It all started with me going to rent a trailer to transport the sheep. While waiting for my turn, I looked around the feed mill and store, and there they were, two tiny little pigs in a display cage for guinea-pigs and bunnies. The sign read: “Mini Pigs. Red female, black male”.
Wise to the Mini Pig market, I hardened my heart against them and drove my rented trailer home. (Mini pig facts: Pigs grow until they are 4-5 years old, the smallest healthy mini pig still weighs 75 lbs. “Mini” simply means less then 300 lbs! There are sellers who starve their piglets in order to keep them small. Buyer beware.) However, over the next few visit to the mill they were still there in their tiny little display cage with their noses pressed up against the plexi glass front, wanting attention. They looked so sad. I was told they were only 6 weeks old (had been there for weeks) and that they got fed once daily. I noticed they had no water in their cages- yes pigs root and spill everything, but water is even more important than food for a pig. Scott heard all about my heart ache over these little pigs – via Face Time – as he was in Japan- and told me to go ahead and bring them home. Scott has every bit as soft of a heart as I do!! I do count on him being the voice of reason, so when he says go I run! Annika promised to care and take the whole responsibility for the piglets- since “Mom, I ALWAYS wanted a pig” and was happily exclaiming that she would even bring them with her to college (emotional support pigs??). She promptly threw her self into researching everything she could about how to feed, care for and raise mini/potbelly pigs. She went shopping for supplies and once I was done with work the following day we went to bring our new little piggies home.
Annika called ahead – resulting in the “sold” on their cage!
I would never have thought I would love pigs so much. It’s not exactly the kind of animal I ever dreamed of having as a kid- or an adult!! I’m blown away by how smart they are; the 4th smartest mammal. They are sweet and emotional and funny. They know when it’s time for food- and they let you know! They recognize you and are shy of strangers until they’ve met them. They were litter box trained in one short day -YAY! They are extremely clean animals and smell less than our dogs- and our dogs are pretty clean in spite of living on a farm.
And did I mention piggy kisses? And the little pitter-patter of tiny hooves on your floors? How about piggie-zoomies? Or pillow crashing? Or when they fight each other to climb your lap to reach your face? And when they nestle themselves into the crook of your arm and start falling asleep? Or play with the three dogs as if they grew up with them? Or scream for your attention when you get home? I’m as much in love with them as Annika who keeps pointing out that I’m the grandma. She’s the mommy.
Annika is in the process of leash training them, and actually took them with her to go shopping at Tractor Supply for me! Needless to say- they were a hit! They did better than some of my dogs (Boomer- I’m talking about you.. ) who always goes to the bathroom in a store and needs to be watched like a hawk- but the piggies did it outside. I’m telling you- they are far smarter than dogs.
Piglets jumped from the floor into her lap! Too sweet!
So far I have to say that having an indoor pig (or two) has been far easier and much more enjoyable than I imagined. Everything has not been just roses- they both had mange due to their old living conditions and needed to be treated. And Snuffaluffagus (Snuffles for short) needed to get neutered by around 8-10 weeks so he didn’t start developing unwanted – boarish- behaviors. They do take time as they are extremely social and they do need training, and grandma does get to feed them, a lot, since miss Annika is just so busy with school and work and friends. I asked her last night about how she felt now that the novelty has worn off and she said; “It’s a lot more work than I thought it would be, but it is worth it mom, they are just so sweet and it’s so rewarding to work with them”. My heart likes the fact that my sweet girl is learning how to care for and have responsibility for living things. She gets to finish her growing up by small pigs with BIG attitudes, and that makes me smile.