Teacup Pigs

The micro-mini pig fad has taken off over the past few years. The approval of mini pigs as pets is the outcome of deceptive claims (dating back to the 1980s) that can really hurt innocent pigs.

If you are considering embracing a “teacup” pig, here are a couple of things you must know:

Teacup Pigs are Potbellied Pigs

Initially glance, it sounds purely cute: a pig who will never ever weigh more than a human baby. As the executive director of PIGS Animal Sanctuary Melissa Susko validates, this isn’t the case. “There actually is no such thing as a teacup pig, micro-mini, Juliana, etc.,” she tells The Dodo. “Miniature pigs are mini compared to a domestic farm pig that can reach 600-plus pounds. So-called teacups are actually potbellied pigs who are either underfed to stunt their growth or who are offered under false pretenses.”

Potbellied pigs are wild boar cousins from Vietnam who are in truth miniature pigs when standing next to substantial farm pigs (who can weigh more than 1,000 pounds) or even wild hogs (who can weight 450 to 700 pounds). However, potbellied pigs still grow to between 100 and 150 pounds typically – no place near small sufficient to suit a teacup. In fact, the tiniest size that is healthy for these little guys is around 60 pounds (though that could be underweight, depending upon the pig).

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Teacup Pigs can reproduce at 3 months old

To encourage clients of their pig’s small size, breeders may invite them to look at the piggy parents. Don’t be tricked, states Susko. Since these pigs “can breed when they are as young as 6 to 8 weeks old, the parents of a piglet might be piglets themselves.” Therefore, she states, “their size is not a precise measure of how big their offspring will remain in their adult years. Potbellied pigs can grow until they are 5 years of age and reach well over 100 pounds.”

Teacup Pigs can have Health Problems

Some breeders inbreed their pigs to attempt to accomplish a smaller sized size, but that produces a host of health problems arising from lowered genetic variety, such as squished snouts, which trigger breathing issues later on in life. And breeders frequently instruct buyers to feed their pig a diet plan that totals up to starvation.

Susko states her sanctuary takes in various pigs turned in by people who said they “we’re told by the breeder that the pig will just get huge if you feed him too much. Many pigs come in malnourished and emaciated.

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Teacup Pigs are Expensive to Keep

Because clients expect these piglets to remain tiny, they can’t potentially think of the mountainous costs associated with keeping a fully grown potbellied pig. As Susko puts it, “Many people think they are buying a teacup Yorkie and end up with a Saint Bernard. Very few people can deal with a 100-, 200- or perhaps 300-pound pig in their house.”

There’s the initial cost of the pig, which might be several thousand dollars, the proper food (no pet or cat kibble), the area required, the vet expenses (finding a great veterinarian for these piggies can be practically difficult), sterilization expenses and the costs for a qualified pig-sitter if the humans go out of town and don’t take their buddy along.

Teacup Pigs can be Illegal to Own

No matter what teacup pig buyers might believe or how small their pig may be, in the eyes of the law, these little pigs are livestock – similar to farm pigs or cows. Lots of city governments beyond farm country prohibited the keeping of animals, so it might be unlawful to keep these pigs as pets, even if you do have the cash and the ability to look after them.

Unfortunately, the prevalence of misinformation about the care of these complex creatures means that the majority of teacup pigs live only about five years, although “the typical life span for a potbellied pig is 12 to 18 years,” according to Susko. “We’ve had some that barely made it past two years of life.”

And their popularity does not appear to be waning anytime quickly. “I have been at the sanctuary since 2002 (going on 13 years) and have dealt with well over a thousand pigs during this time,” Susko says. “We get an average of 30 requests a week to take in pigs that individuals have actually purchased under the presumption that they will be micro or teacup pigs. When the pigs start growing, they call us. We have 120 potbelly pigs here at PIGS and 85 percent of them have actually been pigs that individuals bought without doing their research and fell for the teacup pig myth.”

Potbelly Pigs, Pig, Domestic Pig


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