Charlotte's Web of lies...?
October 5, 2014 7:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm doing some research on Juliana pigs, miniature pigs supposed to weigh less than 70 pounds at maturity and get no taller than a labrador.

There are claims that this particular breed of pig is congenitally small, and healthy that way. The breed standard backs this up, but I don't know how it's actually enforced. However, other sources opine that there is absolutely no such thing as a miniature pig, and that pigs sold as pets will invariably grow to be over a hundred pounds, and that such pigs are usually underfed when sold or inbred with resulting health problems and will end up euthanized in an overcrowded shelter.

I have found a small local breeder and I intend to ask to see the little piglets' parents with proof of age, which should resolve some of my questions. But I hoped someone on AskMe might have more intimate knowledge of the subject they could share.

Is there such a thing as a mini-pig? Is it ethical to have one?
posted by dee lee to Pets & Animals (5 answers total)
I just ran across this National Geographic article yesterday:

It doesn't speak to the specific type of pig you refer to, but to my mind it suggests that contributing to the market for so-called mini-pigs is conceivably unethical: so many have been relinquished and the pig sanctuaries (yes, we have these now) can't keep up. So if you have a large yard/paddock, maybe adopt some adult pigs that someone else gave up.

(Colours to the mast: while I too see the tremendous allure of these adorable creatures, I am generally against buying -especially baby- animals when so many adults are in need of homes and are free or near-free to boot.)
posted by Halo in reverse at 7:43 PM on October 5, 2014 [5 favorites]

We took on a baby minature piglet, Celery, and I have to caution you that pigs have very particular characters. We had to return our Celery to the breeder because of incompatibility between her approach to life and ours. Pigs are social animals and as intelligent (or more) as dogs, read wily; be careful.
posted by anadem at 10:42 PM on October 5, 2014

Anecdotally, my sister got a pot-bellied pig from a well-respected breeder. We were assured they didn't get over 70 pounds. Try more like 200. And we heard many many similar stories from other people with pigs that grew much larger than they were expecting.

Another thing is pigs are hungry all the time; they don't have the ability to feel full, so they will always be searching for food. You really have to carefully measure what they eat to control weight, and it can be really hard when your hungry piggy is looking at you, begging for food.
posted by catatethebird at 5:23 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Whether or not their specific weight claims are true, a 100 pound pig is a miniature pig.

Full grown pigs are usually around 400 pounds and in some cases can be over 1000 pounds.
posted by nolnacs at 9:12 AM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

It is *very* common for pet pigs to get bigger than their owners expect them to, and then they fill up places like the pig sanctuary next door to my parents when the owners can't keep up with them. I am not sure how much of this is due to breeder misrepresentation and how much is due to would-be pig owners not doing their due diligence... but the frequency with which this happens suggests breeder misrepresentation is probably a major issue.
I would be extremely wary of getting any kind of pig without being prepared for the long-term care of a very large animal. Pigs are high-maintenance and most people would be better off getting a pet dog instead. (Also, if you do end up going forward with pig ownership, make sure that you know where your pig will get veterinary care -- depending on where you live this can be prohibitively difficult to find for non-standard pet animals.)
posted by anotherthink at 11:07 AM on October 6, 2014

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