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8 Do’s and Don’ts of a Life With a Baby Mini Pig

I wrote this post just weeks after we picked up our first ever 10-week old pot-bellied pig. This is my experience going through it. I’ve come along way. If you want to see my recent articles on our pigs who are now 2 years old go here.

The day after Thanksgiving 2016 we drove out just my husband and me about 45 minutes away to pick up our first mini pig. The emotions were excited and a little bit scared. There was no going back now. Did I really know what I was doing? I raised two pigs for market in my whole 32- years of living.

I have always wanted a mini pig and now that we have a country house it seems the options are endless. My husband was scrolling through craigslist and saw mini pigs for $100.

One reason I didn’t push a mini pig was that everywhere I saw was close to $1,000. I can’t spend that much money on a pet.

So we pursued it.

Check out our Mini Pig Halloween costume roundup here

On that drive,  we were excited and a little bit scared. There was no going back now. Did I really know what I was doing?

Surely I wouldn’t really know what I was doing with a mini pig- would I?

Could it be any better living in today’s world of technology? None of my friends have raised mini pigs in their home. So I couldn’t ask them. Go to the library and get a book from 5 years ago- who does that anymore?! ( okay I still do go the library for gardening books and others but not as much)

Where do we go when we don’t know how to do something? Google.

I taught myself to start a blog by Googling a LOT of it. My husband did all home repairs and more thanks to Youtube.

So, of course, I would Google about mini pigs.

But what did I learn that Google failed to share with me?

This. All of This.

Read below 🙂

Related: How to Build a Mini Pig Pen From Pallets

Mini Pig

Don’t Expect A Mini Pig to Act Like a Puppy

Mini Pigs are a cat and dog combined in our opinion. Take the characteristics of a begging dog that follows you everywhere you go and the characteristics of a cat that comes to you when it wants attention, and boom you have a mini pig.

It was an adjustment to get used to the fact that for the first few weeks our pig Bently didn’t want to just come by us. He didn’t want to be picked up at all. Google did tell me that one. He did climb up in our laps on the second day here, but it was on his time. Never when we called.

I have to say after having him for over a month now he follows me around just like our German Shepard Lab dog Jake. I like it. He likes it. It’s better now.  Remember that mini pigs have no desire to please you as a dog does.

They will sell their souls for food. I am happy to report that in the time he has been home with me. He tends to recognize the word, No and after a couple yells of “No Bently” when he is in the cupboard he comes squealing over to us.

Check out the food we feed our mini pigs and the food that didn’t work for us HERE.

Related: Frugal Ways to Keep Your Pig Entertained in the Winter

Mini Pig

Do Expect a Mini Pig to Root

From my Google searching, I was under the impression that mini pigs needed a rooting box. So my super handy husband started making a pen for him indoors until we realized we would just put him in our closet.

Ok, it’s a very weird long closet between the bathroom and our bedroom. It works. Our farmhouse was built in the 1850s so it has some quirks.

So we turned the bottom into a rooting box. I threw hay from the barn in there. Yes, they love munching on hay. I would throw treats in there ( only veggies in the beginning) for him to root around. The bottom was made out of plywood.

Then he started pooping and peeing in there. This was not good. I couldn’t have my porch where everyone enters our home literally smelling like a barn.

If you really do not want a pet pig that roots- look into the Kune Kune breeds. We are SUPER excited to bring this breed of pig to our farm in 2020!

The rooting box was out.

We realized he roots around the house by sniffing around. We throw towels in his room and hide treats in there. He has quickly realized the kitchen is where I prep amazing smelling food. We hang in there a lot.

So I will hide treats around the kitchen.

They have a lot of energy like a puppy. And when they want out- they squeal and scrape at the door so loud you are forced to listen.

They are stubborn like that.

I did pick up my favorite toy for him that keeps him occupied right now when it is 9 degrees here in New York. Bently loves it and many times I will feed half his pellet food to him in it.

This will become less as the weather warms up and Bently is able to root around outside, naturally.

More Mini Pig Stuff:

Do Pick Your Mini Pig Up

I think it is important to get your pig used to you picking it up. We have done this with all the animals we own and as time goes on and they trust you more it gets easier. Know that a pig will squeal to its highest decibel when you pick it up. Bently is just like a child, he tests to see what will work.

Now there are times I go to pick him up after he has done something he shouldn’t and he lets out a pathetic squeal. Other times when I pick him just because I want to cuddle and he doesn’t he lets out his ear-piercing squeal that he knows causes me to put him down immediately.

