It's a shame society mostly views the pig as nothing more than a slab of meat on a plate, because pigs are intelligent animals that are curious, friendly and playful. Pig have personalities, just like dogs and cats, and they can be a wonderful addition to your home or land. There are different reasons why owners keep pet pigs, such as breeding, or to have one as a companion in the home. If you're thinking about pig ownership for the home, consider a smaller pet breed like a pot-bellied, mini or teacup pig. For breeding purposes, Durocs, Yorkshires and Berkshires are good pigs to consider. But regardless of what of pig you may get, there are some things to know beforehand.
Pigs are hefty eaters and will eat things the moment they see it in front of them. Because they have voracious appetites, it is important be mindful of your fingers as they are feeding, since they can take a finger as they are chowing down, especially if they are larger pigs. And regardless of the type of pig you're getting, keeping a pig as a pet is a lifelong commitment. All too often, people get pigs for novelty, and once they grow too big, they are simply abandoned. When it comes to food, pigs can drain your wallet, since they are heavy eaters, but you can save money by portioning out their food. Pigs do not have to be overweight, and keeping on excessive weight on them can lead to health problems later in life.
Where to Find Pigs
Because there are many abandoned pigs, you can find them at local pig shelters. There are various organizations that shelter abandoned pets, so check to see if your area has one of them. Another good way of finding pigs is from local breeders. These breeders have specialty in commercial and pet pigs, but before going to a breeder, make sure you have all information beforehand.
The type of pig you get also depends on where you intend to keep the animal. If keeping a lighter-skinned pig in your backyard, for instance, it is important to give them plenty of mud to cake on their skins to protect them from sunburn. Durocs, Tamworths and Berkshires are some pigs that have a darker pigment in their skin, if you're looking for a pig more resistant to sunburn.
Know Your Area
It's important to check your local county codes to see of keeping a pig is restricted in your area. Pigs are mostly considered farming animals, which restricts them from being kept as indoor pets, another reasons why so many of them end up being abandoned. Also, many veterinarians do not treat farm animals, so it is important to find a local animal hospital that will accept farm-type animals. Finding a good vet for your pig will be crucial in case the animal gets ill or injured.
Know Your Pig
It is important to not only know the personality of your individual pig, but the nature of pigs in general. Because pigs are intelligent animals, they will tend to try and push the limits of what they can get away with. As with any animal, it is important to instill discipline and boundaries. Also, pigs are hierarchical animals, which is why they tend to try and get a leg up on their owners. Training is not only necessary, but knowing how to assert yourself as the dominant force is important. If you're dealing with a stubborn pig, you can do little things like nudging them against the shoulders. Doing this gives pigs the signal that you are asserting your alpha status over them.
This is just one tidbit of training, so stay tuned for part two on extensively training a pig.