Two Mini Pig Experts Answer Common Questions about Raising Mini Pigs
What should I know about raising my mini pig?
What would I feed a mini pig?
Are there any watch-outs?
If you’re raising mini pigs, we know there are a lot of questions. We’re tapping into two experts to help answer them.
First, let’s meet the experts:
Melissa Nicholson owns and operates Prissy and Pop’s Helping Hooves, a 501c3 non-profit farm located in north Florida. Helping Hooves is home to over 50 rescued farm animals, many of which are pigs. Melissa’s first two mini pigs, Prissy and Pop, are social media sensations with nearly one million combined followers on Facebook and Instagram.
Dr. Nichole Huntley is a Mazuri nutritionist and has a Ph.D. in swine nutrition. She formulates diets, conducts research and provides technical support for the Mazuri team. Dr. Nichole is passionate about improving mini pig health and wellbeing through good nutrition.
Here are Melissa and Dr. Nichole’s responses to common questions about having a mini pig:
Question: What should people know before they add a mini pig to their family?
Melissa: I’ve had mini pigs for years now, and I love them. They’re always happy to see me. They love belly rubs and make the best snuggle buddies and adventure companions. Pigs are one of the smartest animals in the world, but it can also get them into a bit of trouble when they open a cabinet or refrigerator door – so toddler-proofing the house is essential!
Pigs have an instinct to root and graze, so indoor pigs need to get adequate time outdoors.
Another important thing to remember is all pigs will grow up. The term “mini” refers to their size in comparison to a typical 300-700-pound pig you’d find on a farm. While smaller, mini pigs can still get to be 200 pounds. Diet, exercise and genetics all play a role in size – like they do with people.
Dr. Nichole: Building on what Melissa said, pigs are natural foragers and exhibit rooting behavior. Luckily, there are all kinds of enrichment activities you can find online – some of the easiest to implement deal with food. You can scatter and hide food pellets, or Mazuri® Mini Pig Treats, in different areas to encourage foraging and rooting behavior. During cooler months, mini pigs can display cabin fever characteristics, so enrichment activities are especially helpful. Plus, enrichment activities can help owners bond with their mini pigs in a fun, exciting way.
All pigs need plenty of outdoor time. They need to run around, dig in the ground, root around and have access to sunlight.
Question: How do you decide what to feed mini pigs?
Melissa: I researched mini pig food and talked to other mini pig owners when I got Prissy, my first mini pig, seven years ago. Ultimately, I chose Mazuri® feeds for her because there were different formulas for different life stages. I continued to feed Mazuri as our mini pig family grew, and we’ve seen nothing but healthy pigs with healthy skin! Our rescue pigs eat it, too.
Another selling point was that Mazuri® feeds have everything a mini pig needs in them. That said, I always add veggies to their pellets to make it more of a salad for them. Occasionally, I’ll mix in fruit as well. For snacks, our mini pigs love peanut butter, Cheerios, animal crackers, carrot sticks and the heart-shaped Mazuri® Mini Pig Treats. Seasonal treat favorites include watermelon, corn on the cob, pumpkin and warm oatmeal.
Dr. Nichole: I recommend selecting a mini pig-specific diet to provide the right balance of nutrients for a long, healthy life. As Melissa alluded to, it’s also important to feed by activity level, weight and age. Mazuri offers three mini pig-specific diets, each tailored to a different life stage:
Youth (0-4 months) – 1.5-3.0% of body weight in feed intake
Active Adult (4-18 months) – 1.0-2.0% of body weight in feed intake
Mature Maintenance (Over 18 months) – 1.0-2.0% of body weight in feed intake
All diets are formulated with biotin, niacin, trace minerals, vitamin E and flaxseed (a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids). These ingredients help support mini pig skin health.
Question: What are some common issues mini pig owners might run into?
Melissa: Quite a few pigs have come to our rescue due to property zoning issues. Pigs, including minis, are still considered farm animals, so properties must be properly zoned to have a mini pig. Homeowner associations often have even stricter rules. I always tell people to check and make sure their property is zoned for a pig before bringing one home.
I also recommend finding a vet who will treat your pig. Not all vets do, so it’s critical to have one lined up before an emergency occurs. A vet is also necessary for routine care and spaying/neutering. We’re very lucky to have a good local veterinarian.
Dr. Nichole: Mini pigs are exceptionally prone to dry, flaky skin – especially during colder months. One way to counteract dry skin is to provide a base of good nutrition and provide correct feed amounts. Too many treats can throw the diet out of balance and exacerbate skin issues.
It’s also important to know when and how often to bathe a mini pig. Pigs that live inside don’t need to be bathed often; a weekly wipe down with a damp towel can help remove dry, flaky skin. Overbathing can strip the skin of natural oils and worsen issues.
Hoof health is also crucial for mini pigs, and hooves should be regularly trimmed. I recommend consulting with a veterinarian or local farrier who can trim the hooves or teach you the proper technique to trim them yourself. Keeping hooves trimmed helps maintain good mobility and can prevent arthritis. Feeding mini pigs a high-quality diet with the right ingredients and balance of nutrients will also support hoof health.
Need more help deciding if a mini pig is right for you? Dig into more considerations.