Piggy Information

The internet is a useful tool when researching the care of your new piglet and you will over time develop your own style of raising your piglet that suits your family best.  Below is information on how we raise our piglets.  Always remember to consult with a licensed vetrinarian regarding any health related questions.

This information is provided by California Teacup Pigs in Durham, CA, don't be fooled by other websites that appear to be us, yes,unfortunately in this day and age, it happens and it has, but we are the original.

Before your piggy comes home…..Set up a small area, a playpen or play yard (the exact one I use is listed below) is perfect, for your piglet.  In this area have a soft blanket to snuggle in and fresh water.  Make sure there isn’t any drafts, if your piggy is on a porch where he/she is going to be getting chilly, a  heating pad would be appreciated by your piggy, they love 90 degrees!  Plus make sure they have no drafts, a sick piggy is a sad piggy.  Piggies do not like to potty in their beds, our piglets like to use litter boxes with shavings but if you prefer to use puppy pads you will want to start with that.  I have found that they shred the pads and switched over to litter boxes. 

I use this play yard, it has stakes so if it's outside it can't be moved or rooted up. if inside it can be moved around but it's pretty heavy so small new piglets can't move it easily. For litter I use pine pellets I get at the feed store if you do not have access the ones listed below will work as well. I posted a link for a dog bed and a heating pad as well, anything similar will work.

    
    
    


What to expect the first day…..A scared piggy.  Your piglet has just left it’s herd, it’s family and everything it has become to know as normal. They are prey animals and before they can adjust to their new home and begin bonding, they need to know that they will not be hunted.    The first thing you  need to do is give your piggy it’s space.  Place it in it’s small holding area with fresh food and water and walk away. Your piggy needs time to adjust and to know that this new home is okay. Kids and other pets may be very excited, you don’t want to cause your new piglet more stress and anxiety, so a place away from all the commotion might be best the first day. If you piggy seems willing after this adjustment time, you may begin to handle him/her, the more you can handle them the quicker your bond begins.

What to expect  your second day…..Now it’s time to get to know your piggy.  Go ahead and sit next to your piggy and talk to him/her, offer your piggy small pieces of food out of your hand , your piggy may or may not take it at this point, but the fastest way to a piggy’s heart is through it’s stomach LOL.  You should note that in general piglets do not like to be picked up because of their fear of falling.  I don’t grab my piglets over the shoulders, I scoop them up in my hands, it makes them feel more secure, but expect SQUEALING when you pick up your piggy, some get over that and some don’t. Once they are older you won’t be picking  them up much, but it is a good idea to make sure they are use to being handled, makes health care easier. AND ALWAYS REMEBER, never give into a piglets squeals and put them down because of it, you will create a monster. 

What to expect your third day….Let your piggy start to roam and get use to the new home, and now you might be able to introduce a pet or two slowly.  My piggies are use to dogs and cats, they are even use to a hyper Chihuahua and generally ignore her or play with her. But a new pet may be different.  Keep offering small food morsels out of your hand, then put them in your lap until your piggy is comfortable crawling up in your lap.  Once your piggy is comfortable start to slowly (did I mention slowly) start offering scratches on the sides, belly, etc…..this is how you will bond with your piggy.

Day 4 and on….each day spend time with your piggy, building trust and bonding.  Before long, you will notice your little piggy following you everywhere you go, resting with you while watching movies and taking walks.  Remember, time with your piggy is good, too much time and catering too, will be a spoiled piggy.  So be careful not to spoil your piggy, you have the next 18 years with your new companion.

What do I feed my piggy?....  Please see our feeds and feeding page, if you do not want to custom mix your piglets food then Mazuri mini pig food is the “gold standard” of mini pig food, it contains all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients a healthy piggy needs.  When I feed Mazuri pellets, I feed according to Mazuri labels. I only use the Mazuri Elder pig formula with 12% protein, the youth and active adult feeds have too high of protein designed for rapid growth, they appear to be almost the same ingredients as the pig food used for butchering pigs. So my adult pigs get ¼-1/2   cup in the morning, ¼-1/2 at night, with veggies each night, such as lettuce leaves, carrots, even a small piece of fruit.  If you piggy is getting to big cut back, if they look too thin add a bit.  As a piglet, you can start with 2 Tablespoons morning and night, then go up to 3 Tablespoons, then then the next step will be 1/4c and then adjust according to your pigs needs.  I have stuck with this and I have never had a fat pig or an underweight pig.  The other thing I do is once a week I always pick Saturday mornings, I squeeze  an Omega 3 capsule over their food along with some vitamin E.  If you have an indoor piggy, you can give a childrens chewable vitamin with iron, if your piggy goes out and plays in the dirt, they get all the iron they need from the soil.  As treats I keep a big box of Cheerios in the car and a box of raisins.  If you use raisins, only 1 or 2 at a time.

