Education

We suggest that you read all the information in this section so that you become well educated about piggies and piglet purchases!

All pets, including pigs, no matter what size, require daily exercise, attention, obedience training, socialization, and a proper diet. Owning a pig is a long commitment, as pigs often live 12 to 15 years, or even longer. Pigs are very intelligent, and as a rule, the owners must be smarter than their pig! If not, you will raise an unmanageable pig, and whether 40lb or 80lb, a badly mannered, misbehaving pet of any kind will make one’s life miserable.


Here’s sweet little Marvel, having a cuddle with friends!


Why we require a non-refundable down payment:

We are very serious about making sure that you and your piggy have a wonderful life together. We don’t want to sell a piglet to someone who hasn’t given it much thought and may abandon that piggy later. We will allow a breeding when we have at least three people on our waiting list. Once the sow has been bred, that litter of piggies will be born even if someone changes their mind. Those piglets will need to be vet checked, spayed or neutered. The $500 deposit helps to cover the cost of the veterinary services and raising of the piglets until they are at least 8 weeks of age.

The only time we would refund a deposit would be if there were circumstances under which we could not provide you with the birth of a piglet within eight months of your deposit. In that case, your money would be fully refunded.


Is Your Piggy a Healthy Weight?

We are quite strict about feeding, so all of our piggies are a healthy weight.  You’ll see that even our “big” boar, Oliver, is trim and healthy.  He has a large head and neck (normal for a pig), but viewed from above, his hips are quite narrow.  He has a round piggy belly, but it’s not hitting the ground so he can still run and jump. By the way, Oliver is about four years old in this picture.  You’ll notice that he has impressive boar tusks (which he never uses on anyone).

Please read for further instructions on determining your pet pig’s healthy weight by checking its spine!

To keep your pet pig at a healthy weight throughout its lifetime, just follow these instructions:

  • Feed your piglet their proper food, and feed the amounts specified according to their weight.
  • Ensure that fresh water is always available.
  • Limit treats to very small amounts of fresh veggies or fruit.
  • Exercise your piggy everyday. Get them moving, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. They enjoy following you around, so encourage that.

Following is a really good guide to determining whether a piggy is being underfed or overfed. Remember that if you seriously overfeed your piggy, the accumulation of fat on its back will make it appear that it has grown further.  If a roll of fat starts to cover the pig’s eyes and obscure the pig’s eyesight, then you have an obese piggy on your hands who needs to be put on a healthy diet.


Piggy Spines & Weight

At some point, most pet piggy owners are going to wonder whether they’re feeding their pet too much or too little.

It’s hard to find good information on that.  (Don’t worry – we’re going to give you a simple solution.)  If you google how much to feed pigs, you’re going to come up with all sorts of ways to get your commercial piglets up to over 200 lbs in only six months.  That’s not helpful.

It is hard to believe that full-sized pigs grow that fast when the piglets start out at about the same size as mini pigs.  When those pigs are sent to slaughter at over 200 lbs., they’re not even full grown.  If they were allowed to grow to their full potential, they could reach 600 to 800 lbs. Maybe more.  That’s exactly why a 150 lb. potbelly pig could be considered mini – because in comparison to their larger cousins, they’re very small.

It’s hard to find good information on that.  (Don’t worry – we’re going to give you a simple solution.)  If you google how much to feed pigs, you’re going to come up with all sorts of ways to get your commercial piglets up to over 200 lbs in only six months.  That’s not helpful.

It is hard to believe that full-sized pigs grow that fast when the piglets start out at about the same size as mini pigs.  When those pigs are sent to slaughter at over 200 lbs., they’re not even full grown.  If they were allowed to grow to their full potential, they could reach 600 to 800 lbs. Maybe more.  That’s exactly why a 150 lb. potbelly pig could be considered mini – because in comparison to their larger cousins, they’re very small.

From the information in the paragraph above, it’s clear that pigs have the potential to gain a lot of weight quite quickly if you let them.  That’s why you want to slow the weight gain of your piggy so that the pig’s weight is appropriate for its skeletal frame.  This is another reason why good feeding guidelines are so hard to find for pet pigs; the pigs can come in a variety of sizes. Therefore it’s really not a good idea to say that a piggy should weigh a certain weight at a certain age.

