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Potbellied Pig

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3.7/5

(117 Reviews)


Other common names: Vietnamese Potbellied Pig; Vietnamese Potbelly; Miniature Pot-Bellied Pig; Pot Belly Pig; PBP

The Basics:
You may have seen these pigs advertised as mini-pigs, often touted as great pets that will stay under a certain weight. Don't be fooled!

The truth is that no matter how cute (or smart!) these 'little' pigs are, they aren't good pet-material for the average person or family. In fact, if you're looking for a pet, you'd be better off looking into guinea pigs. Because a full-grown potbellied pig will weigh anywhere from 100 - 250 lbs. (or more!), and that's a whole lot of pig to love -- not to mention feed, house, and clean up after.

Still think a potbelly pig is the breed for you? Then you may be interested to know that potbellied pigs are descendants of wild swine originally found in southeast Asia. And they weren't traditionally kept as pets. Instead, they have been a staple food source in countries like Vietnam and Thailand for centuries, particularly relied upon by family farmers and other smallholders with limited space. Then, in 1984, a Canadian named Keith Connell exported potbellied pigs to Canada and Sweden and later to other countries as a dwarf swine breed.

They eventually became popular worldwide as pets because of their relative small size. Unfortunately, the evolution of the potbellied pig from a dwarf livestock breed to an exotic pet has not been very successful. While they are indeed smart and personable animals, their adult size and lifestyle requirements, and the fact that many cities and communities do not allow the keeping of pigs as pets, has resulted in a majority of potbellies needing rehoming / rescuing.

As the Pigs Peace Sanctuary explains, "In 1985 potbellied pigs were introduced to the United States and promoted as the perfect house pet. People were told that a pig was easier to house train than a dog, pigs would stay small and adorable and pigs didn't require a lot of room. People were not told, however, that pigs do not stay small. The average adult potbellied pig weighs 150 pounds. Research concluded that many pigs were passed from home to home, often in a matter of weeks. Some were set free to fend for themselves, and many endured years of abuse and neglect as people tried to manage them with confinement and control. Many shelters will not take miniature pigs. They consider them livestock and send them to stockyards and slaughter. Other shelters euthanize pigs immediately without trying to find them a home."

Appearance / Health:
Potbellied pigs are characterized by their small size (averaging a little over a foot all and 3 feet long and weighing from 100 - 250 pounds). The ears are upright, and the tail is straight. The body color is typically “black and white” which ranges from solid white to solid black with all patterns of black and white in between.

As the name implies, the belly is round and low. The back is often deeply curved. Overweight Potbellied pigs are seen with their bellies touching the ground and folds of fat drooping down over the eyes.

Despite their energy and gregarious nature, pigs are sensitive animals. They are easily stressed by travel, vaccinations, extreme temperatures, and new surroundings. Stress makes them susceptible to ailments like pneumonia and bronchitis (due also to their small lungs relative to their size). They are also susceptible to animal viruses like influenza. Pigs commonly suffer from mad itch (or pseudo rabies), dysentery, and parasites (lice, ticks, and ascarid worms).

Healthy pigs have shiny hair, bright eyes, strong appetites, and high energy. Their normal temperature is 102.5F. Deviations from the normal temperature and other signs of poor health including diarrhea and coughing should promptly be brought to the attention of a veterinarian.

Behavior / Temperament:
As omnivores that love to eat, pigs can provide you with hours of entertainment while they explore their surroundings in search for something to munch on. They use their sensitive snouts to smell and unearth a potential meal. They're also very intelligent and social animals that quickly get used to the presence and affection of humans.

Some pigs are intelligent enough to learn tricks, obey commands, and use a litter box. Because they have no sweat glands, they tend to cool themselves by rolling in water or mud. The mud that dries on their skin serves as a sunscreen and protection from parasites like ticks, lice, and flies.

Potbellied pigs have gained popularity as pets because they are small compared to other breeds. However, even a 'small' pig is still a pig and most will grow large and become difficult to manage, especially indoors. As pets, they are not like cats or dogs that appreciate being held; in fact, they tend to panic when they’re picked up off the ground (assuming you can actually lift them).

Housing / Diet:
Pigs are active, curious animals that require room to explore, exercise, and just be their natural energetic selves. Sufficient space, relative to their size and weight, is a primary consideration because pigs that are crowded or confined to small spaces become stressed, and healthy growth and development is hindered.

Although constantly roaming and appreciative of open yards and fresh air, pigs also require a shed or housing that will let them sleep on a dry and clean area at night. Ideal ambient temperatures are 60-70F. Warm shelters with wood chip bedding are a must during cold months; water misters are recommended for the hottest months.

Pig housing should also include a feeder and a drinking water dispenser (usually a water barrel). Access to a water source makes it convenient to clean or hose out the pig shelters (and the pigs) as needed. Chain link fencing, shade trees, and a pond are recommended for backyard habitats.

Pig owners are advised to check with local authorities for legislation regarding the ownership and keeping of pigs in their homes and backyards. As omnivores that eat plants and animals, pigs will consume almost anything that is edible like fruits, roots, flowers, grass, insects, worms, all types of meat, and even leftover scraps from the dinner table.

Unlike ruminant animals (cattle and goats), pigs have a single stomach. For healthy and fast growth, pigs require a high-energy diet composed of grain (corn, oats, wheat, barley), plus protein and vitamin supplements. Most commercially available feed for pigs combine various farm grains and the necessary supplements to ensure rapid and efficient development.

Pigs are best allowed to self-feed or eat as much as they want during the day to enable them to grow as fast as they normally can. Feeding should always include a good supply of clean, fresh drinking water.

wonderful

smart, Cuteset darn things, trainable, sweetest temperements, personable animal

challenging

unaltered male pigs, disreputable breeders, urinary tract infections, good escape artists, uterine tumors

interesting

mud baths, lawn mowers, clean animal contrary, hand feed, hate cats, minimal noise

Helpful Potbellied Pig Review

Potbellied Pig

From Aug 23 2015 5:29AM

3.3/5

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