Talk to me about pigs

So, i was happily minding my own business the other day when my dog started losing his mind. I looked outside and saw two pigs, I think they are pot bellied, they are small and black. They are very skittish but I managed to get them in a stall. I have posted found ads but so far, nobody is claiming them. Right now I am unsure if I will keep them. I know zilch about them. What do they eat, what type pen/shelter do they need, vet care etc…… keeping them in a stall is a very short term option since the horse that normally occupies it hates pigs….

By the way, I did name them so….

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Oh my! I’ve had people dump dogs and cats, but pot bellied pigs??? Thanks for taking them in- maybe call law enforcement?

We have had strange animals show up here. Once it was a goat with his Yorkie buddy. We found the owners but so far nobody is claiming the pigs…

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Oh pigs! I had a horse who was loved by a pig! I don’t think Eli loved Thelma the way Thelma loved Eli, though. Thelma would greet my car and wait til I’d brought him into the cross ties, then wander around his hooves making sweet gruntings. Eli would put his head down and scrub her back with his nose or even scratch her with his teeth. It was sweet.

Pigs are smart and funny, but will dig like tortoises. If you keep them they will help your horses learn a new skill, how to be near pigs without losing their marbles.

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Pigs will escape. What’s interesting about them is that they are the only animals that can return to the wild no problem. They will pretty much eat anything that does not eat them first.

Maybe call your vet to find out what requirements they suggest for your new friends. Does your local high school have an FFA or 4H program? Maybe they can help.

So - what did you name them? You know that’s the first step towards keeping them. And if you thought we would talk you out of this, nope…we ARE enablers here.

And where are the pics?

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Do you think they are true potbellies/mini pigs or just young commercial or heritage pork type pigs? Post some pictures if you have them!

I wouldn’t consider keeping them as pets if they are going to mature into 400-600 (or larger!) hogs. All pigs are destructive, even the small potbelly/mini pig types, but size does matter, unless you have enough land and literally don’t care what it looks like. In that case, you could give them several acres to trash inside a strong physical and/or electric fence. They will root the ground of any small-ish enclosure until is literally bare dirt/mud. Grass/foilage will disappear and and they will take out the root structure, too, until nothing holds that dirt together, if that makes sense. They will do the same to small trees and kill large mature ones by taking out their roots. If male, commercial type pigs might already be castrated since producers often do it themselves when the pigs are very young. It will be expensive to have a vet castrate an older, larger male pig even if you can find one to do it in the field. Mini pig types might be able to done on the farm by a field vet, depending on your local talent.

Female pigs can be fearsomely moody when in heat, which is often, and will (not if) go on to develop uterine tumors if not spayed. Field vets will not spay pigs, large or small, so plan on having to source (potentially far and wide) and then transport to a vet that is experienced and able to do this in a hospital setting. Plan on spending at least $500-700 for a routine mini pig spay and 1-1.5K for a large farm type pig spay without complication. Seems ridiculous, but it is definitely not at all. It is nothing like a dog spay. Pigs are very difficult anatomically (it is extremely difficult to gain venus access, for example) and also bleed like the proverbial stuck pig.

Some people do love their mini/potbelly type pigs as pets. Big personalities. I do not happen to love them, haha, but I respect that a lot of people do. Pigs can be aggressive with strangers or even not-strangers that they happen to decide they do not like and will bark, lunge, and attack. Basically like an unpredictable aggressive dog. My friend’s pig cornered the FEDEX guy on her porch one day, just for fun. The dude was literally almost hysterical and in near tears. The pig also legit bit is foot/leg and left bruises…that could have been a bad situation, honestly. Pig-o happened to love the UPS man. Go figure.

If you keep them as pets, feed them a pet pig specific diet (Mazuri is one brand, but there are quite a few out there now) vs whatever is labeled pig/hog/swine at the co-oop or feed store. Those are for commercial hogs and designed for growth/gain. Absolutely not what you want for your pet pig. They gain weight very, very easily. It is what they are designed to do and without longevity in mind. Keep them as lean as possible. Commercial pigs often aren’t really able to live out their natural lifespans before becoming crippled with arthritis and suffering from extreme mobility issues. Mini pigs, too, if let to get fat.

Large or small, pigs will need routine hoof and possibly tusk trims. Field vets can often do this for small pigs on the farm for you without sedation by simply flipping the pig over and doing it real fast while they scream their bloody heads off. If you cannot find anyone local to do this for you on the farm, plan on dragging them to a specialty hospital to have it done either same way or under general anesthesia at least once a year at minimum. If they will only do it under GA, plan on spending $400-500 for this service.

Good luck with the piggies. Like I said, some people love them. Not trying to discourage you from keeping them as pets! I do, however, feel like a lot of people have no idea how challenging they can be to keep…

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I am not sure how to add photos, I named then Daisy and Tulip. I am still on the fence about keeping them. If they get huge, I do not want to. If they are smaller pigs, I can make a place for them. They are warming up but still do not want to be touched.

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I wonder if someone bought them on impulse as pets and then, after finding out how much work they are and the fact that even though they are smart, they aren’t as trainable or cuddly as a dog, they dumped them.

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I am wondering the same. I live in a semi rural area and people get all kinds of animals as pets. They never last long :roll_eyes:

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And it’s way harder to rehome a pig than a dog!