Even if someone suggests that you feed them an “appropriate amount, that’s still not helpful!  What exactly is appropriate?

You can’t go by a pig’s waistline because piggies are shaped very differently from runway models.  This is particularly so if a piggy has any potbelly pig genetics coming through.   If we saw a horse with a swayed back and a really round belly, we would say that we would need to cut down on the horse’s food rations and do some serious exercising to build up its back muscles again.  But a pig is not a horse, and that round-bellied, sway-back shape is natural to many pigs.

So, now we’re going to make it all a little easier for you.  Here’s what you can do.

You can observe your piggy’s spine.  The spine is a very good indicator of whether or not your piggy is at a healthy weight.

If you can look at your piggy’s back and see every vertebrae in the spine clearly (at which point the ribs are probably starting to show), then your piggy is underweight and you need to increase its rations.  At this point, if you were to observe the spine from in front or behind, it would be shaped like an inverted letter “V” and be very noticeable.

If, on the other hand, not only can you not see your piggy’s spine, but you can’t even feel it at all when you examine his or her back with your hands, then you’ve definitely got an overweight piggy. At this point your pig’s belly may be very close to the ground, and it may even have rolls of fat on the top of its head and hanging down towards its eyes. You will not be able to feel the ribs at all on an overweight piggy.  At this point, your pig will probably not have a great deal of energy and enthusiasm for moving around. Very obese pigs may even have their vision obscured by fat rolls pressing down over their eyes. All that fat on the pig’s back will also give you the impression that your pig has grown taller than it actually has.

The ideal weight for a piggy is when you can easily find the spine, but it’s not too prominent.  At an ideal weight, the piggy belly is not too large to impede its movement, and your piggy will have lots of energy and enjoy moving around.

 You’ll want to check your little pet pig on a regular basis.  We would suggest weekly in the first year of life while they’re doing the most growing.  After that, checking monthly should be enough.  Besides, if you check your pig weekly in the first year, then you’ll be very comfortable at recognizing easily when the piggy is gaining too quickly or too slowly, or just right.

In terms of what to feed your pet pig, of course we use our own pig food.  It’s designed to be fed at a rate of one-half cup per day for each 15 lbs. of body weight,  divided into two meals.  Of course, that’s the guideline to start with.  Most piggies will probably do very well on that, but adjust the amount up or down according to your regular observance of your piggy’s spine. By the time our pigs get to one year of age, they’re being fed one cup of food for breakfast and one for dinner.

Most of our pigs are usually together, and they won’t stay away from each other’s food, so sometimes it’s a challenge to contain the amount each one gets. However, the boars have to be kept separated from the others, so we know how much food they’re getting. The two cups of our food per day, plus the occasional bits of vegetable snacks, keeps them at a very healthy weight.

If your pig is getting a lot of outdoor time to root around and eat grass, etc., then you’ll probably want to cut down a little on the food rations.  Believe it or not, pigs can gain weight from too much grass eating, especially in the spring.   But once again, just keep an eye (and a hand!) on the spine and you’ll know if adjustments are needed or not.

As for treats, if you’ve got any concerns about your pet’s weight, then limit its treats to green veggies such as giving him or her a leaf or two of lettuce.


Finding a Good Breeder

How do you find a good breeder of  pet pigs?

As you probably expect, there are good breeders who work hard and do everything they can to ensure you end up with a healthy, well-bred, wonderful pet. There are others who are, shall we say, less than ethical.

Your job, as a potential purchaser of a pet pig, is to try to figure out who’s who.

Taking on a piggy, as with any pet who will live many years, is a huge commitment. It is well worth your time to do your research beforehand so that you get the type of companion animal that you’re looking for.

Please, please do your research! After your spend time looking through a number of websites, you’ll start to get a feel for which ones are the breeders you may want to deal with, and which are the ones you want to stay far away from.

Here are some questions and ideas to consider:

Does the breeder have up-to-date pictures of the breeding stock? All piggies start out tiny (and cute!). You want to see what the adult parents look like!

Where is the breeding facility? Are you allowed to or encouraged to visit? If not, you really have to wonder why.

