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It happens every few years. First, photos of a celebrity with their newly-acquired “teacup” or “micro” piglet makes the media rounds. Next, a piglet-buying frenzy ensues, prompting unscrupulous breeders to dupe people into believing that the pigs they breed will remain a manageable size into adulthood. Finally, without fail, these so-called “teacup,” “dandie,” or “micro” pigs grow up to be a not-so-micro size (between 50 - 100+ lbs). Most are eventually given up to be euthanized or put into overcrowded shelters. It’s a sad tale, and it happens far too often. Though there’s definitely plenty of information out there to dispel these “micro-pig” myths, people are still being swindled by breeders wanting to make a dishonest buck. So, we thought we’d do our part to continue educating animal lovers on this important topic.
First of all, there’s really no such thing as “teacup” nor “micro” pigs. These names are simply marketing ploys meant to fool people into believing that their cute baby pigs will remain pint-sized for the rest of their lives. In actuality, these are miniature pigs which were bred to be smaller than farm pigs, but (and this is a very big BUT) miniature is a relative term. Most people don’t realize that normal-sized farm pigs typically grow to be around 7 feet long and weigh in at a whopping 700+ lbs! Though small in comparison to farm pigs, miniature pigs (pot bellied pigs also fall under this category) are certainly NOT mini when compared to common household pets like cats and dogs. Smaller mini pigs weigh around 50 lbs (the average weight of a Siberian Husky), and larger ones typically weigh a bit over 100 lbs (like medium-sized Rottweilers), but the majority of mini pigs fall somewhere in between. That’s a huge difference from the ridiculously low numbers typically stated on “teacup” pig sites which claim that their pigs will grow to be between 20 - 30 pounds! Some breeders will even suggest that you feed your pig a “special diet” of only a quarter cup of food per day in order to regulate their size. In essence, they’re telling you to starve the pig in order to unnaturally (and cruelly) stunt its normal growth.
So now that you’ve been warned about how large these “mini” pigs can actually get, you should also know that all of those lovely stories you hear about pigs being super intelligent, affectionate, and loyal are absolutely true! For those who are properly educated and equipped to care for these amazing animals, there are a whole lot of pigs in shelters and sanctuaries waiting to be adopted into loving families.
By Maya M.