Before you get a pot-bellied pig you need to learn a few things about them, both for your sake and for the sake of the pot bellied pig.
Pot bellied pigs come from Vietnam and China and were introduced into the United States in 1984. The original line was all black but breeding has resulted in many colors and patterns. Pot bellied pigs became all the rage and many people bought them and then, as they ran into trouble, abandoned them. This is still the case today. Sanctuaries have had to be established just to house all the abandoned pot bellied pigs and there are many, many pigs up for adoption.
Pot bellied pigs are called miniature pigs and they are when compared to the typical farm hog that weighs in at over 1000 lbs. However, when the pot-bellied pig is fully mature at four years, he will weigh between 100 and 150 pounds, not the adorable little pet you saw in pictures. Some unscrupulous breeders will tell you that if you underfeed your pig, it will stay small. This is cruel and it will only result in health problems and deformities.
Long before the pot bellied pig has reached maturity; he can wreck havoc with your house and yard. The piglets will chew on anything within reach-electrical cords, magazines, your purse. He will also root in the house and in the yard damaging lawns and flowerbeds. Rooting is an instinctual trait and cannot be trained out of the pot-bellied pig so he needs an area of the yard that is just for him.
Pot bellied pigs can be aggressive and should not be left alone with children. They will do much better if they can spend most of their time outdoors and if there are at least two of them. Pigs are herd animals and are hierarchical so you need to establish yourself and other members of the family as the top pigs. Discipline must be gentle but firm and consistent. Do not keep a dog and a pot bellied pig together. The pig is prey for the dog and many pigs have been injured or even killed by dogs.
Let’s say you are prepared for a big pig, have outdoor space, and are prepared to train your pig. You want a pot-bellied pig. You shouldn’t have to buy a pig; there are many in shelters that need good homes. However, if you want a piglet, there are many breeders and your pig can even be shipped to you. Beware any breeder who isn’t honest about the pig’s size and behaviors.
A pot-bellied pig can be easily housebroken because it likes to be clean. It can also be trained to use an indoor box that has shredded newspaper or pine chips. Do not use kitty litter. The pig will eat the kitty litter, which will then clump in the pig’s stomach causing big problems.
There is commercial pot bellied pig chow and this should be used for most of the pig’s feeding. When he is 3 weeks old, feed you pig 2 cups of chow a day twice a day. When the pig is one year old, this may be scaled back a bit.
The pot-bellied pig will need an outdoor mud hole. It needs mud to cool off, to protect against sunburn and to ward off insects. It is easy to hose the pig off.
One of the most intelligent animal in the animal kingdom, the pot bellied pig is trainable (but sometimes stubborn) and affectionate and will provide you with 12 to 18 years of piggy companionship.