Choosing a breeder or rescue is one of the most important considerations when adding a pig to the family. The right breeder or rescue will provide you with a healthy, socialized pig/piglet to become part of your family. Your breeder can make this the best or worst possible experience so choosing an honest, ethical, well respected breeder is essential. How will you know? Ask questions, do your research, and ask for references.
Look for an AMPA Registered Breeder who has been thoroughly screened, provided photos of their pigs living conditions, provided proof of age and photo documentation of sizes of their registered breeder pigs. You can find a map and list of AMPA Registered Breeders here. Learn how to recognize if a breeder is AMPA Registered by clicking here.
A GOOD BREEDER SHOULD
- Be knowledgeable. She/He should answer all your questions and provide as much info as you need without hesitation.
- Have a lot of resources for you to research before and after you add a pig to your family.
- Allow visits on site. You will want to see the parents in person and the conditions the piglets are raised in. If you are too far to visit, your breeder should provide current photos/videos upon request or references from customers that have visited.
- Make you sign a contract. The contract should protect you as the buyer in your investment as well as the pig.
- Take back pig regardless of situation. Responsible breeders don’t want their pigs on Craigslist or in shelters. They will always take back their pigs to find a new suitable home.
- Allow contact before and after. Your breeder will be a fountain of information and experience. You should feel welcome to contact him or her at any time, before or after bringing home baby.
- Talk about parent pigs as much as the baby. The baby is a product of the parents. Size, health, genetics, disposition, personality, these all come from the parents. Your breeder should enjoy his/her adult pigs and have stories to tell about them.
- Provide health records.
- Should tell you the cons of owning a pig and not just the pros.
- Should spend time with piglets and know their personalities well.
- Have references of previous customers, as well as veterinarian.
- Spay and neuter before the piglets leave. If spay surgery is not available the breeder should have separate agreement or contract for spays.
- Explain vaccines, pros and cons, and why they are needed and risks involved.
- Gives size expectations in height, NOT in weight.
- Gives realistic size expectation. No healthy adult pig will be 10-20 pounds.
- Spends time with the babies handling them and socializing them.
- Ask you questions to make sure your family situation is ideal for a pet pig and to make sure you have the information you need to care for the piglet.
- The piglets should go to their new home when they are on pelleted feed only– not milk.
- A responsible breeder will want to stay in touch and receive updates on your baby.
QUESTIONS TO ASK THE BREEDER
- How long have you been breeding mini pigs?
- Why did you choose these two pigs for a breeding?
- What age do you start breeding your pigs (male and female)?
- How old are the parents now? (Pigs are not mature until 3-5 years old. Younger than this will now show their full growth potential)
- Do the parents have any genetic flaws that you know of?
- Have the parents suffered from any diseases or health problems?
- What age do you take the piglets from mom? Do you have a set schedule or do you let mom decide?
- Do you ship or transport across state lines? What veterinary care or certificates do you provide for this? Have you used this airline or transport service before?
- Do you clip needle teeth?
- Do you vaccinate and deworm the babies? Was mom dewormed before the piglets were born?
- What other healthcare do they receive before they come home?
- What types of socialization, training, desensitizing do you do for the piglets? (Litter training, picking up, holding, baths, harness, etc.)
- Are the piglets born inside or outside? If they are born outside, do you bring them inside after they are weaned for more human contact?
- Do you neuter males before they are sent to their new families?
- Will you take back the pig in the event my family is no longer able to care for him/her?
- What breeder did your breeding stock come from?
- What size have previous piglets grown to from these parents?
- What enrichment do you provide to give your breeder pigs a good quality of life?
- What food do you recommend?
- What type of litter was the baby trained on?
- Have you retired any of your breeding stock? Why was that particular pig retired?
- What vaccination schedule do you recommend, and why?
- What veterinarian do you use and why did you choose him or her?
CHOOSING A PIGLET
- Piglets should be active, alert, and appear healthy.
- A piglet should have open eyes free of crust or discharge.
- A piglet should be well rounded without protruding bones.
- There should be no signs of illness.
- The piglet should have solid bowel movements and urinating appropriately.
- They should be clean and free of odors (unless they have been traveling in a crate).
- Healthy hair and smooth skin free of rashes, irritations, bumps, scaling, or bald patches.
- Piglets should be proportional. Straight tails. Deformity free. Skin condition should be checked. Not overly dry or red. They should be friendly and not timid of human contact. Steady gait. Clear eyes.
- Piglets should also be eating solid foods before going to their new homes and completely weaned from mom. Mini pigs should be socialized and with their litter and parents for a minimum of 6 weeks, 8 weeks is recommended.
RED FLAGS-BREEDERS TO AVOID
- The breeder should have a take back policy or assist in re-homing. If they will not take back the pig at ANY time in the pigs life, for ANY reason, then this is a breeder to avoid. It should be important to the breeder to always know where ALL their babies are, to make sure they are well cared for throughout their life. This is the cost of bringing lives into the world. The breeder should be responsible for their piglets for the duration of their lives. Taking responsibility for their placement in the event you can no longer care for your pig, and never allow them to go to a 3rd party without their screening is important. A good breeder should never want their pigs to be a burden to rescues, human societies or sanctuaries.
- If a breeder purposely takes piglets from mom before 4-6 weeks, you may want to avoid this breeder .
- Breeders should ask questions on your experience, your research of pigs, your family situation, kids or other pets in the household, to make sure you have a pig experienced vet, adequate fencing, housing for the pig (indoors, outdoors, and weather appropriate accommodations).
- Pigs should be altered before sale or adoption. Spay/neuter contracts are impossible to enforce. If the pig doesn’t get fixed or is re-homed before altering then they may suffer from mistreatment due to hormonal behaviors, unscrupulous breeding practices, or cancers and infections of the reproductive system. If a person or organization is willing to adopt out an intact pig then they are not motivated 100% by the pigs’ best interest. This could be misinformation, selfishness, urgency, or other factors. There are situations where a pig needs to be homed before a spay or neuter surgery can be done. Some breeders may not have local veterinarians that can spay a female especially before a certain age. In this case, a breeder should make sure that you do have a local vet that can perform the surgery, and explain the necessity and expense if not included in the price of the piglet.
- If you have had pigs in the family previously, the breeder or rescuer will want to know what happened to those pigs, if they were rehomed or died (and how they died).
- Your personal feelings on euthanasia may be asked– do not be alarmed. Opinions on this practice will vary by individuals, but a responsible breeder will want families that share their views.
- Breeders should ask what you will do if an expensive veterinary bill comes up.
- Feeding should be addressed before taking home piglet/pig to make sure the new families are aware of nutritional needs of the pig.
- If a breeder or rescuer is ready to hand over a pig without asking some or all of these questions, then beware– they may not be around when you need them the most.
- Gender confusion: If a rescue or breeder is confused on the gender of a pig they are not educated enough on pigs to give you all the facts. If they are confused on gender then PLEASE consider any information they give you as a *maybe true*. If you are not prepared for variables in the adopted pig then please seek a reputable rescue organization that can help you find the perfect match.