The Myth of the Mini Pig

Reader Contribution by Marissa Buchanan and Buchanan's Barnyard
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In 2018, we were setting up our farm and received a homeless pig. This very small pig was labeled as a “mini pig” and while we were ecstatic, we had no idea just what we were getting into. We fell in love with her but were expecting something a little less strenuous than meat hogs.

My Experience with Pigs

Growing up, I raised and showed Yorkshire meat hogs. My pig, Houdini, was known for escaping anything you put her in. If it had a latch, she would find her way out. She went off to slaughter soon after show season was completed. I was upset but knew that this was a part of life. Houdini, had an awesome personality. She would always roll over for tummy rubs and bathed well. She was also very smart in the show ring. If you work with them, they pick up easily on cues.

Back to the Main Story

After some researching we found out that our little “Porkchop” was a Vietnamese potbelly. After even more research, we found that Porkchop would definitely not max out at 25-50 pounds. We soon learned that pigs are a lifetime commitment and can continue to grow for 5 years. Our porkchop was very small when we got her and looking back, she was a lot younger than what we were originally told. 

What are Mini Pigs?

Mini pigs are any pigs that stay under 200 pounds. Compared to their cousins this is small considering some breeds can reach up to 1000 pounds. There are many breeds that are considered “minis”. These include:

The American Mini Pig
The KuneKune
The American Guinea Hog
The Mulefoot hog
The Juliana
The Vietnamese Potbelly and a few others

Finding a Breeder

If you are wanting to add a mini pig to your family, there are some quick keywords to stay away from: teacup and micro-mini.

The American Mini Pig Association also has a list of piggy approved breeders and there are a lot of educational tools there. There are also many rescues across the United States that take in unwanted pigs. The most of what our rescue has seen is that the owner did not know that their pig would get so big and they outgrow the home. 

Owning a Mini Pig

While some owners keep minis inside, it is always a good idea to let them have an area to root outside. Rooting is a natural instinct for pigs. Pigs pick up easily to training and you can have them trained as a therapy animal. They are also very easy to litter train, and believe it or not, are very clean animals. They can be kept outside as well. I have found that with socialization and some training, they can be great companions. If you own dogs, they cannot be left alone together. Pigs have some features that other animals do not. They will readily learn and can become aggressive in a wrong setting. Many owners turn to MTP (Move the Pig) techniques to curve this behavior.

Mini pigs need regular hoof trimmings, vaccinations, and healthy food. Please do not feed a mini pig dog food. This does not contain the appropriate nutrition for a mini pig. Always ask for the age and to see the parents. This will give you a good idea of how your mini pig will grow. 

Mini Pigs can Help with Farm Chores

There have been many pigs come to our rescue that are feral. Even with proper training, these pigs do not bode well in a social setting. With these piggies, we adopt out to local farmers to help with many different things. 

No tractor? Put a temporary pen in place. The pigs will root, disturbing the ground and in turn aerating while fertilizing the soil. 

Need some undergrowth cleared? Pigs can do this easily. 

If you want a real treat, take a pig truffle hunting! Pigs have a keen sense of smell and can find these treats easily. 

Some Extra Tips: Spaying and neutering works wonders! Especially with males. Pigs can be escape artists. A well built pen is a great start. 

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