Achieve Your Dream of Getting a Small Swine Companion

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There are few things that make me squeal more than the sight of piglets, or any well-kempt and reasonably sized pig, really. I’ve wanted a miniature “teacup” pig ever since I first learned they existed. And I’d always heard great things about pigs: They’re smarter than the average pet, affectionate, social, hypoallergenic (also, they don’t shed), and very similar to dogs and cats. They can learn tricks, be walked on a leash, and even be litter box-trained! But pigs are also highly intellectual animals that require a lot of attention and care that dogs and cats don’t, and they can become destructive if they aren’t properly tended to or don’t get the activity they need. They should never be kept in a small pen, or left alone with free range of the house. While they love to lounge around with you, they also need space and a yard to graze, run, roll around, and be a pig in. For pet owners who can provide all that, they can be great indoor/outdoor companions for the suburbs and even the city (just make sure to check the zoning restrictions in your area).

But after doing a bit more research about how to acquire a tiny pig, I was crushed by what I found: innumerable articles with headlines like “Never Buy a Teacup Pig” and “Why I Cringe When People Buy Teacup Pigs.” As it turns out, the terms “micro mini” and “teacup” are merely referring to the size in relation to full-grown farm pigs, and not to actual breeds. A company on the internet selling “teacup pigs” could very well be part of a popular marketing scheme in which dishonest breeders sell tiny piglets (all baby pigs are tiny!), which then grow to be much larger than promised, and are often just regular potbellied pigs. When the pig reaches maturity or an owner decides it’s too much work, many decide to surrender the animal to a shelter.

Portlander Megan Chasteen says her family’s beloved potbellied pig, Bentley Oliver, was an unexpected blessing. “We had a potbellied pig several years ago, but lost her too soon and weren’t planning on another pet until this little guy kind of fell into my mom and dad’s lap,” she says. Chasteen says they have no idea who the breeder was.

“My mom got him from a regular customer (my parents own a pub in Roseburg) whose daughter and son-in-law changed their minds about wanting him,” she says. “Their customer knew my family had had a pig before, and it was pretty much love at first sight.”


Pigs are simply not meant to be that tiny.


That’s one way to ethically adopt. Full-grown potbellied pigs can be the size of a dog, but will weigh between 80 and 150 pounds. Paris Hilton, who’s known for popularizing pigs as pets and often scrutinized for using animals as accessories, bought a “Dandie Extreme” piglet from Royal Dandies, a breeder in Oregon. Paris expected her piglet to be around 25 pounds at full maturity, but a recent photo of the $3,500-plus pig shows that Miss Pigelette is much bigger than that. To her credit, Hilton also lands on the side of pet owners who already love the pig and end up keeping it regardless of its size. The “teacup pig” phenomenon has otherwise resulted in shelters reaching their capacity of full-grown homeless pigs.

There’s also a lot of crossbreeding going on to achieve smaller pigs’ more manageable size. Though there’s debate as to whether they’re even a breed, Juliana pigs are said to originate in Europe, and are naturally small (around 40 pounds) due to selective breeding. The folks at Heart2Heart Farms—a family-owned business in Sherwood that prides itself on organic products, sustainable practices, and humane treatment of animals—has four kinds of pigs, including a “City Pig,” which is a cross between a runt American Guinea Hog, Kune Kune, and Juliana. They also offer a “Foster Piglet Program” every year as an option for those who are on the fence about having a city pig as a pet. It started as a way to prevent runt piglets from being culled, but now has become a great way to increase piglet health and survival. After applying, paying a $50 registration fee, and a $50 refundable deposit (when you return the piglet in sound health), you have the opportunity to take care of a piglet for five weeks (it needs to be bottle-fed raw cow and goat’s milk every few hours for the first few days). Then you can choose to either adopt the pig or return it to the farm, where it’ll either become a domestic pet or breeding stock.

Potential pig owners should also be aware of the amount of misinformation that some breeders give about proper diet for teacup pigs, recommending special food in small amounts in an attempt to keep it under a certain weight. Too often, this results in little pigs dying of starvation or malnutrition. Pigs are simply not meant to be that tiny. In addition to feed, pigs should be snacking on fruits and vegetables and grazing throughout the day. Needless to say, buying a “teacup” pig from a place on the internet touting “some of the world’s smallest pigs” is not a wise idea. read more…

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Anything to encourage reading?

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Meet the Adorable Pig Who Travels to Different Libraries Inspiring Kids to Read

Pigs are incredibly intelligent and emotional beings. Studies have shown that pigs possess the ability to empathize with one another, they can perform tricks just like a dog, and they even come running when they hear their name. And now we can add yet another talent to the ever growing list of a pig’s attributes: literary ambassadors.

Yep, you read that right. Daisy is a Potbellied pig who spends much of her time traveling from library to library across the United States to teach children that reading is fun.

Back in 1995 in Bristol, Connecticut, Paul, and Victoria Minor had just said goodbye as their youngest child left home. One day Victoria drove by a sign that advertised piglets for sale. Always wanting a Potbellied pig and feeling a bit lonely, she picked the runt of the litter, named her Daisy and went home with a surprise to Paul.

