You don’t have to look far to find people who’ve been conned when buying a teacup pig, micro pig, or a pet pig. Any animal which costs a few hundred pounds/dollars to buy will always attract its share of rouges, con-artists, and incompetent breeders. In this guide, we cover some of the worst pet pig scams and how to avoid them.
All piglets, regardless of the breed, are small when they are born.
A Micro Pig is only a few inches tall when born; piglets like the large white, and other hogs, are also a similar size when born.
Even after a few weeks, you’d only see a few inches difference in height between the two breeds if you could compare them side by side. It would take a few months for the size difference between the breeds to become apparent.
This makes the mis-selling of piglets easy. During the first few weeks of their lives it’s easy to pass other breeds off as a miniature pig. Sometimes this is done intentionally, and by the time the unwitting pig owner knows something’s wrong, the rogue breeder is gone. The pig usually ends up becoming far bigger than was promised, and the unlucky owner usually hasn’t the means to take care of the hog properly.
Another scam is where a buyer has bought a pig from a clueless breeder. This breeder is ignorant of the animals he himself has bought – but has decided to breed and sell them anyway. The piglets either ends up the size of a farm hog, or they’re a completely unsuitable breed for the buyer’s home – they’ve been sold a pig prone to rooting or an aggressive breed.
Other clueless breeder antics involve selling pigs and providing no advice on how to keep them as a pet correctly. They inform the new owners that it’s fine to feed a pig cat food (as they’re omnivores) or that it’s fine to feed the pig on weaner feed for the rest of its life – neither of which are true. These are just a couple of examples of the bad practice I’ve heard of over the years. These clueless breeders are not malicious, they’re just idiots.
A pig is fully grown by around 3-5 years old. However, a pig can breed when it’s as young as one year old. Some bad breeders will then sell the piglets, from a year-old pig, and claim they’ll only grow to the size of their mother. The buyers don’t realize that the mother pig still has some growing to do herself, meaning the piglets will be bigger than the promised size. Although pigs between 1-3 years old don’t grow much in height they do fill out, especially around their waste and rump.
One of the worst scams I’ve seen is where the breeder starves the piglets to keep their size down. They also usually finish the weaning early to aid this process. Not only is this downright cruel, it significantly increases the chances of health and mental problems in the pigs as they get older (more about his later). Healthy piglets should not have their bones showing through their skin – they should be energetic, bright and alert.
It’s Going to Stay Small
Another situation I’ve seen and read about in the news, where a buyer has bought a legitimate Micro Pig, but it has then grown beyond what the buyer expected. The buyer is unhappy as he thought his pig would be much smaller than its parents.
All I can say is simply this – do not let your heart rule your head. If you have bought a Micro Pig and you have seen its parents then you should have an idea of what you are going to be dealing with once the pig reaches adulthood.
Viewing the parents will only give you a rough idea of size. The pig you could buy could be slighter bigger or smaller than its parents, there is nothing you can do about it, this is nature at work. Good Micro Pig breeding lines should, on average, produce young which are slightly smaller than the parents – even then you’ll be looking at a few centimetres at the most.
However, if you have been sold a pig and the breeder has claimed that the pig should grow to be substantially smaller the sizes I’ve mentioned previously, this is a different area of concern. You should be very dubious about claims where the breeder states that their animals are well below 14″-26″ height average. To my knowledge there are no breeds worldwide which are significantly smaller than those heights. Steer clear of anyone promising claims like this as they’ll probably be bogus.