It’s important to pick them up and have them know they can trust you. Pigs are prey animals so it is their instinct to squeal when being picked up since they are only off the ground in the wild when they are in danger.

It is important to pick up your mini pig the right way. Watch and learn how here.

Mini Pig

 

Don’t Expect Your Pig to Like The Cold

I have found that younger pigs aren’t too fond of the cold. Once they get older it’s not their favorite but they can handle it just fine.

Our pig does not like cold weather. Our heat is set at 66 degrees and he loves hanging over the heating vents. He also loves leaning against the dryer when it is running and the oven.

We tried to get him to go outside when it was 45 degrees here in January by leading a trail of treats out the door and he wanted no part in it.

If your pig is driving you crazy in the winter here are my best ideas to try and keep them entertained. 

The pig passed up FOOD!

Don’t expect to take your mini pig outside if it’s cold. He is perfectly happy inside at the moment. No reason to pressure, scare and have them shivering.

The person we bought Bently from said to give a half Flintstones Kids Multivitamin with Iron daily. After doing a little research  I have decided to give him this twice a week. I choose to give him more iron-rich foods. Once your pig reaches maturity they do not need supplemental iron. 

After talking with a local vet they too said to remember that pigs digestive system are very similar to humans. If you wouldn’t give your kids something, don’t give it to your little piggy!

*Update: I now have three pigs who are two years old and almost one and they live outside full time now. You can read the story and how to transition your pig here.

Do Train Your Pig to Learn Sit & Come

Bentley picked up things within days. It is true by just watching him how smart he is. It took about a week for him to learn to sit all the way down, but with persistence he got it. It is so important to train your pig to sit because you want him to know he has to work for food. You do not want your pig to get spoiled pig syndrome, this can be very dangerous to the whole family.

It is important to have each family member ask your pig to sit as well. This goes along with avoiding spoil pig syndrome and others have reported they would charge any family member that wasn’t the “leader”. I certainly want to be known as the leader but having small kids I do not want them to be charged at.

So each family member works with Bently on a daily basis.

“Come” is such an important one. In the beginning, when I tried to take Bently out on a harness and pull back on the leash it was an utter disaster.

Now two months later we have practiced on the leash in the house and he is much more open to the slight pull back on the leash when I tell him to “Come”.

You can watch a video below on how I take Bently for a walk with a leash.

Mini Pig

Don’t Let Your Kids Feed A Pig From Their Hands

I started off letting the girls give Bently a treat after sitting with their hands. Although they were hesitant. After speaking with a vet she recommended to not do that because a pig’s eyesight is very poor.

They can’t see and kids always have something to smell on their hands. This will result in a pig biting their little fingers. We certainly do not want that. So the girls place the treat on the floor.

We also make sure to tell our pig “ALL DONE” and show our hands empty. He has caught on to this quickly and walks away after. Before he would keep sniffing us to see if there was more food.

Do Know Your Pig Must Learn The Word No

When I was reading I went into this pig parenting thinking this pig won’t listen to a word I say unless I feed it.

Three months later I am falling more in love with owning a mini pig.  Bently knows the word no quite well. Every time he tries to open the cupboard and we tell him “No” he gets down and runs away. When he has an accident in my office and he hears my tone changing and I say” Where do you go potty?” He runs to his room.

All my Googling has said that pigs do not want to please you. I can’t help but think those little acts are somewhat wanting to please.  I am glad that he knows when he is doing something wrong and will listen.

Mini Pig

Don’t Let Your Mini Pig Have Free Range of Your House

I learned this the hard way. From day 2 we let Bently roam a majority of our house.  He started peeing and pooping outside of his litter box. He doesn’t just do it on the carpet, he does it in the same spot every time. We have hardwood floors and a rug in my office and the living room.

You have to remember they have smaller bladders. It has helped by only letting him have free range for a shorter amount of time and making sure he goes back to his room.

If your pig is peeing and you need to get the smell out here’s what I use and reasons they may be peeing in the home.

You also just like with puppies really need to make sure you get the scent out so they do not keep going back.

You can find a bunch of tips specifically on potty training here.

Conclusion

We have only owned our mini pig for just over 3 months now. So I know we have much more to learn and I will be sharing more with you. Today I wanted to share with you the things I think are the most important to know in the beginning. Straight from my own experience as well.

Today I wanted to share with you the things I think are the most important to know in the beginning. Straight from my own experience as well.

I would love to know your tips and tricks for living with a mini pig.

Or if you are thinking about owning one, any questions you have please ask away in the comment section below!

