Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary currently has three Pot-bellied pigs as forever sanctuary residents. We are often called to take in pot-bellied pigs in need; in fact, we received another call just this week. We do our best to provide assistance and direction to sanctuaries that can take on more. I thought I’d take this opportunity to reinforce a very true statement that often gets forgotten in the face of overwhelming little pig cuteness: little pigs don’t stay little. Here’s the scoop …
There is No Such Thing as a Micro Mini Teacup Pig
Pigs grow until they are 4 or 5 years old. When you are looking at a “little” pig, what you are in fact looking at is a young pig. On average, a pot-bellied pig will weigh about 100 to 150 pounds full grown. Rarely do we encounter sixty pound pot-bellies, but I’ve been told they’re out there.
Should you decide you’d like to adopt a pot-bellied pig as a pet the first thing to check is your bylaws. Not all municipalities allow pigs as pets, depending on the type of home in which you live (apartment vs condominium vs detached house). Don’t buy a pig from a breeder if your bylaws state NO FARM ANIMALS within city limits. This is a big reason pigs are given up to sanctuaries and shelters.
The “bigger” reason pigs are surrendered is because of their size. That cute little pig will finish at the same size as an extra large dog. A small healthy adult pot-bellied pig over 100 pounds. Our full grown pig Charlotte is over 200 pounds, and her yard mate Ginger weighs something close to that too.
The most common type of mini pig is the Pot-bellied Pig (also called Vietnamese Potbellied Pig, Miniature Pot Belly Pig, or Chinese Potbellied Pig). The KuneKune is also a mini pig, but weighs in at around 400 pounds on average and looks more like their cousin the farm pig.
Another breed is the Guinea Hog which is about the size of a large pot, but looks a bit thinner and taller. They look similar to a pot minus the belly and a lot hairier. Rare now, they are 100-300 pounds, and black or bluish-black in color with upright ears, a hairy coat, and a curly tail.
As for the so-called Teacup or Micro Mini pig, these are just normal potbellied pigs that have been chronically underfed and malnourished in an attempt to keep them small. Their life span is maybe FIVE YEARS. This is because the pig stays tiny, BUT THE ORGANS continue to GROW NORMAL SIZE for a normal size pig. Teacups, Micro-Mini’s, European Bluebutts – these are all fancy names made up by breeders. All pot-bellied pigs within the United States come from the same line. The normal life-span for a healthy pot-bellied pig is 18 to 20 years.
The only reason there are very small, tiny Pot-bellied pigs is because unscrupulous breeders inbreed their pigs, or tell people not to feed them much in order to keep them small. That is animal abuse. Please do not fall for this.
As pig age they get more territorial. Without the advantage of consistent guidance from their pet parents, as well as adequate space, physical, and mental exercise, they will express all facets of their true nature. That includes taking nothing for granted – hey, there may be some food under the furniture, better flip it over and check! They are third in intelligence quota next to ape/chimps and dolphin/whales, and they don’t mind applying that brain power to their constant quest for food.
There are other important things to know about caring for pet pigs, and we encourage you to thoroughly do your homework before considering an adoption. That may include a visit out to Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary – come on over and meet Hershel and the girls to complete your knowledge!