- Pets and Animals
The Origin Of Teacup Pigs
Chris Murray , the original breeder of Teacup Pigs needed 9 years and 24 generations of breeding before he succeeded in getting the pigs to the miniature size that they are today.
Teacup Pigs were originally named Pennywell miniatures, named after the farm in Devon, England where the first Teacup Pigs were born.
Chris later renamed the Pennywell miniatures Teacup Pigs after he realized that they shared his love for tea, according to the original TV broadcast on BBC news as far back March 2006.
Teacup Pigs Introduction To Britain in 2006
An Introduction to Teacup Pigs
Is This New Teacup Pig Pet Craze a Storm in a Teacup?
Teacup Pigs are not a storm in a teacup. They are not even pigs in a teacup, except at birth they are so minute they can fit into a teacup, hence their name. At birth Teacup Pigs weigh 9 ounces.
One can hardly believe that Teacup Pigs were originally developed from the Kune Kune Pig, a New Zealand breed, which can weigh up to 200 pounds. This new breed of miniatute pigs, which are also called micropigs, are a mixture of those potbellied pigs with the Tamworth, Kune Kune and Gloucester Old Spot breeds.
In 2007 the breeding of Teacup Pigs on a farm in Devon England was unveiled and with all the press coverage that this understandably received a new craze swept England with Teacup Pigs being the pet of the year among celebrities.
Teacup Pig Breeder Jane Croft
Five months ago Jane Croft was introduced to Teacup Pigs and it changed her life. She was so drawn to these little piglets that she decided to quit her day job and start breeding Teacup Pigs at her Little Pig Farm in England. Her business got a tremendous boost when Rupert Grint bought a pair of Teacup Pigs from Jane. Making headline news this gave Jane the publicity she needed and she is now inundated with inquiries from potential buyers.
Jane sells only 5 to 10 piglets a week and is very particular about who she will sell to. Currently there are no official breeders in the United States, according to a recent article on Today, but I'm sure prospective buyers in the States will not have to wait too long before breeders set themselves up for what seems like a lucrative, albeit demanding business.
How Big Are Teacup Pigs Really?
Fully grown at 2 years of age they weigh on average 65 pounds and are between 12" and 16" tall, about the size of a small spaniel, according to the breeders,
The high demand for these piglets and the limited supply make them expensive pets, costing up to $1,100 each - and they are usually only sold in pairs.
About ten years ago potbelly pigs were the rage but because they get too big to keep in an average residential home their popularity has waned over the past few years. These tiny Teacup Pigs look like they are ready to take over where the potbellies left off.
In Great Britain, owners must be licensed to keep livestock, as the pigs are considered to be farm animals.
What are Teacup Pigs Like as Pets?
They have a projected lifespan of 15-20 years, and are relatively low maintenance pets, requiring roughly the same amount of daily care as a dog.
They are clean and odor free and unlike our dog friends have no fleas. Contrary to what the popular saying "Sweay like a Pig"would lead us to believe, pigs only sweat through their noses, according to Chris Murray the Teacup Pig breeder.
They shed very little hair, which would make them a favorite with me. I have two Jack Russells and a Wiemeraner and they shed hair.
Teacup pigs are quickly house trained and will use a litter box when indoors. You can train them to do tricks as you would your dog and the bonus is that they cannot bark.
Unlike a new puppy Teacup Pigs are non-destructive, although they will eat any food that they can lay their snouts on.
They are excellent pets for apartment living because of their small size but they must be walked daily.
They should also be taken to an area where they can graze on a daily basis.
Instinctively Teacup Pigs tend to root, or dig with their snouts and you will need a soft piece of dirt reserved for this purpose. You may find that without a designated area he will start to dig up your entire garden.
They are low maintenance if properly looked after and should not require more than an annual visit to the vet. Their food intake, if properly rationed, will not cost a fortune.
They are a suitable choice as pets for people with allergies to cats and dogs as very few people show an allergy towards these pigs. This is probably due to the fact that Teacup Pigs have hair and not fur.
They are friendly and affectionate and are said to be more intelligent than dogs, but this is debatable and sure to get a lot of dog-owners backs up. They are fourth in line when it comes to I.Q. with only humans, primates and dolphins/whales having a higher I.Q. than pigs.
