When people think of “pets” the general creatures that come to mind are dogs, cats, and perhaps birds. The typical first thought is not a pig. Pigs can be affectionate, playful, and add more than its share of quirkiness to your family! We’re going to be doing another mini series, but this time about what pigs need and how to cohabitate with them.
If you want to get an idea of how to handle a pig you could volunteer at a pig sanctuary or a farm to judge whether or not it’s a good fit for you. If you fall in love and adopt a pig or two, great! Now before you get impulsive, know that pigs are a huge responsibility.
First of all you must check the zoning laws around your home to make sure it is even legal for you to have a pig as a pet. Pigs, like many animals, are social creatures and thrive best when they have at least one other pig to keep them company. They are competitive by nature which causes them to eat more and grow faster which keeps them emotionally and physically healthy. Like dogs, pigs are natural herd animals; if you just have one make sure to show it that you are the leader of the herd, and be careful that it doesn't get aggressive towards your children or other pets.
Pigs love being outside so a medium sized pen or a fenced-off yard is needed for pigs to run, play, and root; hog panels are common as is welded wire (stabilize with hog rings and a hog ring tool). They need easy access to a protein rich diet with a little of fiber and a lot of water and shade. Everyone knows pigs use pools of mud or water to cool off as well. Despite the mud, pigs like to be relatively clean and will go to the bathroom in the same spot outside especially if you lay down hay or some high-carbon bedding to absorb their leavings.
Another thing to watch out for is the creature’s health as not all veterinarians are trained to treat pigs. You’d want to find one that is trained and also make sure you have a way to transport the pig in case the doctor doesn’t do house calls. Pigs don’t normally get sick if you just plan to raise them for a year then eat them, but for pets that you want around for a while should have regular checkups just like a cat or dog.
Seems like a lot, doesn't it? You might be thinking, "Will it be worth it?" Of course it will be! Pigs are very smart and can be trained to behave and even be house trained! But all that will be featured in next week's blog. So stick around and learn about the rewards and love you could get from adopting a pig!