The Life of a Piglet: From Birth to Weaning
Welcome to The Pigfather’s Facebook Live Series titled “The Life of a Piglet: From Birth to Weaning”, Parts 1-3, which was aired “Live” on Thursday 16th April 2020 and can be replayed at a later time on our Facebook Page.
Beginning on Thursday 16th April 2020 we will be hosting three sessions/parts every Thursday discussing how Miniature Piglets develop and grow from birth until they are weaned.
Part 1 Series will look at how Miniature Piglets are born and their development in the first 3 weeks of their lives.
Below is a summary of what we have discussed in our Part 1 of the Series.
What are Miniature Pigs?
As we discussed Miniature Pigs are a smaller version of the farmed pigs. Over many generations pigs have been selectively bred for the purpose of reducing their size. Different countries have their own “Miniature” varieties of pigs depending on the breeds of pigs they originated from. There are pure bred varieties of Miniature Pigs such as Meishan Pig, Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pig, Swedish Pig and Juliana Pig. Most commonly in the UK, though, Miniature Pigs are the crossbreeds of various other breeds of pigs and/or wild boar.
Miniature Varieties of various animals exist today such as Miniature Rabbits, Hamsters, Ponies, Horses, Goats and Sheep. To find out more information on the specific breeds of these animals, please, visit our Buying a Miniature Piglet Page.
What is the Lifespan of a Miniature Pig?
How long Miniature Pigs live for depends on a number of factors such as Nutrition, Housing, Stress as well as Genetics and Health Status. A healthy piglet provided with the best care and correct nutrition as well as timely veterinary care and love can be expected to live up to 10 -15 years or more.
How long is the Gestation Period of a Miniature Pig?
What is Pig’s Gestation Period? This is the time it takes for a piglet to develop inside their mummy’s tummy until they are ready to be born!
Pig’s Gestation period is relatively long in comparison with other animal species and it is around 115 days long (3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days!).
In comparison, average gestation periods of other animals are:
Cat – 64 days; Dog – 61 days
Rabbit – 31-32 days; Guinea Pig – 56 -74 days
Black Rhino – 450 days (around 15 months!)
Human – 266 days (around 9 months)
When Miniature piglets are born they are not as helpless as other baby animals such as puppies and kittens. Baby pigs are born able to see and hear and they already can walk quite well! When puppies and kittens are born, they are not able to see or hear and develop these senses at a later stage.
The First Three Weeks of a Piglet’s Life
- Born able to walk, see and hear
- Born with teeth – we were able to see 6 sharp teeth (milk or deciduous canines and incisors). By 3 weeks of age we could see 8 teeth with lower incisor coming through! Pigs have 32 milk teeth and 44 permanent teeth. By 20 months of age the pig’s mouth is fully developed. Pig’s teeth are similar in structure and physiology (development) as well as growth rate to humans.
- From day 2 – beginning to come out of their ark
- From day 4 – play fighting with each other. The leading pigs are now clearly identifiable
- Suckle milk from mamma every 30 minutes or so. Piglets chose their own tit and usually use the same set every time they feed
- By day 7 the piglets do all their toileting outside of the ark
- Piglets are much happier when they are reared outdoors/presence of mud/clay minerals which are important for the piglets’ growth
- Mamma’s milk is rich in nutrients and the piglets put on weight rapidly (very rich in fat and protein (more than cow’s milk) with a similar composition of minerals and lactose to cow’s milk.
- They start rooting in the ground by about 7 – 9 days!
- Mamma pig is very protective of their new-born babies, especially for the first 2 -4 days after which she slightly relaxes
- By 3 weeks of age the piglets begin to drink water and be interested in mamma’s food (pellets and some vegetables/fruit)
Buying Your Own Miniature Pig
If you have always wanted to get your own Miniature Piglet or, perhaps, a young adult trained Miniature Pig, you might wish to take a look at our Miniature Pigs for Sale Page. We have created a lot of information about Miniature Pig Ownership which you can access on Buying a Miniature Pig Page.
Alternatively, we offer an amazing opportunity to “borrow” our piggies to see what life with them is really like. To find out more information, please, visit Borrow My Piggy page.