Teacup Pig Advice

Efficient and Effective Basic Caring Tips for Teacup Pigs

As most of you may already be aware, adopting small pigs or mini pigs as they are known has now become a craze for pet lovers. They may come in different names such as micro mini, teacup, pixie and miniature Juliana pigs but all refer to an intelligent, social animal that are proven to be great companions as pets. They usually grow to be about 25-45 pounds and may reach 10-15 inches in height at the shoulder. There are breeders that claim to raise mini pigs that will be smaller as adults but be sure to look at the parents first before being convinced that they will really be that small. The life span of teacup pigs is expected to be about 15 to 20 years. If you are considering keeping one or two in your home, you need to piggy-proof your residence first so that they will be given proper care. These teacup pigs are naturally curious, active and friendly critters but with patience, can be successfully housebroken after a time. They can even be taught a lot of tricks and training them as house pets is not a problem at all.

However, before you commit to keeping mini pigs as a home pet, you also have to consider first what is really involved in caring and growing them. Just because you have seen Victoria Beckham and Paris Hilton parading their teacup pigs around that you should rush to buying one for yourself too. These adorable animals are not to be taken as fashion accessories and simply a passing fad. So before undertaking such a long term commitment, you have think hard how you are going to indulge in the loving companionship that a micro pig can provide. Pig ownership is not about how lovely they look in your arms but it should be more about how well you are able to care for them. Do not worry though, this article will guide you through the steps and with patience and understanding on your part, you are surely going to breeze through the first weeks of owning a teacup pig with success. Just bear in mind that the care and feeding of these miniature pigs are similar to that of larger potbelly pigs so you need not fret so much.

Here’s a rundown on what you should ask yourself first in order to be fully prepared in caring for micro pigs.

Do you have enough time to spend with them? Teacup pigs are very sociable animals and they loved to be cuddled a lot so you have to give them a particular time every day. Ideally, they should be kept in pairs so that both of them can have fun together and avoid getting bored.

Can you allocate the appropriate space in your home for them? If you are living in apartments or condos, you might reconsider before getting two pixie pigs. However, you can easily create a certain corner for them, just be sure that your place is piggy proofed.

Are there regulations in your area that prohibit the upkeep of farm animals including teacup pigs? You have to be sure about this so that you will not have regrets later.

Caring Basics for Teacup Pigs

Generally, pigs like to root and the micro ones are no exception since it is in their nature. Thus, you have to look around your neighborhood where you can take them out regularly. If you have a backyard, find an adequate space with shelter, where they can roam around at certain times. This is ideal when they are still under a year old but when they grow bigger, you may consider letting them stay outside for most of the time.

While they are still small though, about 6-10 months old, it is recommended that you create a controlled environment for them. A gate similar to those used for puppies or toddlers should be placed to block the doorway of their own space. A blanket may be placed in a corner to serve as the bedding and a litter box several steps away from the bedding can be prepared too. Since teacup pigs are clean and intelligent, they can easily learn to use the box with proper training. For food dishes, a flat pie pan will do and a dog drinking can be used for water. Ensure that the area you choose to be the piggy house is draft-free for their safety.

Prepare your expectations beforehand that the cute, tiny pig you got from the breeder will remain the same. You have to expect them to grow bigger especially if you have not seen the size of their parents. They are indeed delightful pets and can conveniently fit into a teacup during their tender age, but a fully grown pixie pig will of course outgrow the teacup. At this point, let me warn you that a lot of breeders out there today may claim that their litter will only grow up to a particular size. Be cautious about these claims as no one can really guarantee up to what size can mini pigs grow. Here at Pampered Piglets, we gladly show photos of the parents upon request to assure all our buyers that we are selling only the most miniature breed.

A special feed specifically for micro pigs should only be the food that will be given to them. There are a lot of manufacturers that supply these teacup pig food such as Mazuri, Purina, Heartland, Manna Pro, Nutrina amongst others. Even if they tend to eat anything, it is up to you to control their diet to avoid getting them obese. They may also sleep a lot if you feed them the wrong food. Giving them the right piggy chow will enable them to get adequate nutrition without gaining unnecessary weight. Those micro pigs who are still in its infancy stage can be freely given plenty of food which can amount to one and a half cups of feed daily. Those really small teacups will eat less.

