We raise pet Juliana Pigs on our farm, commonly referred to as ‘mini pigs’ or ‘tea cup pigs’. Juliana pigs are the smallest breed of pig, typically light gray in color with black spotting. It all started a little over a year ago when my husband surprised me with a baby boar for my birthday. It was instant love for this adorable boy.
About six months later, we had the opportunity to adopt a female from a family whom she had gown too big for. The female came to us very overweight and in dire need of a hoof trim. But she had a great temperament and she was happy. Long story short, she was put on a strict diet, got her hooves trimmed up and lost a lot of weight. Once she was a much healthier pig many months later, we allowed our male and female to breed and had our very first litter born.
So while our Juliana’s may not meet the breed standard for size and height to be registered, they are purebred, they are amazing pets and we love them. So are you ready for the truth about mini pigs? Here’s what owning them entails and what to really expect when bringing home a pig to join your family.
All pigs begin life as tiny piglets, and yes they may fit into a teacup...for a day or two. Then they begin to nurse and eat solids and will quickly outgrow that ‘teacup pig’ size that you see displayed in calendars or cute pictures online. Most of their growth will happen within their first year of life, and will continue to grow until about three years of age. A realistic weight for a Juliana Pig is between 40-80 pounds, depending on their diet. Sadly, a full grown Juliana that is 15-20 pounds is likely being underfed. This is a common misconception that leads people to adopt, then when the pig grows larger than expected, they are discarded by their owner at a shelter. When adopting any animal, doing your research is incredibly important to make the best decision for yourself and the animal. A pigs lifespan can be 10-15 years, which means if a pig is the pet for you, you get 10-15 fun filled years with one of the smartest animals out there!
Pigs are very intelligent, some of the smartest animals in the world. They can be taught commands and can easily be litter trained. Many people compare them to dogs, only smarter.
Pigs are clean. Much cleaner than traditional pets such as cats or dogs. People misunderstand their zest for mud as dirty, but pigs don’t sweat and so mud or water is their way of cooling off on a hot day.
They are very easy to litter train if living inside. If they live outside, they will always pick the same far off corner to do their business, they will NEVER go to the bathroom in their bedding or near their food.
They are affectionate and love a good belly rub. They are friendly with other animals and very social.
They are inexpensive to keep. It costs approximately $10-20 a month to feed specialized mini pig feed.
Low maintenance. Hoof trimming as needed (1-2 times per year) and oral deworming twice per year.
The can be hard to contain if your fences are not strong and they are bored. They are very curious animals and will go on a walkabout if allowed. All pigs respond very well to hot-wire or very secure fencing.
They will likely root up your yard. Pigs love to root to find roots, grass or to make a muddy wallow. If you don’t want them rooting up your award winning flowers or tomatoes, they do need a designated space for this natural behavior.
It is easy for them to become overweight. They are pigs after all! They are food motivated, they love almost any and all food. If raised with other animals, the other animal food should be kept out of reach of the pig. Pigs require 1-2% of their bodyweight in food daily, and it should be rationed to this amount to keep them from becoming obese.
So the truth about mini pigs is that they make amazing pets! I adore our mini pigs, they are my favorite animals on our farm. They are affectionate, smart, clean, quiet, friendly and entertaining. I hate to see them adopted for the novelty of a ‘teacup pig’ as this is not reality, but I love to see them thrive in a loving, happy home. If a Juliana Pig is in your future, it will very likely be the best and weirdest dog you’ll ever love.
Nicole Wilkey transitioned from a corporate job to small-scale farmer in 2015. Since then, she has run California-based Flicker Farm to accommodate meat pigs, mini Juliana pigs and pastured poultry, and to sell goat's milk soap and lotion on Etsy. Connect with Nicole on Instagram and Facebook, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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