How long have they been breeding? How old are the parent piggies? We took over an existing flock, so our eldest pigs are now five years old.  All of our breeding sows and boars are premium breeding stock.

What ages are the current breeding stock? The sows are physically ready to start breeding around five months of age, and the boars are ready even earlier. We feel that a piggy that young is way too immature to become good parent piggies. At five or six months, a piglet still has quite a bit of growing and maturing to do. We will not breed any pigs before they reach at least one year of age, and we will only breed each sow once in a twelve-month period. Giving the mama pigs a rest in between litters keep them healthy and strong, and will produce healthier piglets.

If you can’t get to the breeding facility to see the breeding stock for yourself, then ask if the breeder can send you a recent picture of the sow and boar who are going to be bred (if there aren’t already very recent pictures on their website). An ethical breeder should be very proud to show you the current size of their breeding stock.

Piglets will grow to approximately the size of the parents.  If you aren’t comfortable with the size of the parents, you won’t like the size that you piglet will eventually grow to.

If you’re looking at a breeder’s website and they use terms like “micro-mini” or “teacup” pigs, but they don’t provide actual size information, then you need to ask them directly what they mean by whichever term they are using

Does the price include the spay/neuter? Pet pigs NEED to be altered or they do not make pleasant pets. If a breeder does not go the expense of making sure that all piglets are neutered or spayed, that should throw up a red flag. Yes, it expensive surgery, but you don’t want an intact piggy making a mess of your house. Females go into heat about every three weeks, and the intact males always want to demonstrate that they know what their job is.  Another thing to consider is that the cost of spaying or neutering an older, larger piggy can be higher. You may “save money” by buying a less expensive piglet, but you may end up paying out a lot more when you end up having to arrange the spaying or neutering yourself.

How are the breeding pigs housed? Do these piggies get to play outside? Or are they caged in a pen all the time? Our pigs are out in their own little barn and have access to outdoor pens in good weather. Piggies really don’t like to be outside in very cold weather. We open the door for them, but they say, “No thanks!”

How well socialized are the breeding stock? You will want to know if the parents of the piglets are well socialized, well-behaved, well-mannered adults who are used to being handled. This will help to determine if the piglets will be well-behaved, well-mannered pigs. Our Little Piggy is located on the Heal with Horses farm. Besides the daily time scheduled for care and interaction with the piggies, there are almost always volunteers and visitors around who stop to visit with the piggies because they’re just soooo cute. Suzanne’s children usually feed the pigs and visit with them, and often bring their friends, too.

Does the breeder have a website? In this day and age, it would be very unusual for a serious breeder not to have a website. Being a serious breeder requires the investment of a lot of time and effort, not to mention a large financial investment. A website is a natural part of that investment.

Does the breeder’s website answer your questions? We believe that by the time you’ve studied a website, you should feel like you’re pretty well educated about the breeder’s program.

Why shouldn’t I just buy a piglet at a flea market or pet show? Reputable breeders want you to be well-educated about piggy ownership before you sign on the dotted line. It’s not a decision to rush into if you want a wonderful outcome. There are lots of stories on the internet about people buying a “micro-mini” pig that grows much, much larger than they were expecting. There are reasons why humane societies always require you to apply to adopt an animal at least 24 hours before you pick it up. It’s way too easy to fall in love with a cutie and want to take it home without giving it serious thought. We want ALL of our clients to make an educated decision about purchasing a piglet.

Is your breeder available to answer your future questions?  We wish that we could help everyone who has questions, but that’s just not realistic. For our Our Little Piggy clients who have purchased their little pet from us, we offer online support whenever they need it.

For people who have purchased their pet pigs elsewhere, we invite you to use our site to educate yourself as much as possible. We have sections on feeding, skin care, hoof trimming, and other basic care. Hopefully you will find some of the answers to your questions there. We also encourage you to educate yourself from other sources. The more education you have on the subject, the better the piggy parent you will be.

Thank you for reading this page. We hope that we’ve helped you to recognize the good breeders.


Veterinary Care

Just as pet pigs are still fairly rare in Canada, so are the Veterinarians who will care for them. It is important for you to find a veterinarian that you will be able to take your piggy to for annual check-ups and if emergency care is needed.

