Oink! 7 things we learned about owning mini pigs in Birmingham

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Extra sweet in a sweater. Photo via Piggy Patch Farm’s Facebook page

From cute little legs to adorably sweet snouts, mini pigs are sure to make your heart melt. We spoke with one local mini pig owner in Birmingham who filled us in on all things oink. Here’s what we learned.

Meet Matilda “Tilli” Jane

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Sweet baby. Photo via Ronni Roye

She’s a five-year-old micro pig from Piggy Patch Farm who’s living her best life in the greater Birmingham area. 

Owned by Birmingham local Ronni Roye, Matilda is said to be sweet and affectionate, a master of snuggles and a true social butterfly. She even carries a dwarf gene, which makes her extra pocket-size.

1. Owning them is easy

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Matilda getting and giving snuggles. Photo via Ronni Roye

When we see something cute, the first words out of our mouths are typically “I want one!” But more often than not, the desire quickly fades. So what made Ronni go from wanting a pig to owning one? 

“I’ve loved pigs since I was 14 and always said I’d have one some day. I researched for two years to ensure Piggy Patch Farm truly bred mini/micro pigs and even did a site visit to meet the breeding parents on the farm.  I put down a deposit, chose the piglet, and then picked up Matilda two weeks later when she was completely weaned. She was small enough to fit in my hand!”

But with a pet, comes a lot of responsibility—some requiring more than others. Dogs, for example, need to be walked and bathed, while cats basically do…well…whatever they want. So how do mini pigs fair?

“I’ve owned just about every pet you can imagine and Matilda’s by far the easiest to manage. She walks on a leash, travels well in the car and loves everyone she meets.”

2. Vet visits are minimal

When owning a pet, it’s important to have a veterinarian on hand for any medical issues that may arise, and to ensure they are up-to-date on their shots and checkups. For mini pigs, a farm animal certified veterinarian is a must.

Luckily, when owning a mini pig, vet visits are typically minimal. Other than their yearly round of shots, they typically only need to visit the vet when they need to have their hooves trimmed or are ill. 

3. They cost as much as some dog breeds

On to the big question: how much do they cost? Generally anywhere from $800-$1500—comparable to specific dog breeds like shelties and ridgebacks. 

4. They’re super smart

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Just looking for a comfy seat. Photo via Ronni Roye

Think dogs are smart? Mini pigs may give them a run for their money. Not only are mini pigs affectionate and are said to pick up on the emotions of their owners, but they can be trained to perform lots of fun tricks. 

Matilda, for instance, can sit, stay, lay down, twirl/spin in a circle, play dead and even jump off a stair platform—all on command. And for a tasty mini marshmallow treat, of course.

5. Socializing is a mini pig’s expertise

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Snuggles with the family dog. Photo via Ronni Roye

Looking to enhance your social skills? Then take a cue from mini pigs. According to Ronni, mini pigs like Matilda are incredibly social animals. Come to think of it, Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web really did enjoy having friends.

“Mini pigs thrive on attention. They’re very social with people and other animals. Matilda snuggles with our cats and also did so with dogs we’ve had in previous years.”

Sounds a lot more chill than living with three cats like I do.

6. They LOVE food!

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Chomp, chomp. Photo by Christopher Carson via Unsplash

Rip open that chip bag or crinkle that snack wrapper and you’re bound to see your mini pig appear at your side. Why? Because mini-pigs love to eat—especially human food. But hey, with Birmingham’s always hot foodie scene, they fit right in!

While giving your piggie a small treat every now and again won’t be the end of the world, mini pig owners must be careful not to overfeed them. Because they have sensitive digestive tracts, sticking to a daily regimen is ideal to keep them happy and healthy. So save the extra snacks for yourself or the pantry.

More on mini pig nutrition here

7. Blankets are their favorite (+ other essential supplies)

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Snuggling like a baby in a blanket. Photo via Piggy Patch Farm’s Facebook page

Just like owning a cat, dog or other pet, your mini pig requires special supplies to keep them safe, happy and healthy. Here’s what they need:

  • Mini pig pellet food and a flat dish/pan to eat from. You can find pellet food at any local feed store.
  • Water bowls. You’ll need several because mini pigs drink lots of water.
  • Animal bed. One suited for large dogs will work. 
  • Lots of blankets. Mini pigs love to roll, root and “make” their beds at night. So the more blankets, the better. 
  • Stuffed/plush toy for piggy snuggles.
  • Animal crate for traveling. Again, one for large dogs should do the trick.

More Mini Pig Must-Knows

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Posing for pics. Photo via Piggy Patch Farm’s Facebook page
  • They’re loud. According to Ronni, Matilda “snorts and ‘talks’ a bunch…even snorts when she snores. That took some time to get used to, but after five years, we hardly notice.”
  • They have over 10 different vocalizations, all which can help inform their owners what they think and want. 
  • They’re good travelers. As long as you have a good crate to tote them in and essentials like food and water, they are ready for a pig-friendly joy ride.
  • They like to flip over garbage cans. So be sure to keep them inside a closet, pantry or other place they won’t get a snout boop. 

Do you have a mini pig? Tell us what you love about them on social @bhamnow.