You can supplement the micro pig’s diet with small servings of fresh vegetables as they grow older. Fresh fruit however, should be limited as these contain high level of calories and sugar. When the time for training them comes, use treats to encourage them. But you have to limit bribing them with treats as well to avoid making them spoiled and overweight. Another drawback is that mini piggies can get very aggressive when they are not given the goodies that they want.

When you think you are already completely prepared to get a micro pig as a pet, then you can head over to our various available piglets for sale. Take note of the breeds so that you will find one that best suits your preferences. Congratulations in owning a wonderful pet, in advance!

Guinea Pig – Behavior

An important thing to know as a guinea pig owner, is the behavior of your piggy. This can help to tell you when he/she is not feeling well, when they are angry, or happy, or even lonely.

Piggies are attention seekers by nature. They can get very lonely very quickly, so they will make noise and hop around, sometimes just to get your attention.

Aggression

When a guinea is angry, you will often hear their teeth chattering. It is rare, but if they are directing it at you, they want you to stay away, so please respect his/her space. Piggies rarely chatter their teeth at humans and hardly ever bite, be aware that if they are very mad or upset, they may nip. Pay attention if you have two piggies in one cage, one may be chattering his teeth at the other, this can lead to a fight. It usually happens when two boars (male guineas), or two sows (female guineas), meet for the first time. They are just sorting out their hierarchy. The fur around their necks will raise to make them look larger. They will sway from side to side and slowly show their teeth. If you see your piggies doing this to each other, it is best to separate them before a fight breaks out, just watch your hands. Place a towel over their eyes to confuse them and separate them at that time.

Barbering

Barbering is when a guinea chews on another guinea’s fur. Some speculate it is a sign of dominance, but I think they are just being nice. Other piggies on the other end of the barbering may sit calmly as they are trimmed, others may become agitated and headbutt the other, or worse.

Begging for food

Piggies love to beg for tasty treats. As they grow in confidence, they will start wheeking when they suspect their veggies are on the way, sometimes they will even stand up on their hind legs, just like a puppy! They get very excited and look in your direction with eager eyes, hoping you have seen them.

Biting

Guinea Pigs rarely bite their owners. Most of the time they just nibble or nip as a way of communication, especially the young ones who are still learning. There are a few reasons why your piggy may bite. Make sure you are holding him/her properly, if you don’t the guinea may get worried you are going to drop them and nip at you as if to say “Hey, be careful!” If you have been holding your piggy for a while and they start to nibble on your clothes, this may be a way of communicating to you that they need to use the bathroom, so to speak. Try not to hold your piggy any longer than 10 – 15 minutes at a time. Remember, they can’t cross their legs and hold it like we can. Most piggies will try to avoid doing it on you but if you have a particularly comfortable one who doesn’t mind, keep a towel under them when you are holding them, to protect your clothes. Not all will nibble on your clothes, some may fidget, or moan at you, this means they would like to be put back in their cage.

Some Piggies bite by accident, when you are feeding them. They get excited and forget to distinguish between fingers and food. Also be careful after you have been handling food, wash your hands or they may mistake your finger as the treat. Biting may also be caused by a parasite like mites, if you are pettign a piggy with mites, it can cause great discomfort and they will do anything to stop the pain. They may try to nip the area to get some relief but if your hand is in the way, you may be nipped instead. For more information about mites, please read my health care article.

Biting of the cage bars

Some piggies are prone to biting the bars of their cage. Some will only do this when they want food, or they hear something makng them think food is on the way. They will start wheeking, but if the chef is taking too long thy will start biting the bars out of boredom and/or loneliness, even if you spend a lot of time with them. They do need a cage mate after a while, if you have owned a piggy for a while and are confident in caring for him/her, consider getting another so that they can keep each other company. They will also bite the bars if their cage is small and they do not get much roam-free time. The lack of exercise can stress them out. Please try to provide a larger cage, especially if you plan on getting another piggy, and let your guinea out for a run around the house once in a while. Piggies need their freedom.

Eating Poo

If you notice your piggy duck their head underneath and see they are munching on something, they are actually eating their own poo. It may sound gross to us, but it is very natural behavior for guineas. Rabbits will also eat their own poo. They are not the usual poo you see in the cage, this is softer and smaller. Piggies do this to re-ingest the ‘soft poo’ because their digestive system does not extract all the vitamins from the food right away.

Depressed

If you notice your piggy is hunched up in a corner, looking sad, or depressed, this may indicate an illness. Try to offer them their favorite food, if they show no interest at all, please take him/her to the vet right away. It is very important to do so because a piggy’s health can drop rapidly, it is important to catch things at the first sign.

