Cost of Responsible Breeding
Shopping for a pet pig is a confusing journey. There are various size labels that may be used, very different estimated adult sizes, and pricing varies from breeder to breeder. Why is one pig advertised for $50, one advertised for $500, and some priced into the thousands?
There are many costs involved in raising any animal. We all know that they need the basics of food, water, shelter, and vet care. When you are raising animals to produce quality pets, those basic needs and expenses can increase significantly. Their health and quality of life is important so that they may produce healthy, happy offspring.
These costs will vary based on location as cost of living differs greatly. Vet care may be higher in one city or state than another. These costs will also vary based on the choices of each breeder. Some breeders choose basic or elaborate shelters for their parent pigs, some spend more on fencing options than others, some choose to pay association and registration fees. Some breeders choose to spend extra time socializing and training each piglet. There are even breeders who offer care packages to send with their new pigs.
Here are examples and estimates of some of the expenses responsible breeder may encounter to raise mini pigs.
RANGE OF COSTS
Breeding Stock (Parent Pigs)
Responsible breeders purchase their breeding pigs from other breeders whom have provided quality care, history of parents/grandparents, vet history. This can be a great expense depending on the genetics and lineage of the pigs, and cost of breeding rights. Breeding pigs can range from $350-$5000 per pig.
Responsible breeders will spay and neuter every piglet. If their vet does not perform early spay, they offer a spay agreement stating the new owner must have the procedure done when the piglet is old/big enough. Spay and neuter are absolutely required. Lower cost piglets from irresponsible breeders are almost always intact. The burden then falls on the new family to have the procedure done. Cost of spay/neuter ranges from $75-$850 per pig.
Vet Checks, Blood Test, Health Certificates
Responsible breeders provide well health checks by their vet. Health certificates are required for any pigs that are crossing state lines and blood tests if required by the state of entry. Cost of vet checks, health certificates, blood tests range from $75-$275 per piglet.
Any pig crossing state lines is required to have permanent identification. AMPA registered breeders microchip their piglets to have a permanent record as the breeder of the pig. In the event the pig should become lost, stolen, or placed in a rescue or sanctuary the breeder can also be contacted to help the pig. Microchip cost range from $4-$28 per piglet.
Breeding pigs require deworming maintenance doses every 6 months. All piglets should be dewormed before they leave the breeder to prevent internal and external parasite such as mange. If mange in piglets if left untreated it can lead to secondary infections and itchy rashes in the family members. Deworming costs range from $60-$96 a year.
Goat’s Milk or Milk Replacer
In the event of an orphaned litter or an undersized piglet that is not thriving they may need supplemental feedings of goat’s milk. This responsibility should always fall on the breeder if the mother is not able to meet its needs. Costs of goat’s milk or milk replacer per year range from $50-$250 per year.
Piglets that are traveling by car or air need a sturdy, well sized travel kennel for a safe trip. Cost of travel kennels range from $25-45 per piglet.
Transport & Flights
Ground transport or airline flights to your nearest airport to deliver piglets is a service that many AMPA breeders offer. Cost of transport or flights range from $200-$350 per piglet.
Litter Boxes and Litter
AMPA registered breeders start their piglets on litter pan training before they leave. This can make the transition into pig ownership a little easier for new families. Cost of litter pans and litter range from $50-$350 per year.
Mini Pig Pellets
Parent pigs and new babies need a healthy pelleted diet that is supplemented with a variety of vegetables and fruits. This is an important start in the nutrition and health of piglets. Cost of pig pellets range from $1000-10,000 per year.
Parent Pig Vet Care
Parent pigs require regular vet care such as immunization, hoof/tusk trimming, and emergency care. Cost of vet care per year range from $500-$16,000 per year.
First Aid and Medicine
A responsible breeder has a variety of first aid and emergency medicines on hand always until the veterinarian can be reached. Cost of medicine and first aid items range from $50-$250 per year.
Enrichment activities, Toys, Pools
All pigs require enrichment activities and toys. Pools in the summer are a must to keep the parent pigs cool while offering a constant supply of fresh water to keep them hydrated. Cost of enrichment, toys, and pools range from $50-$550 per year.
Structures for Housing
Pigs require protection from the elements. Breeding pig housing are typically very elaborate with electricity, heat and air. This is typically a onetime investment or one that gets added to over time. Cost of housing ranges from $500-$28,000.