An alternative diet that works well is, 1/4c of whole grains in morning like oatmeal or any cereal that is unsweetened, but make sure it's whole grain and in the evening 1/2 cup of fresh veggies.  1/2 cup might be too much at first you can see their little bellies poke out, if it's too tight, it's too much you will want to cut back. You will need to insure their diet has at least 12% protein, so you can add mini pig chow or yogurt, some source of protein, pigs do not produce protein on their own. 

Or you can keep their diet varied and alternate the two diets listed above, that's what we do.  During nut harvest they can get almonds on some mornings instead of their piggy chow or whole grains.

        Never feed piggies the following....
        Chocolate
        Avacado's    
        Salty Treats(salted popcorn, etc)
        Dog/Cat Food
        All treats in moderation.


When you first are bonding with your piggy, it's okay to feed treats, think small pieces of cheese (pigs love cheese), one raisin at a time, some shredded carrots,etc....the fastest way to a piggies heart is through it's stomach, but after bonding time is over cut back on the treats.  An obese piggy has diabetes, arthritis, heart problems and short life span, with love and proper care these guys can live up to 18 years.

Potty training your piggy….When you start to potty train, you need to take your piggy outside or the potty area every two hours.  When they do their business, use lots and lots of positive reinforcement and treats.  Never harshly scold or spank your pig.  When they have an accident, immediately take them to the appropriate area.  Just like training a puppy but much quicker.  If you are teaching them to go outdoors, they usually train in a day or two and before you know it they go to the door to ask to use the bathroom, they prefer to go outside.  Indoors generally takes about 3-4 days in my experience.  Some people use puppy pads, we use to but many of my babies like to shred the pads, so we switched to a litter box with shavings, we put some poo in there and they start using it immediately, they are super smart!

Your piggy’s health care…..If you chose to vaccinate, most feed stores carry the vaccinations.  They also carry many wormers, you can choses to inject a wormer like Ivomectrin or put the wormer in their water, it’s really a personal preference. If you piggy plays outside on concrete you may never need to trim his feet, if you do trim them start small and never trim between the toes. For ears, I NEVER insert q-tips into the ear canal, when I bathe my piggies I just put a wash cloth over the tip of my finger and clean out the inside, but no further.    If cared for property, fed property and given a warm place to sleep you will have a very healthy piggy that rarely needs to see a vet.  I noticed that sometimes my pigs get allergies in the spring and their eyes get goopy, you can get eye ointment at a feed store for a few dollars, almost any of them work.  Minor scratches and scrapes heal quickly on their own, if you have a deeper cut you can use a triple antibiotic ointment.  As you can see, handling your pig will come in handy during health care time.  Keep this in mind when socializing them.  Handle their feed, touch their eyes, feel their ears, etc….make sure that when you need to handle them it’s not new.

Regular care….

Dry skin….we like to use Aveeno, fragrance free lotion as needed.  They love their lotion time, it usually puts them to sleep.

Bathing…some breeders bath alot! I don’t only if/when needed.  Pigs tend to have dry skin, bathing dries them out even more. They don’t get smelly, unless you have a male that is unaltered.  Our bathing regime is "as needed" you will have to be the judge, but remember that drying out the skin is not a good thing.

Brushing…you can start this when they are young, it does stimulate the natural oils in the pigs skin and they enjoy it, as well as you will too!

Most of your daily care  will be in the bonding and cuddling with your pig.  An emotionally happy pig is a healthy pig.

Outdoor time….Pigs need outdoor time. They love to explore, smell things and root.  Yes, root.  If you have a gorgeous flower garden you might want to keep your piggy out of it, or stay with your pig at all times, they love to turn over rocks, they are so nosey!  They need a minimum of 30 minutes a day. On weekends mine get extra time out, they get to go play on the 5 acres all day as long as I am home. 

