Most young animals are demanding on their owners, and miniature pigs are no different. You must take good care of your pig during the first year if you want them to thrive and learn proper behaviours you will come to expect as they age. And, while you can download countless guides on the subject, many are incomplete or offer incorrect information to users.
That trend ends here. Below, we’ve compiled the most important information you need to know during the first year with your miniature pig. By the end, you’ll know what to expect and what you need to do to ensure you give your new pet everything he or she needs.
Stage 1: Birth to 6 Weeks Old
You should not bring a pet pig home until he or she has reached at least 6 weeks old. During this time, they will learn survival from both their siblings and mum.
Many breeders spay or neuter their teacup pigs before or at 6 weeks of age. If they don’t, you can easily take care of this at the veterinarian on your own.
Stage 2: 6 Weeks to 3 Months Old
At this time, your piglet will come home with you and it’ll be time to acclimate them to the new environment! It’s important that you make them feel secure by taking a number of simple steps:
- Create a Confined Space – This can be anywhere in your home and you should use a baby gate or other gate with holes so that you don’t essentially “lock” your frightened pig into a room. The area should include a blanket and litter box, along with toys, water, and other necessities.
- Sit on the Floor With Your Pig – By spending time with your pig and allowing them to feel safe with you, you can begin to build a relationship. Always pet from the side so he or she can see you coming and can understand that you aren’t trying to inflict any harm.
- Don’t Pick up the Pig Right Away – It can be tempting to scoop up your pig and carry them around the house with you, but you shouldn’t. Don’t pick them up until they are comfortable with you and if there is ever any squealing, hold them until it ends for at least 30 seconds.
Stage 3: 3 to 12 Months Old
While you may not think that a 3- to 12-month old is a teenager, it is if it’s a micro pig. At this stage, your pig will begin to test boundaries and become more stubborn. It’s at this time that they will try to assert their dominance and as such, you must remain consistent and dedicated to disciplining your pig!
Here are some of the best tips and care advice for you to keep in mind at this stage:
- Playtime – Give your teacup pig time outside to play and explore and an inside area with toys to keep your pet busy when you aren’t home. It’s also great to take your pig for walks once they’re harness trained.
- Neutering/Spaying – Males should be neutered before they are 3 months old and females should be spayed before they turn 1 year old. If your breeder did not neuter or spay your pig, you should do so with the speciality vet you locate in your area.
- Patience – Keep in mind that your pig is still learning at this stage and you can’t always punish the pig for being curious or asserting authority to test boundaries. Rather, you should focus on reinforcing good behaviour and using negative consequences to deter bad behaviour. If you overreact to minor problems, you may cause more damage than good.
The First Year is a Fun, Critical Time for Your Miniature Pig
Getting a new pig is not only exciting but it also allows you to form positive behaviour that establishes a good relationship between your pet and family for years to come.
As is the case with kids, the first year flies by. Enjoy it while you can by taking the tips and recommendations above into consideration!