MINIATURE PIGS AS PETS – PIGS AND OTHER PETS
We often get asked if Miniature Pigs can live together with other animals. Pigs, both Miniature as well as Traditional and Rare breeds, can get used to living with other pets.
Recently we have been asked whether chickens can live in the same pen as the piggies. Although many pigs are good natured animals, when you buy piglets they may not have come across chickens when they were growing up and so they may get scared of them, this may also be the case with the chickens. In fact we have come across this situation during our visits when the chickens did get scared of the pigs!
Although we have seen our piggies live in harmony with wild birds (pigeons, crows, etc), the chickens, on the other hand, are very likely to be scared of pigs. On the side of caution, we would not put pigs with chickens in the same pen to start off with. Once the animals and the birds get used to each other being in separate enclosures, you may find they tolerate each other very well, but this requires time and patience to ensure that all your pets remain safe. The enclosure for both pigs and chickens would need to be much bigger to accommodate the needs of every species.
Miniature Pigs can live happily with other pets too such as dogs, cats, rabbits, etc. However, it is always best to bring up the animals together when they are young so that they get grow up together. When this is not possible, such encounters must be supervised, especially when it concerns dogs. Dogs, by nature, are preditors and most love to chase a moving object or an animal. Some breeds of dogs such as Hounds, Gundogs and Terriers which are hunting dogs as well as Pastoral and many Working Breeds and have a stronger prey drive than other types such as Utility or Toy groups. A sqealing running piglet can present a lot of temptation to any dog which could result in a bad situation. Therefore, we always advise to never leave your piglet with any dog unattended for this reason.
SHOULD I GET ONE OR TWO MINIATURE PIGS? WHICH GENDER IS BETTER – MALE OR FEMALE?
Because piggies are such social animals and one would not always have the time to be around them, we recommend that they are bought as a pair at least. They would keep each other company and be easier to maintain in the long run. As long as the male you buy is neutered (castrated) there is no reason why you couldn’t purchase one of each sex, it is very much a personal preference. In our experience, the piggy’s temperament is not dependent on their sex, but rather breeding lines and socialization. We have both lovely and friendly girls as well as neutered boys – some girls and some boys are more laid back than others – it is all down to their unique personalities, a bit like with us, people, isn’t it?
The exception to this is entire (not castrated/not neutered) males. They have a lot of hormones circulating in their bodies from the moment they are born which only increase as they grow. These boys are only interested in two things – fighting with other pigs and finding love! They can be very sweet towards people but as soon as another pig appears on site they quickly change and can become dangerous. We have a very lovely young boar, absolutely adorable and not aggressive towards us, but is very aggressive already towards other males (neutered and not) and is not interested in being a pet! So, for this reason, we only sell castrated males, who then become the most wonderful pets because they have no hormonal distractions and because we socialize them very well from the moment they are born.
Regarding female pigs. Again, their temperaments depend on the breeding lines of their parents and the socialization programme when they were born. Well socialized and loved girls would make wonderful pets even if they are not spayed (neutered). This is especially true if there are no males around! Some female pigs, a bit like female dogs, would benefit from being spayed to ensure their temperament remains stable as during their season their moods can fluctuate. However, not all girls have mood swings. If you are at all concerned about your piglet behaviour, always contact your farm veterinary surgeon for advice and to see if spaying could be a good option.