Not all veterinarians are willing to or trained to treat small pet pigs. You will need to find someone who is a swine specialist. Call around to vets in your area and ask if they care for and treat mini pet pigs, and if they have any experience treating and caring for these pets. You will have the most success contacting rural vets that have both a Large Animal and Small Animal Clinic. Places such as Toronto, where mini pet pigs are currently banned by by-laws, do not have swine specialists in the city, as people in the city aren’t permitted own pet pigs.

We have the names of several veterinarians in Ontario whom we know can and do care for pet pigs. (Under Ontario Veterinary College rules, we are not permitted to publish the list.) Our list is by no means complete. We would be happy to add any additional veterinarians to the list if they would like to contact us.

Contact us if you would like us to email you a copy of this list.


Myths Debunked

There is a lot of information available out there on the world wide web – and a lot of misinformation as well.

If you read or hear something that goes against all the other information we have available on this website, you can check with information from other reputable breeders, ask the question on the All Experts web site, or best of all if it’s something that really concerns you, check with a veterinary swine specialist.

Here are some of the fascinating myths that we’ve found out there, both to educate and to entertain you:

Myth #1:  A mini pig’s organs continue to grow while their skeleton fuses and stops growing, leaving the pig in pain, and eventual death.

Truth #1: Really? We can’t imagine anyone who has done the sort of background research we suggest who could give that myth a second thought. You really have to wonder where some of these come from!

Myth #2: A mini pet pig is a runt or a mutant.

Truth #2: A mini pig is not a runt/dwarf/mutant. They are proportioned at a smaller scale than a full-size pig. If a pet pig is 10% of the physical size of a commercial pig, then the pet’s organs are therefore 10% the size of its larger counterpart.

We do NOT breed runts or otherwise less-than-perfect, healthy small pet pigs. Our sows (females) must be at least one year of age before we decide if they will join our breeding program. A sow will be only be bred if she shows exceptional temperament and behaviour, has great body conformation, and is in great health. Healthy parent piggies produce healthy piglets.

Myth #3: Mini pigs do NOT exist. It is just a full-size pig that scammers are selling.

Truth #3: There certainly are some scammers out there selling full-sized pigs as micro-mini pigs. However, small pigs, while still rare, do exist! We are not the only ones who have small pig adults.  You can track the growth records of our breeding herd on the Meet the Herd page.

Myth #4: Mini pigs don’t reach full size until 5 years of age, by which point they’ll be over 100 lbs.

Truth #4: A number of people seem to believe this. In fact, we checked this out with our veterinarian, who is a swine specialist.  It turns out that their growth rate is more similar to medium to large dogs.  A pig will do most of it’s growing, especially in terms of height, by one year of age.  (The vet said about 90% of adult growth). Like a dog, they will continue to mature and fill out a bit more for another 6 to 12 months.  Any weight beyond that likely due to over feeding! When a pig puts on fat, it puts it on around it’s entire torso and even on its head.  The excess fat on a pig’s back can make it appear to be getting “taller”, but it’s just fat.  Read our page on using the pig’s spine to determine if it is a healthy weight.


Care

Feeding Your Little Pet Pig

While we can guarantee you will receive a healthy piglet from us, we cannot guarantee the full-grown weight of the pig, as we have no control over what (and how much) you feed your pet pig and how you care for it. If you follow our feeding guidelines and make sure your piggy gets some daily exercise, then your piglet will grow to a size similar to its healthy adult parents.

  • If you feed your pet pig correctly, it will grow at a proper rate – which is slow. Remember that a commercial pig reaches over 200 lbs. by six months. Our piglets are usually about 20 to 30 lbs. around that age.
  • Our little pet pigs are bred to be indoor pets, so their needs are different than a standard potbelly pig.
  • We recommend feeding your mini pig Hogs & Kisses Mini Pet Pig Food, which is available exclusively through our online store. Hogs & Kisses Mini Pet Pig Food was specially designed by an animal nutritionist to provide all the nutrients mini pigs may lack from being indoors, as they don’t eat grass or root for food on a regular basis.
  • Store food in an air tight container, in a cool, dry place.
  • Pigs need LOTS of water to help digest their food. One option that we often use is to add water directly to the food dish when we feed them, especially if your piggy is not much of a water drinker.
  • Please note that too much grazing is not healthy for your little pig, especially in the spring, when protein levels in the grass are too high for your little piggy.