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Neighbor had a lovely full size female pig that roamed where she liked and loved soda from a bottle or any other treats and would beg for such if she saw you might have any. She was personable but could tear up any turf literally in seconds looking for food. Not sure if potbelly pigs have same foraging ability with turf, but definitely a real issue if you want lawn or pasture and do not have a contained turnout for the pair. (But this pig was a charmer…)

If you garden or need thick vegetation cleared, pigs are wonderful at it and can be contained in portable electric fence once trained to it. They don’t need much room so small paddocks rotated around your property before the old one is destroyed will actually improve the soil. Summer shelter only needs to protect them from sun/heavy rain and be large enough to lay down with air flow and stand up in, so that can be portable. Winter should be more weatherproof but you don’t need to worry about that now because you might decide they are house pets by then. :rofl: The biggest issue with pigs is water. They are short, sloppy, pushy and like to create their own mud hole in the heat so a horse trough is too tall but they might dump something shorter. Food is easy because they will eat anything. Just feed a decent grain and give them whatever leftovers you have. If they are black, I doubt they’re a production breed so you’re probably right they are pot bellies but they could also be American Guinea Hogs, which will be larger but not several hundred pounds at maturity.

I know of a few homesteading type channels on youtube that successfully keep pigs on pasture in various ways. Let me know if you are interested.

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Oh my gosh! They look just like the Guinea Hog! I wish I knew how to post a picture. Today they are sniffing us but still do not want to be touched. My husband, who told me yesterday, that we were not keeping them, fed them his leftover pancakes this morning and put a pool in the stall for them……I guess I will start looking at fencing….

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I’ll bet they were sold as pot bellies or teacup pigs and the owners dumped when they got too big. Guineas are supposed to be really docile so lucky you!

Premier 1 has a really nice electric set up if you plan to rotate but a few strands of wire at the right spacing is fine, too. Hog panels and T-posts are great for a permanent pen but it’s never a bad idea to run a strand of electric at nose level so they aren’t pushing and leaning. That would also give you the option of a “dry lot” with panels and rotating electric paddocks off various sides of that as they tear up the ground. Look into pig nipples for water.

First step is training them to a bucket so they’ll follow you anywhere when hungry!

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:rofl:

pigs are omnivores.
they like to root in the dirt, take mud baths.
and they don’t like to combine either with where they poop.

while the end outcome isn’t the same, look at the county extension for material on hog keeping and perhaps a 4H club.
you probably don’t want to feed them like farm hogs though.

BTW pigs are very intelligent. Some might argue they are smarter than dogs!

Good luck!

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According to this website, they’ll be getting pretty big. https://livestockconservancy.org/heritage-breeds/heritage-breeds-list/american-guinea-hog/

I am not a pig fan. I have known a couple and did not find them endearing or really practical as a pet.

I think they both were potbellies. Neither owner fully understood that it is still a fairly large animal at maturity. And noisy. IME pigs scream a lot - anytime they dont like something they are very, very vocal! Around here, most vets had no experience with pigs, though they were able to find one to give shots. The digging and rooting can be a problem if they are not contained. One of them was fairly friendly, but the other would try to bite strangers or when aggravated. And I would not want to clean up after them. They did poop in one place, but the stink!

The owners said they enjoyed watching them and they would come to get scratched, but they were not otherwise affectionate. I dont think the owners would get another pig.

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Some years ago (probably 10) I went to the fencing clinic at Wellscroft Fence and in the course of the day the owner spoke of opening up silvopasture with the help of pigs – putting them on the woodland after cutting some fraction of the trees and removing all branches etc. on the ground (as the pigs would push them against the electric netting, shorting it out), and letting their rooting kill off all underbrush. The pigs would be moved off and the area seeded. So as @CrazyGuineaPigLady posted, it’s possible to make use of their rooting habit.

The other thing I remember is that they particularly need to be trained to an electric fence, as unlike most animals which jump back once they are “bitten,” they will charge forward. The recommended procedure was to set up the electric fence in front of a solid wall and tempt the pig into it.

And that is all about all I know about pigs.

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So, it appears we are keeping them. Husband got irritated yesterday when I suggested it. However, this morning he ran out the door with his leftover pancakes and hand fed them. He has also placed a pool in the stall for them in case they are hot. I was feeding and he came down tO the barn and said “Get in your pool ladies” I almost died :rofl::rofl::rofl:

We have an out door stall we are turning into a pig pen. We just need to add hog wire to the existing fence. A friend has a large dog house we can use for shelter unless the get larger.

So far, they go to the bathroom in the same area and I just clean it when I do the horse stalls. They really don’t smell, but they are small and I clean everyday. If they become a nuisance, I can contact the school FFA or an acquaintance whose child shows pigs. It will be interesting to say the least…

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Neighbor bought a lovely pot bellied baby pig a couple of years ago. He stayed short but my God he is grotesquely obese now. You can’t even see his eyes the fat folds have covered them. He was cute. My horse loved him. He was like a silly puppy as a baby. As an adult he just eats and eats.


That’s him as a wee one.
Now he’s aloof and kind of gross with tusks. I have no pics or video of him fully grown because he’s not friendly anymore.