Freezing

Piggies will often stand still for a short period of time if they are afraid or they have heard a sudden loud sound they are unfamiliar with. It is their way of making themselves invisible and letting others in the group know. Freezing is often accompanied by a small vibrating sound, this indicates they are afraid. This behavior may happen hen the phone rings or someone knocks at the door.

Licking

Like most pets, some guinea pigs love to lick you when you hold them. Think of them as guinea pig kisses. Not all piggies do it, about 3 of 6 piggies love to give out kisses. Some think it is because our skin is salty and they enjoy the taste, I am not all that convince and I believe it is more of an affectionate behavior.

The Mating Dance

Males and Females both participate in this dance. They will swing their hips back and forth and make a vibrating sound, known as motorboating. Do not be alarmed if your female piggy starts the mating dance with another female, she is probably just feeling hormonal.

Mounting

Usually this is seen as a sexual behavior, however, it can also be a sign of dominance towards another guinea. A dom male may do this to a submissive male, usually when they first meet, they are just sorting out who is the boss, or the king of the cage. A female may also mount another female if she is in season or if a neutered male is not paying attention to her. It is all very normal, so do not worry if you see same sex piggies mount each other. However, if males are doing it to each other, watch out for signs of aggression, you do not want a fight to break out.The actual act of mounting, only takes a few quick seconds, but after a rest, the mounting will commence again. Before the mounting commences, there can be quite a bit of a chase involved. The piggy that is being pursued, may sometimes complain and/or become annoyed. As long as you don’t see any aggressive behaviour, the commotion sounds much worse than it actually is. Having said that, being constantly chased can be exhausting and stressful, so if you have a spare cage, it might be a good idea to separate your guinea pigs, so they can have some peace for a little while.

How to Make Homemade Guinea Pig Toys

Guinea pigs are very social, playful animals. They require daily attention and care. It is necessary to provide them with a wide variety of toys for them to play with when they are lonely or bored. Here is a list of exciting homemade toys that your pet will love.

Socks– Everybody has at least a few pair-less socks that are lying around somewhere. Good toys to make with these socks are:

Sock pillows: Fill an old sock with hay and tie the end off. My guinea pig loves to drag these around.

Play-Socks: Find a holey sock and put it in your pets cage. He will likely run into it and stick his nose out of the holes.

Sock Stacks: Simply stack a huge pile of socks in your guinea pigs habitat. Watch they climb up and jump down. Geronimo!

Sock Hammock: Much like the popular ferret’s toy, this is just a little hanging bed. To make, cut open a sock so that it is in the shape of a square. Using a hole puncher, make four openings in the corners of the sock. Tie four separate pieces of string on the corners, then join them at the top by tying them together. Attach to the top of the cage so that the bed hangs two or three inches off of the ground.

Seed Sock: Tie up a sock as you would if you were making a sock pillow. But instead of filling it with hay, fill it with seeds. Tie the sock to the top of the habitat and cut a very small hole at the bottom of the sock (the hole should be slightly larger than the seeds inside the sock). Now your pig can pull seeds out of the sock if he gets desires a crunchy treat.

Tennis Sock: Put a tennis ball in a sock without holes and tie off. He will drag it around and even toss it. Replace the sock if it rips (unless you want the ball rolling around).

Boxes N’ Bags– Guinea pigs love these to hide and play in! Your guinea pig will love these.

Boxes: You can put a plain box in the cage, or a box with out a bottom. You can stack them to build a castle, or cut them up to make a fort. You can even tape them together to make multi-level houses! Guinea pigs love boxes, so be sure to give yours some to play in.

Paper Bags: My guinea pig absolutely LOVES paper bags, and will amuse himself for hours playing in such a simple toy. I think he just likes the way that it crinkles.

Towels– These are good as make-shift beds, forts (if you hang them up in the corners of the cage), blankets, and even separators, if you want to have a wall in-between parts of the cage.

Little things for guinea pigs to roll, toss, drag, sit on/in, and look at-

Crumpled up newspaper, cat toys with bells, tennis balls, little bowls/containers (like butter tubs or lunch meat containers), mirrors, small stuffed animals, plain wooden blocks (without sealants-just plain old dull blocks), bricks (stack them), toilet paper tubes, and tissues. Tissues are my guinea pigs favorite food group.

Have fun!