A curious little pair, Hamilton and Marvel, watch while Suzanne trims down a little pool so that they can get into the water more easily.

Socialization & Behaviour

  • Pigs need at least six weeks with their mother and other litter mates, not only for nutritional needs, but also to learn manners and discipline
  • Just as with other animals, pigs get destructive when bored. Your mini pig can play with “dog toys” designed for the same age/size.
  • Pigs naturally root and dig up grass; this is an instinctive behaviour. If you have a yard, designate a spot in your yard for your pigs to root around in by scattering treats in that area. This will teach your piglet to dig in this spot only
  • Pigs by nature will only soil in one area of their pen. This makes it quite easy to litter train or house break your pet pig. **Please note: we caution AGAINST using clumping cat litter for your pig. Pigs have been known to ingest the “clumps” and become very sick. Instead, try using pressed wood fuel pellets for litter.**
  • Pigs don’t sweat, so you must be cautious in hot weather, and keep your mini pig in a cool area, with access to lots of water and SHADE. Here’s Wynn enjoying a bit of dappled shade in the piggy yard. 
  • Create an environment of intentional parenting to your pig. Pigs learn quickly, and it is better to teach them habits you’ll want them to have all their lives. That’s easier than trying to train them out of bad habits.
  • We spend time daily with our piglets from the day they are born, until they go to their new forever home.

Teeth

  • Most potbelly pigs have an under bite and crooked bottom teeth.
  • By age five, a pig should have all its adult teeth.
  • Mini pet pigs do have tusks, however size will vary from pig to pig
  • Pigs foam at the mouth when cutting teeth – this is very common in pigs. Pigs also foam at the mouth when very excited – like at meal time!
  • Pigs lose their teeth several times a year
  • Pigs grind their teeth when cutting new teeth

Harness Training

  • Pigs don’t like having things put over their heads, so find a harness that can be slipped under the piglet and buckled on their back.
  • Baby pigs instinctively hate being held or restrained, as this is what a predator would do before eating its prey. The piglet’s instincts are telling the piglet that being held is a BAD thing; this is why we make sure to spend lots of time socializing our piglets, as this leads to a smoother transition when it’s time to take your piglet home.
  • If your pig is not yet harness trained, then spend a day or two getting your piglet used to the harness; hold it next to him, let him see it, smell it, rub it on his body, let him smell it some more. After a few days of this, place a few small treats on the ground, slip the harness under him, and buckle the harness, all the while offering positive reassurance in a calm, soothing voice. Repeat the routine above for a few days, distracting your piglet with treats.
  • It is easier to train a piglet new behaviours, than to try to change an older pig’s bad behaviours, so Our Little Piggy recommends harness training your piglet shortly after you get your piglet home.

Skin Care

  • Pigs have a tendency to get dry skin, so don’t bathe your pig more than necessary.
  • Brush your pig every day, just as you would a dog (this encourages bonding) 
  • When necessary, supplement your mini pig feed with a drizzle of flax oil on its food daily, and continue brushing as the dry skin improves.

Veterinary Care

  • All of our pet piglets will have already had their veterinary check-ups with our Swine Specialist, and will only be released if given a clean bill of health.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about vaccinations for your piggy friend. You may need to de-worm him/her from time to time. Our vet prefers to test for parasites before de-worming.
  • Your pet pig’s hooves may need to be trimmed from time to time, though this is something you can do at home with a pair of hoof trimmers. We also have a step-by-step Hoof Trimming Lesson page, created by Jaime Neeb, which will walk you through how to successfully trim your pet’s feet.
  • We suggest taking piggy to the veterinarian at least once a year. Your vet will have great advice about the amount you are feeding your pig (too much, not enough, or just right), hooves that need to be trimmed, and whether piggy is getting enough exercise.

