Do I Really Want To Breed My Pet Pig?
Potbellied pigs usually have 6 to 8 piglets in a litter. If you are considering breeding your pet pig, it is wise to make sure that at least 3 or 4 babies are placed into good pet homes, prior to breeding. This means you should have deposits and signed contracts in hand. Sometimes people say they want a pig, but when the time comes they do not get it. It is the experience of many breeders and pet owners who breed that they really cannot completely depend on someone who says, “If your pig ever has babies, then I would like one of them.”
In many areas of the country, City Councils require that potbellies living within the city limits be registered. Be sure and keep this in mind when choosing a boar. Both parents will need to be registered for you to be able to obtain proper registrations papers for your litter.
Piglets are hard to place into proper pet homes and they demand a great deal of care. The mother pig requires shots prior to and after farrowing. The babies require shots from the time they are a few days old. Also, all of the male pigs must be neutered before they are placed into pet homes. It is virtually impossible for someone to have an unneutered male as a pet. They are just too amorous and have a musk gland that becomes active by the time they are approximately six weeks old. It is also advisable to have the females spayed. During their heat cycle, some females experience terrible cases of PMS. They cry waiting for the boar to arrive, or think the family dog might make a good substitute. Families find it hard to live with this type of female pig. To avoid having a bad result from having a pig spayed, it is always best to have this done by a Veterinarian who is very familiar with this type of procedure.
The potbellied pig as a pet is quite different than a cat or dog. It is your responsibility to carefully screen the prospective family, just to make sure that the pig is going to the right kind of home. The new pet owner needs to be fully aware of how to care for the piglet so that it is not given up to a shelter because of lack of knowledge regarding the proper care and nature of potbellied pigs. Not everyone should have a pet pig.
When you breed your pet pig, this is what you can expect. Your female pig will need to travel to the boar and be with him for two to three months. Even though your female has been having her monthly heat cycles, it usually takes a boar in close proximity to bring your female into ovulation. Thus, she will more than likely not be bred the first month. In the beginning of her stay she will fight with the boar because he is not part of her herd. You can expect her to be bitten, scratched and possibly have her ear torn while they are fighting. It is important that both the female and the boar are up to date on all their vaccinations. It is also wise that the pigs be blood tested for the primary swine diseases prior to being placed together. There have certainly been occasions when the visiting pig has become ill and even died from being exposed to new bacteria and viruses that it did not have in its own environment.
It is highly unlikely the novice breeder can recoup her investment, much less profit by breeding pigs. Once the stud fees have been paid, mandatory veterinary care has been provided, housing the piglets and their mother has been done, and the enormous investment of time with the piglets and their new owners has been accounted for, very few people come out ahead by selling potbellies. Today, only breeders who have spent years developing their reputation and a market for their piglets can hope to make a profit.
Breeding pigs has its emotional costs, as well. Ask any breeder what it is like to see a sow through a difficult birth or Cesarean section, or to witness the death of a beloved pet sow or her piglets. It is not unusual for some member of the litter to have a medical emergency before the litter goes home. Death plays as large a role as life when it comes to breeding pigs.
Should the pet owner decide to move forward and become a breeder, she should strive to produce each new litter as an improvement over the last. Good breeders consider carefully with whom their pig breeds, as she tries to find a good tempered boar that is not closely related, whose bloodlines will strengthen her own pig’s weaknesses and will emphasize her pig’s good qualities. Since most boars are owned by breeders and not kept as pets, the experienced breeder is a valuable resource to the novice and can help her make the appropriate choice of a mate for her pig.
If after considering the personal, financial, and time investment you will need to give your pig, the piglets and the new family, you still think that breeding is appropriate for you, seek the advice and guidance of a good potbellied pig breeder.
Remember there are already too many unwanted pigs. As a pig lover, it is better to try to help rather than hinder this unfortunate situation. You must make certain that you have a home for the majority of the expected litter, before it is even conceived.