line. Those who believe they can raise the smallest possible mini pig through reduced nutrition should quickly bid farewell to this idea.

Fresh water must always be available to the animals.

What is the cost of a mini pig?

The acquisition of a pet is always associated with costs. Even with mini pigs, these should not be underestimated. This starts first with the purchase price, which can be between 300 and 500 euros, depending on the species and breeder. In addition, there are the running costs. You should especially not underestimate the expenses for food. These can amount to around 50 euros per month. These costs will be incurred for several years: The life expectancy of a mini pig is up to 15 years.

With regard to the costs, the costs for the veterinarian are often underestimated. Especially with regard to mini pigs, which are considered livestock and therefore have to comply with separate regulations, the financial cost of the visit to the doctor should be taken into account. Preventive health care with vaccinations against rabies, glanders, swine fever, parvovirosis and tetanus as well as deworming should be carried out. In addition, the animals may become ill. In the case of mini pigs, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea in particular are signs that you should see a veterinarian promptly.

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