Our Little Piggy Pet Pig Food is available to purchase here on our website. Simply visit our Pet Pig Food page to learn about all the great ingredients we have packed into this mini pet pig food and then go to our online shop, The Market, to purchase food for your little piggy.


A curious little pair, Hamilton and Marvel, watch while Suzanne trims down a little pool so that they can get into the water more easily.


Socialization & Behaviour

  • Pigs need at least six weeks with their mother and other litter mates, not only for nutritional needs, but also to learn manners and discipline
  • Just as with other animals, pigs get destructive when bored. Your mini pig can play with “dog toys” designed for the same age/size.
  • Pigs naturally root and dig up grass; this is an instinctive behaviour. If you have a yard, designate a spot in your yard for your pigs to root around in by scattering treats in that area. This will teach your piglet to dig in this spot only
  • Pigs by nature will only soil in one area of their pen. This makes it quite easy to litter train or house break your pet pig. **Please note: we caution AGAINST using clumping cat litter for your pig. Pigs have been known to ingest the “clumps” and become very sick. Instead, try using pressed wood fuel pellets for litter.**
  • Pigs don’t sweat, so you must be cautious in hot weather, and keep your mini pig in a cool area, with access to lots of water and SHADE. Here’s Wynn enjoying a bit of dappled shade in the piggy yard. 
  • Create an environment of intentional parenting to your pig. Pigs learn quickly, and it is better to teach them habits you’ll want them to have all their lives. That’s easier than trying to train them out of bad habits.
  • We spend time daily with our piglets from the day they are born, until they go to their new forever home.


Teeth

  • Most potbelly pigs have an under bite and crooked bottom teeth.
  • By age five, a pig should have all its adult teeth.
  • Mini pet pigs do have tusks, however size will vary from pig to pig
  • Pigs foam at the mouth when cutting teeth – this is very common in pigs. Pigs also foam at the mouth when very excited – like at meal time!
  • Pigs lose their teeth several times a year
  • Pigs grind their teeth when cutting new teeth


Harness Training

  • Pigs don’t like having things put over their heads, so find a harness that can be slipped under the piglet and buckled on their back.
  • Baby pigs instinctively hate being held or restrained, as this is what a predator would do before eating its prey. The piglet’s instincts are telling the piglet that being held is a BAD thing; this is why we make sure to spend lots of time socializing our piglets, as this leads to a smoother transition when it’s time to take your piglet home.
  • If your pig is not yet harness trained, then spend a day or two getting your piglet used to the harness; hold it next to him, let him see it, smell it, rub it on his body, let him smell it some more. After a few days of this, place a few small treats on the ground, slip the harness under him, and buckle the harness, all the while offering positive reassurance in a calm, soothing voice. Repeat the routine above for a few days, distracting your piglet with treats.
  • It is easier to train a piglet new behaviours, than to try to change an older pig’s bad behaviours, so Our Little Piggy recommends harness training your piglet shortly after you get your piglet home.


Skin Care

  • Pigs have a tendency to get dry skin, so don’t bathe your pig more than necessary.
  • Brush your pig every day, just as you would a dog (this encourages bonding) 
  • When necessary, supplement your mini pig feed with a drizzle of flax oil on its food daily, and continue brushing as the dry skin improves.
A Little Brushing Makes for a Happy PIggy


Veterinary Care

  • All of our pet piglets will have already had their veterinary check-ups with our Swine Specialist, and will only be released if given a clean bill of health.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about vaccinations for your piggy friend. You may need to de-worm him/her from time to time. Our vet prefers to test for parasites before de-worming.
  • Your pet pig’s hooves may need to be trimmed from time to time, though this is something you can do at home with a pair of hoof trimmers. We also have a step-by-step Hoof Trimming Lesson page, created by Jaime Neeb, which will walk you through how to successfully trim your pet’s feet.
  • We suggest taking piggy to the veterinarian at least once a year. Your vet will have great advice about the amount you are feeding your pig (too much, not enough, or just right), hooves that need to be trimmed, and whether piggy is getting enough exercise.

Our Little Piggy Pet Pig Food is available to purchase here on our website. Simply visit our Pet Pig Food page to learn about all the great ingredients we have packed into this mini pet pig food and then go to our online shop, The Market, to purchase food for your little piggy.

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