Leash training your pig….I should say harness train, a leash and collar won’t work for these guys.  A harness made for a pig is a must, they are all over the internet.  Once your pig trusts you and lets you handle him/her you can start to harness train.  Here are some simple steps to follow:

  1. Show your pig the harness, let them see it and rub it on them, let them know its nothing to be feared, done with day 1.
  2. On day 2, show them the harness and let them know  you are going to put it on them. Go ahead and snap it on them and know that they are going to freak out a big.  Let them, let them run with it for a few minutes. This will teach them that it will allow them to move freely.
  3. On day 3, repeat Day 2.  You are going to do this until they start to accept the harness, but no more than about 5 minutes each day. Leave the leash attached, they need to know what it feels like.
  4. When your pig has accepted the harness, it’s time to walk them.  Gently guide them, when they go in the right direction reward them, use your words, they are smart and learn quick. 
  5. Never leave your pig tied up with a harness and never leave the harness on your pig.  Take it off and reward your pig for a job well done, they will look forward to your walks and know that when you get the harness out, it’s piggy and parent time!

What’s next? This is up to you.  Will it be tricks? Sleeping in your bed? Free range of the house? It’s your new pig and family member, you will be able to teach your pig whatever you want. They look to you as their family and they aim to please.

Although this is a broad guide, I hope it answers some questions for you and gives you some guidance.  I found that on the internet there are many sources, some great, some are too vague to help, but over time you will develop your own methods.  Each pig is an individual like you and I. Some methods will work perfectly, some will need to be customized. Patience is the key to a happy piggy and a happy piggy home.

I love to stay in contact with my customers, some have become my closest friends.  I enjoy seeing pictures and hearing the stories.  I also like to provide you with support when  needed. Many clients come up with new methods that I adopt.  The more we share and communicate, the better off our pigs are.

Piglet sizes.... 
Yes their is alot of controversy over teacup piglets. You have to do your research and be the ultimate judge.  We invite people to see the parents and adults on site to decide for themselves if they can live with a 35 pound pig.  Many people buy POT BELLY PIG PIGLETS  our piglets are not the typical pot belly pigs, our pigs are a cross of Vietnamese Pot Bellies and Juliana pigs, some of the original smallest breeds imported into the US.  Vietnamese and Juliana pigs were originally 70-120 pound pigs (by the way a 50 pound pig is tiny, infact any pig under 200 pounds is considered miniature), over the last 30-40 years they have been selectively bred smaller and smaller to acheive small breeds. In fact, they are still being bred smaller and smaller.  I tell my buyers that our pigs come from small parents and if fed and cared for properly they will be small pigs. However, if you overfeed your pig or the kids sneak it too may snacks, you are going to get a FAT pig period. These guys have small frames are meant to remain small, but 50-70 pounds of fat will add 5" of fat along the animals spine, no longer making it a 12 inch pig but a 17" pig. We constantly monitor the fat on our pigs, too much fat under the chin, too pig of a belly or fat over the eyes means they get their meals cut back. I usually increase quantities of meals during the winter when it's cooler.

Remember, do your research, look at the good, the bad and the ugly before you make your deposit and purchase your piglet. You are always invited to ask me questions, seek the advice of a vet and visit our parent piggies.  But once you purchase your piglet and it leaves our premise it's care is in your hands and beyond my control, so please choose wisely. 

On a side note, many breeders claim to have 10 pound piglets, I have not yet seen a 10 pound adult piglet , however I have had many of their clients contact me because their 10 pound piglet is now 30 pounds at 6 months old and their seller will not return any of their emails or calls. I have spoke with my vet and YES you can starve a  pig to make it stay tiny, but you also decrease their life span.  I'm not saying these pigs don't exist, if they do I hope to have a breeding set someday, but I would only purchase after seeing the parents in person. I would always, always, ALWAYS....ask to see the parents in person.  There are many many reputable breeders and if you find one that is NOT willing to let you see the parents and interact with them, find one that will.

Also if a breeder is telling you to feed a food designed for another animal breed, please question it and again ask to see the parents.  Pig food is designed for pigs with the proper amount of protein, vitamins and minerals. 

If you ever find that you can no longer keep your piglet or it has to be taken to the human society of shelter, please do not....it can be returned here. I do not refund money, but will rehome it, very few pigs in shelters go to new homes, they are euthanized.  IF I do rehome it for a fee, I will split the fee with you, the rest of the fee will go to help pay for vet costs to ensure it's healthy before being placed with my pigs, food, advertising, travel expenses, etc.....




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