Factors to Consider Before Buying Teacup Pigs
In many countries you need special permission to own a pet pig and you must first make sure that your local vet has the necessary knowledge to treat Teacup Pigs. They can become spoiled and manipulative, as many cats and dogs can.
Teacup pigs will require a lot of time and energy as they are prone to laziness and can become aggressive if not exercised daily. To ensure that your pig does not gain excessive weight and to let them get rid of excess energy they should be taken on a daily leash-led walk.
They need company and should not be left alone at home for prolonged periods of time. Teacup Pigs need a garden that they can play in and they generally tend to get along well with the other pets in the home.
Pigs should never be reprimanded by being physically punished but just like children they need to be taught who calls the shots especially in circumstances where they will challenge your authority. They do however take kindly to positive reinforcement and should be given special treats when they accomplish something.
Be consistent in your behavior towards your little pig friend. The entire family must reach consensus as to what is and what is not allowed and these rules must never be broken.
A Teacup Pig will squeal incessantly if they know that you will give in to their demands. Never give a squealing piglet food. Wait until they have stopped squealing or you will find that you have a naughty little pig on your hands (exactly the same as small children).
What Will You Need Feed Your Teacup Pig?
Teacup Pigs should not be overfed - they will eat anything that they can get hold of and because they do not have a thalamus always think they are hungry.
- Overfeeding a Teacup Pig happens all too easily. This is extremely dangerous and can have a detrimental effect on their general well being and even cause their premature death.
- Feed them fresh vegetables and a limited intake of fruit. Vegetables should represent 25% of their daily intake and ideally consist of cucumbers, limited amount of potatoes, celery, peppers and some green vegetables. Reserve the fruit ( their favorite being grapes, apples and raisins) for treats.
- Do not feed them cheese meats and salty snacks.
- They will not do well on dog or cat food and care should be taken that they do not have access to these pet's food.
- There is specially formulated pig food on the market and this should be rationed according to the manufacturers instructions.
- Special treats that can be given to your Teacup Pig are unbuttered, unsalted popcorn, unflavored natural cereals or crackers.
You can check to see whether you pig is eating the correct amount of food by placing your finger on the pig's backbone above the hips. You should not be able to see backbone through the skin but neither should you need to search for it under layers of fat.
Size of Fully Grown Teacup Pig
What to Look for When Selecting a Teacup Pig
Teacup Pigs should have short legs, a pronounced potbelly and swayed back. Their ears should be erect and small and their tails straight. Their noses should be short to medium length in proportion to their head and their length should be in proportion to their height.
Check to see that the piglet has no obvious genetic defect and that it does not appear to be malnourished. Some of the teacup pigs have wrinkles on their skin but the absence of wrinkles is perfectly normal.
It is recommended that you only buy Teacup Pigs from registered breeders as these are people who have the breeds interests at heart and you will stand a far better chance of getting a healthy happy piglet. Before making a final decision visit the seller and watch the piglets interacting with each other. Think carefully before you make your final decision.
Will a Teacup Pig Fit In With Your Lifestyle?
Teacup Pigs will need to be protected from dogs that they are not familiar with as they do not have the ability to ward off dog attacks. Ideally there should be an outside area fenced off where the pig can play freely and safely.
They will need to be protected from extreme weather conditions as they will not be able to survive extreme heat or cold.
Much the same as dogs during hot weather you will not be able to leave them in the car while you do your shopping as they will die from the heat.
Your Teacup Pig will need to be groomed, her skinned rubbed with oils, her ears cleaned, her tusk cut and her hooves trimmed on a regular basis.
Pigs wallow in mud so that the mud forms a protective layer to prevent their skin from burning. Teacup Pigs should be rubbed in with a suntan lotion if they are exposed to the sun for any length of time to prevent them from sunburning.
Teacup pigs should be shampooed once a month as more than this will cause her skin to dry out. Ask your local vet for the correct shampoo as cat, dog or baby shampoo will also have a drying effect on her skin.
Your Teacup Pig will need a hygienic sleeping area with its own bed or at least a pillow and blanket to sleep on. This should be placed in an area free from drafts. In winter the area should have suitable heating to ensure that the pig is comfortable.
In summer make sure that there is a shady area where your pig friend can cool off and they really enjoy playing in a child's wading pool.
