Make pigs good pets

Mini pigs in the garden: tips on keeping

More and more people are choosing the little pigs. Here you can find out what you should consider when keeping mini pigs in the garden.

Cute, clever and sweet as sugar - mini pigs are taking people's hearts by storm and are finding more and more lovers who are happy to offer them a home. The small domestic pigs have been bred since the 1940s and, thanks to the growing interest in them, there are now numerous breeds and crosses. Especially their high intelligence predestines the little pigs as pets - with a little training they can be raised well and can even learn tricks. In addition, mini pigs can build a strong connection with their caregiver and show themselves to be particularly cuddly and affectionate. If you too are curious about the miniature pigs, you will learn in this post how you can best keep the pigs and what else you have to consider when handling them.

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Keeping mini pigs in the garden

Whether as a pet or as a hard-working gardener for self-sufficient people, keeping mini pigs is becoming increasingly popular. The animals are particularly happy to be kept in the garden, because a basic requirement for keeping pigs is sufficient space for the intelligent animals. Anyone who can offer them this has a good chance of keeping their mini-pigs successful.

Why keep mini pigs in the garden?

If you want to have a pig as a pet, you quickly think of small, pink, handbag-sized animals that can easily be kept in the apartment. However, the animals are rarely suitable for keeping in the house: With an average shoulder height of 50 centimeters and a weight of up to 100 kilograms, the adult mini pigs are anything but tender and can cause some damage in the house. So-called "teacup pigs", which are particularly petite and small and are often presented as pets on television, are rare and often have health problems as a result of excessive breeding.

If you still want to give a mini pig a home, you should think about keeping it in the garden, because the robust animals feel particularly comfortable here, after all, they have enough space to move around freely. In fact, there should be at least 100 square meters of exercise available per pig - this is only possible in the rarest of cases if the pig is kept in an apartment. In addition, pigs are particularly curious and like to explore new terrain, which is why they are better off in a garden.

Challenges in keeping mini pigs in the garden

Mini pigs are cute, intelligent and cuddly - these arguments alone ensure that many people want such an animal as a resident in their garden. But even if keeping mini pigs in the garden is recommended, you should be aware that it also has disadvantages. Unlike dogs, cats or ducks, mini pigs leave clear traces in their territory, because they like to rummage through the ground with their trunks for something to eat. Lawns, flower beds or vegetable gardens quickly look like a battlefield when the pigs can run around freely in them - an escape-proof run for the pigs is therefore the be-all and end-all if you want to continue to enjoy a pretty garden. But not all plants are safe for mini pigs either. Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) or the above-ground part of potato plants (Solanum tuberosum) are absolutely poisonous for pets and should therefore only be found within safe reach of the pigs or, better still, be avoided altogether.

Keeping mini pigs properly in the garden

Proper posture in the garden is essential for mini pigs to feel good. Most importantly, you should keep in mind that mini pigs are very social animals that naturally live in packs. Keeping pigs alone is therefore not recommended, because the animals quickly develop behavioral problems here and can even get sick. Animals other than society are not sufficient either - you should therefore always keep at least two, better three pigs together. In addition to the right company, space and proper nutrition are also important for the welfare of the animals.

Space and stable for mini pigs

Even if mini pigs are not among the largest animals, they are not satisfied with a mini-sized exercise area. In fact, at least 100 square meters of exercise should be available per pig for species-appropriate housing, but there is no upper limit. Larger run-out areas have the additional advantage that individual areas can be cordoned off as required. This not only gives the vegetation time to recover from the burrowing trunks of the little pigs, but also gives the new pets the opportunity to explore new areas over and over again. Various surfaces within the run offer additional comfort: sand is good for lying down or wallowing, lawns are more suitable for playing and digging and paved areas remain mud-free even when it rains.

tip: Thorough fencing is also important when running out in the garden: Your fence should be at least 80 to 100 centimeters high so that the pigs cannot run away. In addition, the fence should be particularly stable and anchored in the ground, as pigs, thanks to their great curiosity, examine it or nibble on it. Due to the current threat to domestic pigs from African swine fever (ASF), the fencing regulations are currently being adapted. Your local veterinary office will inform you of the current regulations. The regulations can vary between the federal states. In principle, double fencing is always required - this is intended to prevent the mini pigs from coming into contact with wild boars and from being infected with animal diseases such as ASF.