You may be interested in Checking out this Mini Pig’s Owner Guide on Amazon! 

Have great day friends!

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Carol Woolley

Monday 31st of January 2022

I have had my pig for a month. He is 3 months old. He was house broken We let him root in the yard. I read they need to eat grass for their teeth and dirt or they will need selenium shots. very often when he is antsy in the house I will throw some pig food in the grass. we have deep thick grass it is big entertainment. He sits on command and has learned "no". he walks on the leash but he could be better on it. I am a little worried about what this will be in 2 years when he is over 50lbs. Please email me if you any advice. At is little self of 13lbs He will charge my cat and grandson which is very concerning to me. Also when he gets big I am afraid he in the dog are going to have a real fight instead of the bickering they do now.

Tasia

Tuesday 1st of February 2022

Hi Carol! Yes they are more challenging to keep in the house as they grow. Males will get tusks as well. Even if he is neutered they still grow through and are sharp. Not as long, but it is something to keep in mind. We have all our potbelly pigs outside now. They root up their entire pen and get grass clippings and such in the summer. In the winter they get pellets and a little hay. We don't do or have needed to do selenium shots.

Megan

Wednesday 10th of November 2021

Hi just got a mini pig a week ago and I noticed she loves being picked up by only me won’t let the kids pick her up. She wants to be cuddled and sleep with me at night but will nap in her bed during the day and is very good at using the litter box but when exploring does get confused with the carpet. She will root on me when she’s tired.

Tasia

Monday 22nd of November 2021

Hi Megan, depending on how old the kids are, you may not even need to worry about them picking her up. Enjoy this time of picking her up because it won't last long. They get big so fast- as I'm sure you are realizing. Soak up the pig cuddles and enjoy this time. Sounds like everything is pretty normal.

Kathryn Foster-Martin

Saturday 25th of September 2021

I am about to adopt a 5 yo spayed female. I currently own a 6 mo spayed female. The adoptee is an outdoor pig but used to be an indoor pig. She has endured bulldog attacks and two volatile relationships that her human mommy was suffering through.

How do you introduce a new pig to the family? Ive seen videos where the pigs fight it out and I am not a fan of that, nor do I think its necessary. I am thinking of allowing the pigs to get to know each other through a fence. Please advise.

Thanks!

Tasia

Saturday 25th of September 2021

HI Kathryn! Yes pigs are pretty vicious depending on personality when it comes to introductions. In your case, it shouldn't be too bad because your pigs is much younger. I actually have a video I need to upload of how we introduced our pigs. I suggest having them separate and sniffing through a fence and introducing when they stop nipping, hair up and showing any sign of aggression through the fence. Which they will and that is totally normal. The other thing to keep in mind is that it is normal for your pigs to fight when introduced. It's their way of establishing who is top pig. I'm going to work on a post for this in the next couple days here.

Tiffany

Thursday 7th of January 2021

I have a 10 month old boy that I named Vincent Van Hog. I LOVE my baby boy. I made washable pee pads for him and we have a litter box as well. He hates being picked up, so we've started saying, "Up!" Before we pick him up. He doesn't squeal anymore unless scared. Little man gets fresh fruits and veggies 3 times a day. He loves me as much as I love him. He will not listen to word anyone else tells him. I had no issue from day one with him squealing at night or wanting to be left alone. He was a very happy piggie when he saw that I had a freshly warmed fuzzy blanket for him and some num nums. He follows me EVERYWHERE and if I am busy making supper I make him a towel or blanket filled with treats to keep his attention. I have built him all kinds of toys that are interactive. We have been working on our numbers. I tell him to oink at Mommy for how many pieces of apple/pear he wants. Its too cute. He loves squeaky toys and toys that make that plastic rustle sound. And he has never head swiped at me but he did my fiancé and we were told to push him away when he does that to show your dominance. He tried it again one day and my fiancé gently pushed him away. Vincent hasn't done it since.

Tasia

Monday 11th of January 2021

Awww that is so precious. Glad you are enjoying Vincent Van Hog! Love the name :)

Tiff H.

