Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Truth About Pigs

Wow, I have been a terrible blogger lately.  I'm working full time and with two kids and two new pigs, I haven't had anything left to give.  In January, we adopted an adorable pig names Rutley.  Rutley is a miniature pig, which means he won't be as large as a classic farm pig (he still could grow as large as 200 pounds).  We have learned SO much about pigs, I thought I would pass on our knowledge to others interested in adopting a pig.  We read a lot online about pigs and was promised certain traits by the pig breeder.  I would like to clarify a few common myths about miniature pigs.

Myth #1:

Pigs and dogs make perfect companions.  This is false and I find it scary that most miniature pig breeders spread this untruth.  Dogs are carnivores.  Pigs are delicious.  What more do I need to say?  We quickly learned that our sweet dog could not be left alone with Rutley.  Rutley was not able to speak "dog" and would quickly anger Pumpkin when he failed to pick up on subtle dog clues.  They are cute much of the time, but I would not recommend leaving a dog and pig alone together ever.

Myth #2:

It is okay to adopt just one pig.  You will end up with two.  I promise.  Just go ahead and pick out two at the very beginning.  You will thank me in the end.  Life with one pig was overwhelming, but when we brought Truffles into the mix (we thought Rutley was depressed), our lives were just slightly less complicated.

Myth #3:

Pigs love baths.  Sure, pigs might like to splash in some dirty water on their own terms, but just try to put a pig in a nice bath of water.  Then add some shampoo and see if you can handle the high-pitched screams.  Rutley is a mellow pig and we were able to quickly bathe him while he gorged on peas.  Truffles would have none of it.  She does, however, like to stand in her water bowl.

Myth #4:

Pigs make great house pets.  I really wanted this one to be true.  I thought it would be just like having a puppy.  Pigs need an indoor and outdoor area.  They need to have dirt to push around.  Pigs would rather use the restroom outside (see Myth #5), and they do not like being carried.  Please do not even consider a pet pig unless you have plenty of outdoor space.  If you have kids, they will insist the house is a fine place for a pig.  I'll admit, we did have some good times.

Myth #5:

Pigs are easy to house train.  Rutley came home with a case of the runs.  We took him to two veterinarians and tried all kinds of remedies.  Still, he squirted.  He squirted on walls, under tables, down my shirt, and behind the fireplace.  Our house, for three months, smelled like the bottom of a porta potty.  The pig farmer offered to take him back, but we loved him, so we carried on.  Occasionally, he would squirt in the litter box and our optimism would grow.  We brought home Truffles and she quickly began using the litter box.  Rutley followed suit much of the time.  The problem with two pigs using a litter box is that they are not cats.  They have feces the size of a dog, but go five times more often.  It's a miracle our marriage survived the three months they lived in the house.  We finally got to the bottom of Rutley's diarrhea (it was a bacterial infection) and he now has regular stools.  The pigs have since been relocated to the barn.  Our sanity has been restored and the pigs are enjoying life outside as well!


Rutley and Truffles now have a perfect pig pad in the barn, complete with a comfy sleeping area, an indoor retreat and a small yard.  We (meaning my dad) are in the process of building them their own pasture.  Pigs are wonderful, friendly farm animals.  I highly recommend having a pig for a pet if you are okay with lots of poop, loud squeals, snuggling only on the pig's terms, and if you are willing to have two.  Pigs are a joy and we are happy they have joined our family!    

Any pigs we own in the future will be rescue pigs.  We have since learned that pigs are abandoned quite frequently.  Another lesson learned!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for clearing up those myths for us. They are super cute but quite a bit more work than I would've thought. I think we'll stick to just one dog for now!