In addition to the exercise area, the animals should be provided with weather protection in the form of a stable or a dry shelter. This should have at least an area of ​​four square meters per animal, at least one square meter per animal must be littered. The barn must also be well insulated in order to offer the pigs adequate protection from the cold and wet in winter, but also a cool, shady spot in summer. The shelter should also be divided into different functional areas in order to increase the welfare of the pigs. This includes a soft, littered berth, a (littered) toilet corner and a paved feeding area. The so-called Nürtingen system has particularly proven its worth as a berth: around 130 centimeters high resting boxes are set up inside the stable, which are closed and insulated on three sides and closed with plastic strip curtains on one side. This has the advantage that a normal outside temperature can prevail in the barn and does not have to be additionally heated, but the animals can still find a warm resting place in the crates.

Diet of mini pigs

Pigs are known to be not overly fussy about their meals. Mini pigs are no exception. The lively omnivores are characterized by a particularly good appetite and eat almost everything that comes under their noses. For this reason, it is particularly important to ensure that the cute animals have a balanced diet: Pig feed, as used in fattening, is not suitable for mini pigs because of its high energy content, as they would otherwise quickly become fat. Vegetables, bran, corn and a little fruit are more suitable - meat, on the other hand, should not be fed as there is a risk of disease transmission.

Although pigs are wonderfully suited for the sensible use of vegetable waste such as potato peel, caution is advised here too: some foods that are safe for humans, such as onions (Allium cepa), Avocado (Persea americana) or cocoa (Theobroma cacao) are poisonous to pigs. In addition to the above-mentioned feedstuffs, there should always be enough grass or hay available as basic forage, which, due to its low energy content, is not only ideal as food but also as a material for occupation. Overall, around 1 to 2% of its own body weight should be available to the mini pig as food. Of course, the mini pigs must always be supplied with fresh drinking water - pigs are not only true omnivores, they also drink large quantities.

Employment and care of the mini pigs

Mini pigs are particularly popular as pets because of their extremely cuddly nature and their very intelligent nature. Unfortunately, the animals quickly get bored if they don't have enough activity. The first steps to entertain the animals can already be taken when designing the exercise area: piles of stones, brushwood or logs are structural elements that encourage movement and support the pigs' natural curiosity. Toys like ropes that can be pulled or balls also create a happy atmosphere.

But the pigs are also happy to receive attention from people - many pigs especially like to be petted or brushed with the help of a brush. This is not only for personal hygiene, but also strengthens the bond between the mini pigs and their owner. If you want to promote the intelligence of your pigs even more, you can resort to so-called clicker training: through positive reinforcement you can teach the clever animals all kinds of tricks and thus use them physically and mentally.

Red tape in keeping mini pigs

The acquisition of a dog or a cat is usually only associated with a few bureaucratic hurdles - with the mini pig, on the other hand, it looks completely different. Since the small pigs are still part of the livestock breeds, special requirements are placed on their keeping - there are no exceptions for pure hobby keeping. For this reason, it is advisable to contact the responsible veterinary office before buying your first mini pig. This can provide more detailed information about bureaucratic processes, obligations as a pig farmer, but also local regulations, for example about infected areas.

Furthermore, the keeping of mini pigs must be reported to the competent authority, the animals must be identified and a herd register must be kept. In addition, mini pigs must be reported to the animal disease fund. If the livestock owner suspects an epidemic in his animals, he is obliged to report this immediately, which requires that he knows about the most common pig diseases. If he does not do this or does not register his pigs in the animal disease fund, he can be held liable with his private assets in the event of an outbreak.

If you are now interested in keeping animals in the garden, you will find our article on keeping running ducks here.

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Frederike

I am a student of agricultural sciences and a real village child. At home I have a small vegetable garden that I tend and look after, and I prefer to spend the time outside. When I'm not outdoors, I love to write. My love is not only for plants and writing, but also especially for the animal world.
Favorite fruit: currants and raspberries.
Favorite vegetables: salsify, savoy cabbage and potatoes.