Historically pigs have been seen as big and dirty, but now the trend is to have domesticated pigs as pets. Called teacup pigs, they will eventually reach a weight of thirty to sixty pounds. When compared to their pig brethren, who can weigh anywhere from two hundred to six hundred pounds a teacup pig is the way to go if people want a pig as a pet.
Miniature pigs have been around for the last fifty years when Vietnamese potbelly pigs were imported in the 1960′s and used for medical research. After that miniature pigs started showing up in zoological exhibits, attracting attention of individuals who wanted to have the miniature pigs as pets. That is when the miniature pig trend began.
Unfortunately, miniature pigs were still considered farm animals by many city ordinances and the trend for miniature pigs soon faded out as city dwelling people had to find new homes for their pigs.
Here enters Chris Murray. Chris lives in Devon, England and started experimenting with breeding the miniature pigs in 1998. It took nine years, four different breeds, and twenty-four generations to finally develop what is called the Teacup Pig. Chris introduced the Teacup variety in 2007 and he will only sell them in pairs. Teacup pigs got their name because of Chris Murrays’ love of tea and it is not the name of the actual breed.
Teacup pigs are intelligent, lively, and are motivated constantly by the thought of getting & eating food. So they need activities to hold their attention. It is a good idea to have a wide variety of toys that the pigs can play with and a grassy area so that the pig can graze. If the pig will live with a city dweller regular exercise is a must. Teacup pigs are just like dogs and need regular exercise, fresh air, sunshine. It will entertain them for hours and keep their attention on something besides food.
When it comes to feeding, teacup pigs do not have an “I’ m hungry” switch they are always wanting to eat so it is important to have scheduled feedings for the teacup pig because they will eat everything on the plate and try to convince their owner that they are still hungry. Also a teacup pigs’ diet will differ from a farm pigs’ diet. Farm pig food is designed to add bulk to the pig in a few short months so they will be ready for sale. The teacup pig does not need that rich a diet so plan on a strict schedule with measured portions to keep your teacup pig happy and healthy.
It will take the teacup pig two years to grow to maturity and should be about the same height as a Cocker Spaniel with a lifespan of twelve to twenty years. Teacup pigs are low maintenance requiring about the same care as a canine and can be trained to use a litter pan. The teacup pig will have to be socialized at an early age and will go through a stage of development where it will try to establish dominance over the owner. A stern, but gentle attitude will be needed to show the pig who the alpha in the home is.
Before anyone invests their heart and home into these unique pets there are a few things that should be done: The zoning in your neighborhood will need to be checked to see if a pig can take up residence. Potential owners can check with their cities’ zoning board to make sure. Also make sure that you are buying from a reputable breeder. If the breeder is a serious one they will have a history of the pig including the veterinarians physical , release for sale, and recommendations from past clients. And lastly keep in mind the cost of raising your teacup pig. The average price for one teacup pig is $1,000.00. Also keep in mind veterinarian costs, shots, and food as your teacup pig is growing.
Once the decision is made to purchase a teacup pig enjoy them! They are wonderful, funny, and loveable companions who will give you years of friendship.