It was a match made in heaven for both Daisy and the Minors. Daisy started participating in the Boys and Girls Club “Kiss-A-Pig” fundraiser, where people pay money to get community notables to kiss a pig. Daisy was a perfect fit for the fundraiser given her patience and love of people. Then, the Hartford Library children’s librarian asked the Minors if they’d consider bringing Daisy in for story hour.

Naturally, kids loved Daisy and Daisy loved them. After just a couple years, Daisy had so many gigs that Paul Minor gave up his day job and took Daisy on the road full time. Daisy died of old age in 2009, but now Daisy 2 has taken over and continues to help teach children that reading is fun.read more…

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This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home

A video captured by one resident shows the 55-pound Gaston hogging all the attention while sniffing around a West Side Avenue garbage can. Another resident snapped a photo of the miniature pig with a police officer.

John Paul, Gaston’s owner, said his family just moved to Ege Avenue from the Heights the day before the two-year-old pig’s escape.

“We thought we baby-proofed the backyard,” Paul told The Jersey Journal. “He likes to look for adventure.”

Gerry McCann, the former mayor who works for the city Department of Public Works, told The Jersey Journal he was at West Side and Virginia avenues early yesterday morning on a mission to help clean up trash when he spotted a group of cops nearby.

McCann said he thought something was wrong until he walked closer to the officers.

“I looked down at what they’re staring at and it’s a pig,” McCann said with a laugh. “The pig was going all over the place.” Read more…

Interesting Story – It’s the story of the pig. And, it’s the story of a veterinarian

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This is the story of a Hinesville woman who wanted a pig all her life and finally got one in August.

It’s the story of the pig. And, it’s the story of a veterinarian who decided to take a chance.

The woman’s name is Pilar Odria. Her potbellied pig is Gracie Lou, which when full grown will weigh around 45 pounds, Odria said.

The veterinarian is Dr. Hunter Brigdon, who practices at Richmond Hill Animal Hospital.

That’s where Gracie Lou wound up Oct. 10, her outlook so bleak Bridgon wasn’t sure he could save her.

“I didn’t think she’d make it, to be honest,” Brigdon said.

This was two days after Hurricane Matthew, which played its own part in this story.

The storm

Odria and her three kids evacuated late, leaving after Hurricane Matthew started knocking down trees and fences and power lines. But because the Odrias couldn’t find a place for the family’s three dogs, three cats and Gracie Lou, her husband Albert sent the wife and kids to safety and stayed behind to ride out the storm with the pets.

On Oct. 9, while Odria was gone, Gracie Lou was let out into the family’s fenced back yard for a bathroom break. The storm had knocked down enough fence to leave the pig exposed to a stray dog.

It tore into the Gracie Lou’s hindquarters, exposing bones and vertebrae before Albert could come to the rescue.

He soon found help, including family friend Justin Nelson, who apparently knows a thing or two about treating pigs. Nelson doctored Gracie Lou as best he could, but told Odria by phone the pig would need to see a vet. Odria packed up her kids and headed back.

On Oct. 10 – two days after the Hurricane – Odria called Brigdon, who’s been a veterinarian for only five years but apparently has seen his fair share of

pigs. And he didn’t hesitate when he got Odria’s call.

“Immediately he said ‘bring her right over,” Odria said.

What Brigdon saw when he first took a look at Gracie Lou wasn’t good, but he decided to give it a try. Six surgeries later, the pig is healing nicely. Read more…

 

Needle-free vaccination lifts performance

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Improved weight gains in both weaners and fatteners as well as easier application and less stress on the pigs are among the benefits noted by the owners after the switch to a new intradermal vaccine on the Brady family pig unit in Longford.
The IDAL (Intradermal Application of Liquids) gun can be used for administering Porcilis PCV ID, the vaccine that protects against PCV2 (Porcine circovirus type 2), one of the major disease threats in Irish pig production. Dermot Brady and his father Donal, who run a 2,000-sow integrated unit, started using the IDAL gun for PCV2 vaccination last March and are very happy with the results. “The needle-free system is much easier to use and is less stressful on the pigs. It eliminates the risk of broken needles which can result in needle pieces remaining in the tissues, causing serious issues during and after processing. There is also less risk of transmitting disease from pig to pig,” said Dermot.
“The IDAL system involves giving a low volume injection of just 0.2ml of Porcilis PCV ID to each piglet. Another big advantage is the flexibility of the vaccination site. Rather than being confined to the neck it can be given at side of the neck, along the muscles of the back or in the hind leg,” he said. Performance The Bradys were previously using a different vaccine, administering a 1ml dose at 14 days old using needles. Since switching to the low volume Porcilis PCV ID needle-free system, they have experienced a significant improvement in pig performance. “Our weaners have gone up by around 30g/day and are now approaching 700g/day. The performance of our fatteners has gone up by as much as 50g to around 1,000g/day. This is a very significant and welcome improvement,” said Dermot. read more…
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