Breeding pigs require a sturdy, dependable fence to protect them and to prevent escapes and accidental litters. Fencing expenses can be a continual investment over time, with regular maintenance or additions. Cost of fencing ranges from $250-5,000.
Straw or Blankets
Winter weather bringing cooler temps requires extra straw or bedding. Cost of straw or blankets range from $50-$550 per year.
Piglets need a source of heat. Some shelters are wired with electricity for light, heat and air. Cost of electric range from $70-$275 per month.
Association and Registration Fees
AMPA breeders pay a yearly membership fee and registration fees on the parent pigs and piglets. Association and registration fees start at $50 a year, $25 per parent pig, and $5 per piglet.
Miscellaneous Expenses: There are endless miscellaneous expenses that vary from breeder to breeder and cannot be put in an estimated price range. Internet service, website costs, advertising expenses, phone service, camera, computer, props for photos, leashes, harnesses, water and feed dishes brushes, coconut oil, supplements. Cleaning supplies, shovel, wheelbarrow, rake, picks, farrowing boxes, heat lamps, wood shavings, feed storage containers.
Time and Unlimited Support: Time is the most difficult commodity to put a price on and it is one of the most important qualities of a responsible breeder. Time! How much time does the breeder spend marketing and educating. How much time is devoted to answering questions and providing support to perspective, and current owners of their mini pigs. The time spent handling, bathing, training, and loving on those piglets is priceless! That’s what make a good pet experience for new owners, helping to ensure the pig will spend its entire life in that devoted home.
The Cost of Irresponsible Breeding
A breeder or individual who charges a lower fee has likely only provided the most basic of care to the parent pigs and piglets. They may choose their price based on how much they need financially that month or how much they think they can get for the piglet. The basic care, deworming, feeding and vetting of parent’s pigs and their piglets far exceeds their price. These pigs are far more likely to end up displaced, abandoned, neglected, in shelters, or burdening rescues and sanctuaries. The cost of irresponsible breeding is astronomical and felt throughout the entire community.
Piglets that are sold intact have a much lower chance of getting the care they require to become good pets. The family may be unable to locate a veterinarian willing to do the surgery, or the cost may be higher than expected and unaffordable. Left intact, these pigs alienate their human families with behavioral aggressions and unacceptable hormonal actions. Finding a veterinarian to spay and neuter piglets can be challenging. Veterinarians with less experience with pet pigs may have difficulty performing the surgery safely. Hernias, ruptures, and cryptorchidism is common in poorly bred piglets, increasing the risk and cost of the surgery greatly.
In these cases, the new owners and piglets suffer. The piglets will likely have an illness such as coccidia or scours that has been undetected because of lack of vetting. The piglets will have internal and external parasite, such as mange because of a lack of deworming.
Lack of socialization and human handling can have a lifelong impact. These pigs may not enjoy human companionship as much because they didn’t get that luxury and the opportunity to trust as a young age. Piglets that are pulled from their mothers prematurely to be bottle fed have a far lower survival rate. The ones that are lucky enough to be cared for properly may have long term behavioral consequences from missing out on the mother’s important early teachings.
Based on experiences that many new owners have had, the cost of adding a piglet from an irresponsible breeder can exceed the price of a piglet from a responsible breeder. Owners sometimes spend thousands of dollars on vet care trying to save unhealthy piglets that were originally purchase because of their affordability.
Now you know what goes into the cost of a piglet. When you are shopping for a breeder no matter what the fee is, ask questions. Are the piglets wormed, vet checked, and microchipped? Are the parents and piglets registered? How old were they weaned from their mother? Are they eating a pelleted diet? Have they been handled and socialized to be a family pet? Will they travel with a health certificate? Do you provide support when I have questions? Will you take the pig back if needed? Are they spay/neutered?
No matter the price there are certain basic requirements of care that should always be met before a piglet leaves a breeder.
- Piglets must be weaned properly and placed on a pelleted diet before they leave the breeder.
- Piglets should have healthy eyes, skin, and hair.
- Piglets should have normal bowel movements and no signs of diarrhea when they leave.
- Piglets should be dewormed so they are free from parasite.
- Piglets must be handled and taught to trust humans before they leave.
- Piglets need a health certificate to travel.
- Piglets need to be neutered/spayed or on a spay agreement.
- Support and education must be provided.
- The pig must always have a home with the breeder when needed.
For a list of responsible breeders visit AMPAbreeders.com