It can be important to know how old a pet pig is. Especially if you’re planning to buy the animal. Many micro pig scammers lie or bend the truth when making their claims about the pigs they’re selling. So, it’s in your interest to learn how to estimate a pet pigs age because it may prevent you from being scammed.
How can you find out how old a pig is? Well, this isn’t easy, but with the help of a vet, or a pig expert, it is possible to make an educated guess.
A good breeder will keep a record of when their pigs are born. However, it’s not uncommon for bad breeders to lie about the age of their pigs, thus making their pigs seem small for their age. Again, this highlights the importance getting a pig from a reputable breeder or a sanctuary.
Height and Size
Pigs are fully grown around 2-3 years of age, but, they may have an occasional growing spurt between the ages of 3-5 years. A vet, or a pig expert, could assess your pig’s size and give you their opinion on its age.
Teeth & Tusks
Pigs’ teeth can also be used as a way of estimating their age. Most pigs have two sets of baby teeth, and a final set of adult teeth after they’re two years old. A vet, or a pig expert, should be able to view a pigs teeth and make an estimate how old the pig is.
Tusks can be used to guess the age of males. Usually boars will grow protruding tusks at around 2-3 years of age. The eye teeth (which grow into tusks in males) grow throughout a pig’s whole life. Females can get ‘tuskettes’ later in their lives. A sow with these will probably be around 10 years old or more.
Weight can be used as a rough guide but there are drawbacks. On average, a pet pig should gain a pound a week from birth, so a year-old pig will be roughly 52lb in weight. However this method will only work if the pig has put weight on in a healthy manner, they must not be overweight. This method is useless with fat pigs. Also, different breeds may gain weight more quickly than others. This method can only be used as a very rough guide at best.
Behaviour can also indicate a pig’s general age. Piglets grow fairly quickly until they’re roughly two years old. Once a piglet reaches two you may notice a change in their behaviour as, at two years old, your pig has become an adult. This is the age where they’ll try to assert their dominance over the rest of the herd (this includes you and your family). They may start to fight more, become aggressive and naughty. This is perfectly natural behaviour for a pig but can be problematic for the owner. Pig training can help to minimise the problems that may arise when the pig reaches the terrible twos (we’ll cover more on this subject later).
Once a pig is four years old their behaviour should have mellowed. Pigs older than four are usually very chilled out and relaxed (excluding pigs with behavioural problems).
A pig’s behaviour can only be used as a very rough guide to determine their age.
Females start coming into heat at around 6 months of age. Signs include a swollen vulva, a change in mood or behaviour, and they may become noisier(they will whine and moan).
If you stand behind her and place your hand on her back, and she doesn’t move then she’s probably in heat.
If you’ve adopted an older female that doesn’t come into heat, she’s probably been spayed.
Pig Age Conclusion
As this section shows, there is no real way to determine a pig’s age accurately. Pig’s teeth are the best method, but even this will only give you an approximate age. If you’re unsure, get an experienced pig owner or a vet to take a look at the animal. They will be able to make a better guess than you.