Funeral services for the Teacup pig will be held tomorrow at 9am. Please celebrate the long overdue death of this mythical creature by loving a pig of any size.
The extinction of the Teacup pig is a symbolic one since there is actually not a breed of pig called a Teacup. It is nothing more than a marketing term created by some guy who took a picture of his baby potbelly pigs in a teacup. Let me repeat that, baby pigs. They may have fit in a teacup the day they were born, but reality is they won’t, or shouldn’t, past a week old. At that age they should not be going to their new pig parents.
The term Teacup pig has caused a lot of heartache for both the pigs and the owners when they are dumped at a shelter when they get too big. Most shelters are ill-equipped to handle a pig and ship them off to a sanctuary, or worse. The problem here is pigs are very loyal animals and do not do well being passed from owner to owner. It can cause depression or aggressive behavior problems.
Because of this large dumping problem many miniature pig breeders are given a bad name regardless if their pigs have ever been dumped or not. Many are subjected to outright bullying on forums like Facebook. Sanctuaries call them irresponsible, greedy, and animal haters; when in fact the opposite is usually true. The responsible breeders not only take care of their breeding stock and babies, but field countless calls from unethical breeders looking to make a buck, not caring what happens to the pig down the road. Nicole Beck at DB Farms in Idaho says her average weanlings are 8lbs, they can range from 5-10lbs. This is at 6 to 8 weeks old. Clearly they are not going to fit into a teacup!
Together, breeders and owners can help put an end. If both parties stop using these ridiculous marketing terms and stick with Miniature Pig, it will go a long way to setting realistic size expectations. There are several breeders, large and small, that are going by height and length. California Mini Pigs and Custom Creation Swine in Indiana, who breeds pigs large and small, both work hard to dispel the myth of the pig that will be less than 20 punds full grown at five years. 30 lbs is rare, potential mini pig buyers should expect 40-80 lbs for the smaller miniature pigs. Full Potbelly pigs will average 80-150 on a proper diet. Breeds like Ossabaws, Meishans, Kune Kune, and Mulefoots are typically larger. Even when mixed with a potbelly they will range from 100-300 lbs depending on breed, diet, and exercise level.
Height of miniature pigs can range from 10 to 20 inches. Buyers should always ask for the age and height of the parent pigs. You want to see sows be at least 2 years old for a good height reference. After 2 they will fill out more, but not gain much height skeletal-wise. If visiting a farm do not be afraid to take a tape measure and scale. Honest breeders will have no problems helping prove the size of their pigs. Be aware there is always the possibility for throwbacks, a larger or smaller pig can appear from genes from previous generations. Nothing is 100%.
Diet will play a very important role in the size of a miniature pig. Starving a pig to keep it small ends up with a sick pig. Feed designed for mini pigs should be fed at a portion of 1-3% of the body weight. Meaning a 20 lb pig should be given between 3.2 and 9.6 ounces of pellets split into 2 meals daily. So when a breeder tells you ¼ cup of pellets twice a day, that is on the lower end of that spectrum. You should always go by sight; you never want to see the hip bones of a pig. A helpful chart is available at extension.org. Vegetables are essential as well. You want low calorie snacks to be celery, cucumber, squash. If your pig demands snacks frequently do not give in and/or replace some snacks with ice cubes. Keep fruits to a minimum, as they still have sugar. Never give a miniature pig processed human snack, no white flour products, no candy, and no meat.
I hope you understand why it is so important to stop using the terms teacup, nano, pocket, or any other name the breeder has pulled out of their hat to bring attention to their pigs. Honest breeding with quality pigs is what should bring attention to a breeder, not glitzy names that have no set size standards.