Tuesday 10th of November 2020

Hi. I just came across your website from Pinterest and where do I even begin? We live in Pa and about 3.5 weeks ago my kids discovered a little black piglet come out of the field behind our house and into our yard. For the next 2/2.5 weeks this cute black piglet would be walking in our yard and our kids were laying fruits and veggies out for it to eat. We knew the farmer would be cutting the corn in the field down any day, so after trying to locate where this cutie came from with no success at all, we decided we needed to catch it. We successfully caught her the Wednesday before Halloween (in a wildlife trap; one where she walked in and the door closed). We searched FB groups for local missing animals, asked neighbors, and farmers and no one took claim to her or reported a pig missing. Everything adds up to her being abandoned. Anyway, we caught her... Immediately we thought “oh great, now what do we do?” We we’re not prepared. So my dad brought over a metal dog cage and we put straw inside and kept her in there for a day. The weather turned cold, windy and rainy, so the next day I went to Tractor Supply and bought a metal octagon dog pen. I set it up in our dining room, bought mini pig food, puppy pee pads, and a dog harness. We brought her inside and because she had a vet appt scheduled the next day (third day we had her), I wanted to put the harness on her. That’s when we discovered the squeal (which is HORRIBLE) and her biting. She proceeded to bite my 14 YO son many times on his forearms trying to get this harness on, and one time actually broke the skin on his thumb. Needless to say, I called the doctor because I wasn’t sure what a bite meant and they prescribed him antibiotics. The trip to the vet was horrible. She freaked out in the car, flops around like a fish out of water trying to walk on a leash, and HATES to be picked up and that’s one of the times she bites. She didn’t get her vaccinations at that visit but they did say she would in two weeks. Because she bit, they told us she needed to be quarantined for 10 days. The vet told us to take her outside because of quarantining her, but once I did, I immediately brought her back in because she seemed so lonely and it was cold. She’s since not gotten any better with trying to pick her up and it’s like she holds a grudge against my son and bites him anytime he tries to touch her (we’re also wondering if maybe she was mistreated/abused by her previous owner or just not taken proper care of or trained in any way). Because of her biting (she also nipped the back of my ankle one day I was standing inside her dog pen) I’m scared of her. She also isn’t vaccinated yet so I would hate for her to bite and more of us need to be on antibiotics. She was eating her pee pads, eating newspaper when we tried it instead of the pads, then just laid in her litter box filled with pine pellets (horse bedding) when we tried that. She was peeing and pooping on the floor constantly and boy does she ever pee! I finally said, “ok, she needs to go outside.” I also debated whether or not to find a sanctuary that might take her because I felt like we were not capable of doing this. Since taking her outside (we joined the dog cage filled with straw and covered with three tarps to the octagon dog pen), she is happier than ever! She digs with her nose in the dirt, she plays with her ball and her little tail is wagging constantly. Since taking her out, I’m like “maybe we should keep her.” She’s sweet, loves belly rubs, runs in circles when the school bus pulls up, barks like a dog which we find hilarious, tunnels through her straw, comes to us when we go out to check on her at night and when she’s in her dog cage laying in her straw when we say “are you sleeping yet, Mabel?” Anyway, I saw your post about the pig harness so I will definitely be buying one of those and not trying the step in dog harness anymore. Do you have any pointers about the biting? Since we know absolutely nothing about her or her past, including how old she is, her breed, etc., (only thing we know is that she is not a traditional farm pig, she’s a girl, and she weighs 17 lbs), I don’t know why she is biting. Does she not trust us? Can a pig be aggressive like a dog can be? How do we handle/curb the biting? I want nothing more than to have a wonderful relationship with her especially now that we’re pretty positive we’re keeping her, but I also can’t be afraid of her and I can’t have her biting. Sorry for the long response; this whole thing is just new to us. We literally just needed to save this pig from being killed by the combine, a car, or a predator animal, and now that we love her, we just want to be able to enjoy her and teach her things, and most of all— to be able to touch her without fear of her biting us.

Tasia

Thursday 12th of November 2020

Oh my goodness what a story! I'm so glad you shared it all. it's so hard to say how she's been handled. Pigs in general do NOT like to be picked up. It takes them time to trust their owner and then allow them to pick them up. I do have a video on how I picked up a baby mini pig. https://www.thefrugalfarmgirl.com/hold-mini-pig/

With the niping I would still give her time but when she does want to nip tap her hard on the tip of her nose and tell her no. You have to be firm with the pig or she will know she can dominate you. Its still a good time to transition her since she seems to be younger?

Try to keep her day as routine as possible. Pigs really thrive on a consistent environment. Pigs can also head swipe as a form of aggression.

If the finger tapping on the nose doesn't work you could always try a spraw bottle of water and spraying her nose. One of our pigs feels so bad if she does anything wrong, while our youngest rightn ow is a little bit sassier. They are smart and will understand words you train her with like dogs. So when you start using a firm no, she'll get the idea. Please keep in touch and let me know how things are going.

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