Pot bellied pigs have been gaining in popularity for several years. Many celebrities have owned pot bellied pigs and in 2010 vouchers for Royal Dandie Miniature pet pigs (pigs that stay under 40lbs.) were even given away to them at the Golden Globes. Piglets are becoming popular!
Reasons why pot bellied pigs and other pet pigs are so popular are numerous, but one thing can't be ignored - they sure are cute!
12-18 years (but sometimes over 20)
Normal Rectal Body Temperature
99.3 degrees Fahrenheit (you can easily check this with a thermometer from the drug store)
There are a few different "kinds" of pot bellied pigs and they are classified by their size. Breeders disagree on names for sizes, appropriate weight of said sizes, and whether or not you can achieve a healthy "teacup" or "mini" pig. The height of different kinds of pigs also plays a role in determining what title they are assigned.
The kinds of pot bellied pigs below may be called different things depending on the breeder, rescue, or organization. If you are purchasing anything other than the regular pot bellied pig, be sure the pigs are not just malnourished or underfed to achieve a desired weight and size. Some breeders will breed young pigs who aren't full grown to make it look like their "adult" parents are small since pot bellied pigs don't fully mature until they are 2-3 years of age. Most pot bellied pig experts say there is no healthy way to have a pig smaller than 50 lbs. and if you do have a small pig their lifespan will be greatly reduced to only a few years since their health has been compromised in the breeding process. Needless to say, there is much debate in the pig world on this topic.
Other names for different sizes of pigs exist but these are the most commonly seen kinds.
Pigs are very easily overfed. Many full grown pot bellied pigs (of all sizes) are obese due simply to overeating. Although weight can vary from pig to pig, there are some key signs that your pig is overweight. For example, if a fat roll covers your pig's eyes then he is too fat. Your vet will help you decide the ideal weight for your pig based on his height and body condition.
As a basic rule of thumb, piglets can be fed regular pot bellied pig chow starting at 3 weeks of age (but you shouldn't be getting a piglet until they are at least 6 weeks of age). 2 cups of pig chow is a good starting point but should be adjusting if your pig is too fat or too thin. Most people recommend free feeding throughout the day but others still prefer the two meals a day method.
25% percent of their total diet can consist of vegetables (limit the starchy veggies) but fruit should only be offered in very small quantities since they are high in natural sugars. Below is a basic guideline of what to feed your adult pot bellied feed.
Remember - do not overfeed, do not feed chocolate or salty foods, do not feed fatty foods (especially animal fats), do not feed dog or cat food, don't give him food directly from the fridge (he will learn how to open it), and make your pig work for his food by putting it in a ball or pan with dirt to root in.
By following these basic guidelines for pot bellied pig care and the recommendations from your exotics vet, you and your pig should have a happy life together.