House-Training a Teacup Pig
A very young Teacup Pig can be house trained in a reasonably short time
whereas the training of an older pig may require a bit more patience.
Your new pet pig may require a little prompting from you in the
beginning until he realizes where he is expected to go to the toilet.
A cat litter box is not suitable for your pet pig as they are too shallow and too small. An old drawer lined with plastic will better serve the purpose. Place pine shavings or pine pellets into the box and avoid clumping cat litter as this could cause intestinal problems if your Teacup Pig decides to eat this.
Keep the litter box in the same place, not too close to his sleeping quarters. If your pet pig does an accident in the first few days take his droppings to the litter box and guide him to the litter box. Do not remove all the droppings every day until the pig is house-trained. This will help him to associate the litter box with his toilet routine.
Teacup Pigs and Celebrities
Rupert Grint, star from "Harry Potter" made headlines recently when he became the proud owner of a pair of Teacup Pigs that he purchased from Jane Croft, the well-known Teacup Pig breeder from Britain. Now Paris Hilton has just become the owner of a fully grown Teacup Pig named "Miss Piglet". Apparently the price tag on this Teacup Pig was $4,500. According to recent news reports People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals(PETA), an animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia objects to Paris Hilton becoming the owner of a Teacup Pig.
If there is any truth in this then it looks as if Teacup Pigs will be the next status symbol among the rich and famous. Let's just hope that they give them the kind of life that they deserve.
David and Victoria Beckham have also joined the list of celebrities that have recently become the proud owners of Teacup Pigs. They recently bought a pair at a price exceeding $2000.
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Micro Pigs Supposedly Smaller Than Teacup Pigs Available In USA
The owner of Potbelly Pigs USA disclosed that not only are miniature pigs available in the USA but their micro pigs are smaller than those sold by Jane Croft. Andreas Georgiades has been selling these pigs for the past three years. These pigs are Juliana (or Painted Miniature Pigs) and apparently only weigh 15 - 30 pounds and average 10 - 16 inches when fully grown.
The Juliana Pigs originated in Europe and are the results of cross breeding of multiple breeds. They vary in color and can be black, black and white or a mixture of red and either white or black.
Four new Teacup Piglets Born at Zoo
Good News for people living near Five Sisters Zoo Polbeth West Lothian
The Five Sisters Zoo have four teacup piglets. These piglets are the first litter of Mork and Mindy, a couple of Teacup Pigs that have been living at the zoo for the past two years
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Animal Welfare Group,Best Friends, Express Concern About Teacup Pigs
In a recent news report Yvonne McIntosh, an animal care manager for Best Friends who is an expert on potbellied pigs expressed her concerns about the new craze in "Teacup Pigs". It is her opinion that mini pigs of such minute sizes do not exist and that a few years down the line these pigs will end up in already over-full pig sanctuaries.
According to this report pigs only reach maturity at about 5 years of age and the pig parents that are shown in the media are less than 2 years old. McIntosh urges all people who are considering purchasing a "Teacup Pig" to do their homework before doing so.
The chief vet for North Wales Dafyd Pugh advised people not to regard pigs as family pets as this could spark a major animal disease in the hands of irresponsible owners. He also warned people that there are a lot of obligations that come with owning a pig and that many of the potential owners are unaware of what this entails.
Apparently owners need to apply for a walking license to walk pigs in a residential area and the exact route need to be approved. Things that are taken into consideration when granting the approval are the proximity of fast food units, pig units and markets.
Furthermore owners need to have a self declaration license to move pigs and their movement is subject to 20-day standstill orders on other pigs or a six-day standstill on any cattle sheep or goats. These rules applicable in North Wales and if you are considering purchasing a Teacup Pig it is recommended that you determine what laws are applicable in your area.
Teacup Piggies Craze!
Now that you have heard both sides of the story maybe its time to reconsider buying a real Teacup Pig and opt for a toy. In a few years time when there is more certainty as to whether Teacup Pigs do in fact only grow to the size of a cocker spaniel and only weigh 65 pounds when fully grown then you can decide whether a Teacup Pig is the ideal pet for your family.
In the meantime you may want to purchase a Teacup Piggy toy or two for your children. It’s not the real thing but it may be a wiser choice considering the uncertainty surrounding the real size of adult Teacup Pigs.